Nemanja Nikolic

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Nikolic says goodbye to Chicago in latest signal of Fire rebuild

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Nemanja Nikolic’s time in Chicago has ended, judging by the Hungarian forward’s long-winded farewell letter to the Chicago Fire franchise and its fans.

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Nikolic was hugely productive in his three seasons in the Windy City, bagging 51 goals in 96 games regular-season games, winning the 2017 Golden Boot (24 goals in his debut season) and becoming the team’s second-leading goalscorer in the process.

When a period of time is intense, if you concentrate and perform on daily basis, time passes by quickly. It was a massive three years for me and my family. When I look at the memories I had in Chicago, I realize the huge amount of action that happened to me in the U.S. It was a big jump. We went far from home. A new language and a new environment. Different schools for the kids – and our third child has born. People were skeptical about the adventure, but the unknown challenge motivated me and, luckily, I proved quickly that my decision was right and I could keep the standards I had at Videoton and then at Legia.

And last but not least, the Fire supporters! The sport is for YOU. And YOU deserve the best. From day one, YOU have made me feel at home. Your friendship and support made this period special. YOU will always be a big part of my life. YOU are great. It was a pleasure playing for YOU and fighting for success. I wish YOU a bright and happy future!

Nikolic’s departure is a clear and obvious example of a team and a player’s respective timelines failing to match up with one another. Nikolic, who’s 31, has but a precious few seasons of productivity; meanwhile, the Fire, who are set to move to downtown Chicago next season and finished 10th and 8th in the Eastern Conference the last two seasons, desperately need to get younger and shed some sizable contracts — one of which is Nikolic’s $1.7 million base salary.

Fire put four past Orlando in first win since June

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In a battle of two of the Eastern Conference’s bottom-dwellers the Chicago Fire came away victorious for the first time in nearly three months.

The Fire topped Orlando City SC, 4-0, on Sunday at Toyota Park behind a brace from striker Nemanja Nikolic.

Veljko Paunovic’s side picked up its first win since a June 30 decision over playoff-bound New York City FC, while Orlando has yet to win since mid-July and secured just five points since May.

Nikolic opened up the scoring after just three minutes before Aleksandar Katai doubled the Fire’s lead ahead of the half-hour mark.

Michael de Leeuw and Nikolic capped off the scoring for the hosts in the second half, and gave Chicago a three-point edge over the Lions in the Eastern Conference standings.

Through 28 matches, the Fire currently have 27 points, while Orlando has 24 points.

Hansen pounces, Columbus snatches late draw with Chicago

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MLS Rivalry Week continued with yet another 1-1 draw as Columbus picked up a point on the road in Chicago thanks to Niko Hansen’s 87th minute equalizer.

Last season’s Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic struck in the 67th minute to put Chicago in front, but Hansen was there to pounce on a loose ball in the box with just three minutes remaining to even the score.

Both teams had similar amounts of shots, but Columbus put twice as many on net and held a slight possessional advantage throughout the match. Still, Chicago went in front as Nikolic latched onto a horrible mistake at the back by Columbus defender Milton Valenzuela who played Nikolic in on goal.

Columbus fought to bring it back level, forcing five saves out of Chicago goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland. Eventually, they earned the draw as Hansen pounced on a loose ball in the box.

The shared spoils pushes Columbus seven points above Philadelphia in fourth place in the East, while Chicago is unable to leap Toronto, remaining in 10th on goal differential.

Schweinsteiger, Accam trade stoppage time goals in MLS thriller

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MLS gives us finishes this silly seemingly on the regular, so why does it surprise us when they arrive on our doorstep?

Ex-Chicago Fire man David Accam bagged a goal for his Philadelphia Union in the fourth minute of stoppage time on Wednesday. It was the seventh goal of the game, and came one minute after the Fire scored their third equalizer of the night.

Got all that?

Haris Medunjanin scored a pretty goal and Cory Burke netted twice, and the Union won a wild, back-and-forth 4-3 draw win over the Fire on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Medina leads NYCFC win ]

The win boosts Philly into seventh, tied on points with sixth place Montreal and a point clear of the Fire.

The scoring started with Medunjanin’s cool as a cucumber finish. The Bosnian midfielder took advantage of a bad Chicago giveaway, punctuating the effort with a classy finish.

Soon-to-be Designated Player Aleksandar Katai scored and earned a PK for Chicago, converted by Nemanja Nikolic for a ninth goal of the season, and

Katai also scored his ninth goal, and it comes on the day Chicago announced his permanent transfer from Alaves.

Burke scored his first go-ahead goal in first half stoppage time, adding a second minutes after Katai bagged his marker.

But Bastian Schweinsteiger made it 3-3. Well, for a minute or so.

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

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The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.