Fire Forward Dominic Oduro being embraced by his teammates after scoring the game winning goal.
After a very slow first half the Fire managed to kick it in gear by scoring two goals to finish the game. Here is how everything went down:
First Half: After a strong defensive game by both teams, Kansas City was the first team to break the ice. SKC Midfielder Bobby Convey slipped one right past the arms of Sean Johnson in the 31st minute to take a 1-0 lead.
First Half Stoppage Time: No Scoring
Second Half: The second half started out cold for both teams. But at the 60th minute KC was called for penalty. As just as the 61st minute began, Fire Midfielder Sebastian Grazzini turns the penalty kick into the Fire’s first goal tying the game at 1. Right afterwards he was the victim of a dirty hit by Kansas City Midfielder Roger Espinoza who was immediately given a red card and removed from the game.
In the 81st minute Dominic Oduro comes through for the Fire with a goal off an assist from Patrick Nyarko with numerous Kansas City defenders in the box. But within the next few minutes afterwards Fire Midfielder Federico Puppo came close on 3 consecutive occasions to scoring a third goal for the Fire but was stopped.
Second Half Stoppage Time: No scoring but it didn’t matter the Fire hung on for the victory.
It was a very physical game as the officials dished out 4 yellow cards and 1 red card. Numerous fouls were also called throughout the night. But what stood out to me the most was two things: 1. The Fire seemed to be more efficient on offense 2. The Fire also stepped up their game on defense. Sean Johnson has been the cornerstone of this Fire defense over the last week. The young Goalie has only given up 2 goals and has 8 saves in the Fire’s last 3 games combined. In that stretch the Fire have gone 2-0-1. As for Kansas City, they have now lost 3 in a row and currently stand 7-3-0 on the season.
This losing streak comes after winning their first 7 games of the 2012 campaign. Beating the first place team in the Eastern Conference is a huge confidence booster for this Fire team. This team has greatly improved since the loss to Seattle two weeks ago. And this streak is much needed for a team that has struggled to score goals at times. Fire Midfielder Arne Friedrich suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of last night’s victory. He is listed as day to day. And there is a chance that he could be back on the field when the Fire make their way to the Pacific Northwest next Sunday to take on Portland.
The team will use these next couple of days to rest before they return practice later this week. Hopefully Friedrich will be healthy enough to play by then. Here is the box score from last night: http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2012-05-12-chi-v-kc/stats
And here is the post-game press conference with Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas:
And of course I can’t sign off without mentioning my guys at the Chicago Rush. Last night was the first game of a crucial 2 game road trip which began in Arizona. But unfortunately the Rattlers got the best of our Rush 77-43. Luke Drone got his first career start in a Rush uniform and this his how he fared: Passing: 28-51 396 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception. Rushing: 3 carries, 9 yards, 2 touchdowns. But it wasn’t enough as the Rush defense got torched. The Rattlers only lead 35-31 at halftime. But the Rush defense gave up 42 points in the 2nd half.
And to make things worse the Rush offense was held scoreless in the 3rd quarter. And if that wasn’t bad enough, San Antonio won their game this week and they own the tie breaker over the Rush. Both teams are now tied for first place in the Central Division. The Rush are now also a game behind San Jose for best record in the AFL. The Rush are tied for second in that category along with San Antonio, Arizona, and Utah. With San Antonio and Arizona both owning a victory over the Rush. The Rush now fall to 1-3 on the road this season.
The Rush now have a bye week to recharge their batteries before finishing their 2 game road trip in San Jose on May 26th. The Sabrecats have been on a tear winning their last 4 games. It doesn’t get any easier from here. Here is the box score from last night’s Rush game: http://www.arenafootball.com/game/chicago-rush-arizona-rattlers-5-12-2012
And tomorrow you can find me at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva as the Kane County Cougars will be in action with the first pitch being at high noon. You can follow me during that game on Twitter: @GabeSalgado82 Hashtag: #Q101Sports