Chicago, Illinois: April 23, 2016
The Chicago Wildfire took on the visiting Cincinnati Revolution on a beautiful night in Chicago for their second home game of the season, looking for their first win after a pair of tough losses to Minnesota.
Though determined to take home the victory, the early quarter was a struggle for the Wildfire, as the offensive line immediately made a few critical mistakes with drops and bad throws. The Revolution, eager to pounce on any chance, played a very clean game early, avoiding mistakes of their own, to capture a few breaks and spring to a lead.
Defensively, Chicago experienced early struggles as well. At times, Cincinnati cut across the field with strong plays from the sidestack, the Wildfire chasing or out of position. Although Chicago did earn a few big blocks early off of athletic layouts from younger players, the d-line also had trouble cashing them in for points, and the Revolution were able to maintain their lead and hold off the home team.
As the game settled in, both squads began trading points, with Cincinnati holding on to a two-point edge. Danny Miller was a big playmaker on the Wildfire side, gaining under cuts and making pretty hucks and away shots that led to scores. Defensively, Captain Jack Shey led his squad in intensity, constantly smothering his man and taking over after the turnover.
Chicago managed to get a break back, but by halftime was still trailing by one, although they were set to receive coming out of the third quarter.
Team leaders urged the defense to ratchet up its intensity, and this, combined with a few switches in defensive strategy, especially in placing tough and consistent force marks down the field, began to pay dividends right away.
Chicago scored to tie it early in the third and then the defensive line began to making serious progress, forcing longer points, getting blocks with their athleticism, and playing smarter on the offensive side.
The Wildfire began to grind down their opponent going on a run, and by the time the fourth quarter hit, the Revolution appeared to have tired and had trouble completing passes under the withering pressure of the Chicago defense. The home squad went on several big scoring runs that put the game out of reach.
The Wildfire walked away with an important win, 27-19, and now the team receives a week off to rest and refocus in practice before traveling to Detroit to face the Mechanix in 2 weeks.