By JEFFREY KRAUSE
BRIDGEVIEW, IL- The New York Red Bulls defense had been one of the stingiest in the league before going into the extended MLS break, but having nearly a month off from MLS play didn't seem to do much good for the Red Bulls as the Chicago Fire ripped their defense to shreds for a vital home victory.
Patrick Nyarko scored a goal and set up a second as the Fire rolled to a 3-1 victory at Toyota Park on Sunday. A Dax McCarty goal gave the Red Bulls some life in the second half, but Chris Rolfe buried the final nail in New York's coffin by adding Chicago's third and final goal, scoring his first goal since returning for a second stint with the Fire.
Chicago moved the ball freely throughout, as New York played a step too slow most of the afternoon and gave the Fire ample room to move through the midfield. New York's troubles started in the 5th minute, as a Chicago attack culminated in midfielder Sebastian Grazzini sending a perfect cross into the box to an unmarked Nyarko, who headed it past New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara to give Chicago the early lead.
"It’s important after this two week break to start off on the right track," said Frank Klopas after the game. "We talked about coming out from the beginning and having a good start to the game and pressuring right off the bat."
Chicago added to their total in the second half with strikes from Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe. Segares' goal came just minutes after Chris Rolfe fed forward Dominic Oduro with a perfect pass that should have resulted in a goal. Despite Meara getting a hand to it, Oduro's shot trickled towards goal, cleared out after crossing the line by former Fire defender Wilman Conde. The assistant referee claimed to not see the ball cross the line, and referree Baldomero Toledo instructed the teams to play on.
Klopas was gracious in his comments regarding the play, focusing on his team's response. ”You saw change a little bit, the players pushed harder to get the win. They never lost confidence or the belief. Chris played a great through ball. The team responded really well after that."
New York got on the board by way of a 55th minute header from Dax McCarty, who somehow connected with a Mehdi Ballouchy corner kick to briefly draw New York level. That was all the offense New York could create, however, and Chicago broke New York's six game unbeaten streak in front of over 18,000 Chicago faithful.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with Chicago's attack? Starting to wonder if the Red Bulls are going to start struggling, or do you think this was just one bad day for a strong team?
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