ORLANDO, Fla. – Saturday’s 2-1 win over Orlando City SC was a hard-earned victory at a testing venue, snapping a two-game losing streak for the Chicago Fire via a dramatic late goal in the 82nd minute from Alan Gordon. But head coach Veljko Paunovic refuted talk of the road win being a turning point in his team’s season.
“For us, it’s going game by game. We were in this situation a couple of weeks ago when we won also on the road, but we weren’t capable to create some momentum,” said Paunovic. “Yes, this is important, but we don’t want to think about creating some momentum, it’s just going to come. Live this moment, recovery and prepare for the next game.
“The way we play requires a lot of strength and energy,” added the Serbian. “But it’s difficult to sustain the good pace we had in the first half. The individual quality of our players decided the game and I’m so happy with the way we played, the guys stepped in and took the responsibility.”
After scoring his 57th career league goal, Gordon praised his teammates for a collective effort.
“That’s usually my role, to come in and try to provide a spark and give the guys some help,” said Gordon. “We needed a team performance and to stick together, and the guys on the field gave everything to get this win. This one feels good for the team.”
Paunovic credited a “Plan B” that spurred his team to victory when he substituted Gordon for Nemanja Nikolic at halftime. When asked if there was something wrong with Nikolic, Paunovic said it was due to physical issues, but that the 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner but will be ready for Chicago’s next game, on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium (7:30 pm ET | ESPN+ - TV & streaming info).
“We had everything we need to have to win against one of the best teams in the league, a team that’s very consistent in their play and success so far,” said Paunovic. “In the moments we were tactical, smart, and other moments we were lucky and that’s all you have to do, working as a unit and taking care of each other.”