Chicago Fire midfielder Rafael Robayo wanted more playing time and he got his wish when he was inserted in the starting lineup. As a result, the Fire went on to defeat FC Dallas 2-1 while shaking off a somewhat lethargic first 25 minutes or so.
A Sebastian Grazzini goal right before halftime tied the game at one apiece. A goal by FC Dallas’ Matt Hedge that got by goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 41st minute of play did not damper the Fire’s spirits. Instead, it ignited them.
In front of 11,947 fans the Fire came out in the second half with a ton of energy. Fire coach Frank Klopas credited that newly found energy to Grazzini’s goal.
Coach Frank Klopas on the goal by Grazzini...
“We gave up that goal in the 41st minute of the game, which is never a good time to give up the goal before going into the locker room. Sebastián scored a fantastic goal-a world class goal. Those are the type of goals that he can score with his ability. I felt that the group was positive and that the goal lifted us going into halftime. We talked more about strategy at the half and they came out with good energy and pushed hard. Sometimes it is difficult with the road trips...we came back from the trip to Portland and we had a great response from the group tonight.”
It was not just the game-tying goal that turned the tide. A great save by Sean Johnson on a free-kick early in the second half gave the Fire some much needed momentum. It was perhaps his best save of the season.
Add to that a game-winning goal by Marco Pappa and you have a win that inches the Fire three points upward in the standings.
Ernest Shepard is an analyst for the Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand.