Going into the game against the New York Red Bulls, the Chicago Fire were looking for a good start. Within only four minutes into the first half, a goal by forward Patrick Nyarko gave the energetic crowd of 18,526 something to celebrate. The end result: a 3-1 scorching of the Red Bulls that helped the Fire jump ahead of both the Houston Dynamo and their rivals, the Columbus Crew.
The Fire went into halftime up 1-nil against the Red Bulls, who were without Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. During the first 45 minutes, the Fire showed great passing and solid defense.
In the second half of the match, the tide began to turn, leading to a game-tying goal by Dax McCarty of the Red Bulls in the 55th minute. Shortly after, controversy ensued in the 64th minute of play when an apparent goal by Dominic Oduro was disallowed. The ball appeared to have made its way into the net after deflecting off of Red Bull goalkeeper Ryan Meara’s finger tips.
Speaking with Oduro after the match about his scoring opportunities, he took a moment to reflect on the disallowed goal. “As you can see there was one ball in that clearly I thought it was in, but the ref didn’t call it.” About another scoring chance, Oduro praised Meara’s effort, "The goalie made a great save. He cut an angle really good on me. He just had a great save.”
Instead of sulking, the Fire quickly regrouped and scored the eventual game-winning goal from an unassisted goal by Gonzalo Segares. It was the second goal of the season from the Costa Rican defender.
An insurance goal in the 81st minute was scored by Chris Rolfe. Rolfe, injured for much of the season, had played for the first time against the New England Revolution.
Chicago Fire coach Frank Klopas on the win:
Obviously a great win. It’s good to be back home. And obviously it was important after this two-week break to start off on the right track. We talked about coming out from the beginning and having a good start to the game. And pressure right off the bat so we can make this really a home-field advantage with the great fans that we had.
We had a great start. The first 15 or 20 minutes I thought were very good. We lost our momentum but a little bit in the rhythm. After that cause, I think we needed to be a little bit more simple with our decision making with the ball. Needed to be better and then we just turned the ball over a little bit.
But then after that we gave up a goal off a set piece but then the team responded very well. I give credit to the players and thank the great fans for coming out and watching the game. It was a great win for us.
The win, which was perhaps the Fire’s best game of the year, sets up an important Wednesday night date versus the Crew.
Ernest Shepard is an analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes and observations were acquired first-hand.
Follow me on Twitter @ernestshepard