Julian Fernandez, NYCFC blank Fire to end season


Julian Fernandez scores stunner for NYCFC

Julian Fernandez finds the top corner from 25 yards out to give NYCFC the lead over Chicago Fire.

Julian Fernandez scored a spectacular goal in the 64th minute and New York City Football Club beat the visiting Chicago Fire 1-0 Saturday night in Queens, N.Y., in a match that eliminated both teams from the MLS playoffs.

New York (9-11-14, 41 points) will miss the postseason for the first time since its inaugural campaign in 2015. Chicago (10-14-10, 40 points) failed to qualify for the sixth straight season and ended the season with consecutive shutout losses.

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Fernandez netted his second career goal in nine matches with New York after Santiago Rodriguez gained possession near midfield. Rodriguez moved the ball down the right side to Fernandez, who slipped past Chicago's Federico Navarro and blasted a left-footed shot from slightly above the box into the upper right corner of the net.

Rodriguez's tally helped New York end on a positive note after a disappointing 1-1 draw at Inter Miami and a 2-0 setback to host D.C. United made their playoff hopes difficult to attain.

New York goalkeeper Matt Freese made four saves for his fifth clean sheet in 10 matches this year. He highlighted his sixth career clean sheet with a pair of saves on free kicks by Xherdan Shaqiri in both halves.

Chicago goalkeeper Chris Brady made three saves as New York attempted 14 shots.

After Fernandez's goal, Chicago had the better of the play but Freese made a diving save on Brian Gutierrez in the 76th after stopping Shaquiri's free kick a minute earlier. After Chicago nearly scored on those plays, Kei Kamara missed the net twice in a span of two minutes and Shaquiri also missed the net in the 88th minute.

A competitive opening half saw both teams get ample opportunities.

Freese made a diving save by lunging to his right to deny Fabian Herbers from the middle of the box in the 16th minute.

After Freese made a leaping save on Shaqiri's free kick by moving to his left in the 30th, NYCFC saw a goal by Talles Magno allowed due to an offsides call in the 31st and three minutes later Brady denied a header by Martins.