Nemanja Nikolic scored two first-half goals, and Nico Gaitan had a goal and two assists as the Chicago Fire ended their three-match goal drought with a resounding 5-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Wednesday night in Bridgeview, Ill.
Aleksandar Katai posted two assists for the Fire (3-4-4, 13 points), who played without injured star forward C.J. Sapong (four goals). However, they were active from the start in the final third after failing to score during an 0-2-1 road stretch over the previous three contests.
Meanwhile, New England (2-8-2, eight points) has conceded 18 goals during an 0-3-1 stretch. The Revolution also fell to 0-4-2 on the road this season and 0-5-3 in their past eight visits to Chicago.
Following some early near misses by Nikolic and Gaitan, Chicago struck in the 28th minute. Off a free kick, Nikolic headed home a bouncing pass from Gaitan that tipped the hands of New England goalkeeper Matt Turner -- who was making his first start of 2019.
Nikolic then struck for his fifth of 2019 in the 40th minute. Again he scored with a header, this time at the back post off the bounce for Chicago's first goal of the season off a corner attempt.
Though the Revolution put forth a more spirited offensive effort, were on the ball often and made Chicago goalie David Ousted work in the second half, the Fire were up to the defensive task. They were rewarded again as Brandt Bronico bent one into the top corner in the 78th minute for some highlight-reel insurance.
The fun continued for Chicago as Gaitan converted a two-on-one with Katai in the 85th minute for his first MLS goal in his eighth game. Four minutes later, Przemyslaw Frankowski scored his first league goal on a rather easy run-in off the right side. He also was playing his eighth game for Chicago.
While the Fire enjoyed their most productive game of the season, they put forth another solid defensive effort after playing Los Angeles FC to a scoreless draw last weekend.