Johnson stonewalls Sporting Kansas City, leads Fire to key road victory

SeanJohnson (Getty)

Sporting Kansas City has made a habit of overwhelming opponents at Livestrong Sporting Park, but on Friday night the dangerous KC attack just could not find a way to beat Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

The young netminder made five saves, most of the acrobatic variety to keep Sporting KC off the scoresheet and help Marco Pappa's 58th-minute strike stand up as the game-winning goal in Chicago's 1-0 victory.

Sporting KC dominated play, out-shooting Chicago 27-10, but KC's wayward shooting and tough Fire defending limited Sporting to just five shots on goal. Most of those were of the dangerous variety, particularly late in the match, but Johnson was up to the task each time.

Pappa continued his red-hot form, finishing off a Chris Rolfe pass to give Chicago the 1-0 lead. Rolfe enjoyed his best game for the Fire since returning from Europe, playing the full 90 minutes.

The loss makes it three straight matches without a victory for Sporting KC, and two straight shutout losses. Kansas City missed a golden chance to jump into first place in the East, and instead has seen Chicago close the gap behind them to two points.

Match highlights will be coming shortly. For now, what did you think of Chicago's performance? See the Fire making a push for first place in the East? Starting to wonder about Sporting KC's ability to recapture their strong early-season form?

Share your thoughts below.

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18 Responses to Johnson stonewalls Sporting Kansas City, leads Fire to key road victory

  1. A says:

    That was some of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen in an MLS game. Period. How many Fire players needed to be injured to even get a foul called?

  2. dang says:

    Fire are really playing at a higher level in the last 3 weeks. They play for each other and are pretty well rounded in attack , mids and defense . The counter that Pappa scored off of was devastating . Hopefully Rolfes ankle did not get too torn up as he is such a welcome re-addition to this team and a highly skilled player . On to Houston. Go Fire !!

  3. Mike says:

    It is so nice to be coming home with 3 points.

  4. Rich says:

    This is 3 weeks in a row that the Fire have suffered at the hands of the officials. This stuff usually evens out…wondering when the Fire will get the benefit of some calls. As a coach I tell my players to just play the game and not to focus on the officials. But this is getting hard to ignore.

  5. etj2 says:

    It seems Rolfe has helped a bit, and Pappa has been confident and effective ever since scoring vs the USA (or so it seems). Im happy my team only had to play them once (past tense).

  6. Victor says:

    Looks like though we can only enjoy Pappa for a little bit more of time as he has constantly said he’s is moving to Europe and its going to be sometime soon :(

  7. Chano says:

    How are guys like Robayo and Alex only getting 5 minutes per game? These have have skill. Why not try to work in Puppot o see what he has in real action?

  8. Jon says:

    SKC needs to find someone other than Espinoza to lead their attack. He is a pest defensively, but does not have the offensive skill to orchestrate. Pause needs to hit the bench or play the backline. Julio Cesar is a defender that belongs alongside Collin. Zusi is best on the right wing.

    A CAM DP is what this teams needs to regain their form. Other teams will be improving soon…

  9. Syd says:

    When Johnson is fired up and on his game, he is terrific. Despite his Olympic blunder, he is the best young GK in the US. He should have been starting over Hamid.

  10. Eplnfl says:

    Thought the refs would let the game continue until KC scored. Sean Johnson saved the Fire on a night they did not play their best. A numbers of regulars missing for the Fire but the Pappa score set up by Rolfe was a classic.

  11. biff says:

    +1. I am a fan of Johnson also, hope he can make it to Euorpe. I like Klinsmann, but he has made a few mistakes and his premature anointment of Hamid as Timmy Howard’s successor was a major blunder–and, come to think of it, could be a contributing factor for the failure in Olympic qualifications.

  12. Mike r says:

    It’s too soon to annount Alex yet. But Robayo brings more than Pardo at this sage of his career. He also obviously brings more than Pause.

    If Rolfe and Friedrich weren’t made of glass the team could do some damage.

  13. Robayo’s lack of playing time is a talking point, and one that could land him back at his old club before the end of the transfer window. Alex was only eligible for this game, so not sure why the issue there. Puppo picked up a knock in training this week and didn’t travel, although he’s been highly underwhelming in appearances this year. With Rolfe back, and the Fire reportedly close to signing a striker, I don’t see Puppo getting much time moving forward.

  14. UKSubs says:

    Rolfe can go to helll. Crawling back into the field after being “fouled” just to kill time.

    classless.

  15. matt says:

    You got 5 mins. of injury time back and your telling me a Wiz player would not have done the same thing.

    stupidity.

  16. Modibo says:

    I think Jeffery Krause answered this pretty well, but Robayo has complained that the league is not very technical, and yet he has been technically underwhelming himself. I would add the same for Puppo.

    Grazzini seems to be the one South American import to the Fire squad from the past year who has really impressed; this was Alex’s first game for the Fire, so he may well show that he has the same qualities, but the jury’s still out.

  17. Modibo says:

    Are you still complaining about that Nielson? It already got you a yellow card last night!

    Besides, Rolfe was just showing his nasty side to Jürgen. ;-)

  18. Rich says:

    Interesting to see the opinions on Robayo and others…some think he deserves to start and others say he is “underwhelming”. Just goes to show you how hard it is to evaluate players and get them PT without disturbing team chemistry. Klopas has quietly put a lot of good pieces in place and has nurtured the chemistry of the team. Unlike us, he can see their work habits in training. He has made excellent use of his substitutions and seems to have the backing of most of the guys. He’s not the first coach to stick with Pause. They must see something we don’t.