A dismal first half left Real Salt Lake with nary a chance against Chicago Fire, as the visitors lost 2-0 after conceding twice inside the first 15 minutes.
Chicago Fire opened the scoring in the 11th minute when RSL midfielder Sunny tackled the ball back into an open midfield, leaving Nikolic completely free of any defender. He slid a shot past Nick Rimando with ease.
Some horrid defending only minutes later — four, to be exact — saw RSL’s deficit increased to two as their former midfielder Arturo Alvarez beat five or six defenders with some simple movement before finishing tamely past Rimando.
It went from bad to worse around the 23rd minute, when Jordan Allen was substituted through injury. Ricardo Velazco entered in his place.
At halftime, Sunny was substituted for Luke Mulholland, and while the flow of goals was stemmed, the Fire continued creating clear chances at an alarming rate. Near the 60th minute, RSL started to ease their way back into attacking play.
It took until the 63rd minute for RSL to really start testing Chicago Fire, and it came through players like Ricardo Velazco and Yura Movsisyan, who won’t have spent much time together, and Luke Mulholland.
Luis Silva exited for Chad Barrett as RSL looked to put the Fire to the flames, with the veteran taking over on the right wing. He was put into immediate action, winning the ball on the flank and sending in a cross that nobody could reach, but the response encouraged some hope, however slight.