Berry winner lifts Fire past TFC

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By JEFFREY KRAUSE

BRIDGEVIEW, IL- The Chicago Fire returned to Toyota Park Saturday night to take on Toronto FC, relying on a game-winning header from rookie standout Austin Berry late in the 2nd half.  The win extends Chicago's unbeaten streak at home against Eastern Conference opponents, while also giving the Fire more wins on the season than either of their previous two campaigns.

Berry continues to impress, as the centerback netted his third goal of the season for the game winner in the 84th minute off a Pavel Pardo free kick. The rookie has scored three goals this year and continues to make waves in the league as he vies for Rookie of the Year honors for both his goal-scoring ability on set pieces, as well as his solid defending.

“I pride myself on being good in the air," said the rookie after the game. "I want to be dangerous on every attacking set piece, and I have to take care of all of my opportunities.  There are so few chances for me to score and I was able to do that tonight. “

Toronto wasn't able to mount much offense throughout the match, however Ryan Johnson took advantage of a botched Marco Pappa back pass in the 16th minute by collecting the ball and surging into the box for a 1v1 chance against Sean Johnson. There was little Johnson could do as the TFC striker slotted it home to give Toronto the early lead.

In spite of the loss, Toronto coach Paul Mariner seemed content with his team's perfomance after the game. "I thought we were looking pretty comfortable to be honest. We kept the ball in front of us. I thought that Frank would make a couple changes and he did. It didn’t really turn the game. You've got to hold your hand up and say that you can’t give decent teams opportunities like we gave them."

Chicago struggled through much of the middle of the match to find their footing after a strong start. It wasn't until a failed Toronto clearance in the 64th minute when Marco Pappa would redeem his error earlier in the match. The Guatemalan international collected the ball in the box and charged towards the endline to beat Toronto keeper Milos Kocic with a tough angled shot into the side netting to equalize. Toronto endured the final 25 minutes on their back foot, eventually going down a man in the late minutes, as Chicago continued to press offensively before ultimately going ahead for good on Berry's header. The win gives Chicago a 7-2-2 record, setting them towards the top of the league for home wins on the season.

Chicago heads on the road next to face another revamped Eastern Conference foe in the Philadelphia Union, while Toronto continues their road trip as they face Columbus Crew next weekend.

Here are the match highlights:

 

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13 Responses to Berry winner lifts Fire past TFC

  1. TNT says:

    TFC is looking much better. Hopefully they can make a nice CCL run.

  2. Bobo_Brazil says:

    Bobo says that new coach is not any better than old coach for Toronto.

    Bobo predicts more trouble for TFC. Bobo crystal ball says season tickets for 2013 will be new league low. So sad what they do to Toronto fans. Bad for the league.

  3. dan says:

    it is sad to see what is happening at TFC!

  4. Lorenzo says:

    How is Berry looking defensively? Think he will get a call up in January?

  5. Ryan says:

    Defensively he has been very good too. Don’t know if he will get a look from JK just yet. Legitimate front runner at this point for Rookie of the Year IMO.

  6. Lorenzo says:

    With our shallow pool of quality CBs, wouldn’t it be odd to not bring in a Rookie of the Year CB? Especially if you want to give him some pointers to continue to grow?

    I really think a excellent back line goes a long way, and as much as we would love some excellent goal scorers, USA’s backline is a big focus for me.

  7. Cholmondeley Warner says:

    I hear you Bobo, I’m not renewing my seasons (been a STH since day 1). Sad but its the only way I have to send them a message that they might actually take notice of

  8. alex says:

    Agreed as well. Never been a SSH but always got single tickets. Have cut my spend dramatically.

    TFC seem to be in the business of disposing their figureheads but the rot within the club runs much deeper.

  9. Rich says:

    Fernandez and MacDonald both impressed. With the unlikely return of Grazzini, Flaco could be the catalyst on offense. He makes creative runs and had good chemistry with only a couple of practices. MacDonald adds a new dimension up front…strong, good pace, can hold the ball, and not afraid to shoot. His ability to combine with teammates should improve with familiarity. Frank has 5 or 6 options for his attacking 4. Maybe he should rotate Pardo and Pause and only play 1 holding mid.

  10. At one point last night, Klopas did just that, taking Pause out in favor of Alex.

    Flaco had a solid 45 mins. before tweaking his ankle, and MacDonald had a better showing than against San Jose. By his own admission, he said his first 15 minutes were rough, but that he felt better. He also said his fitness is improving day by day, which is a good sign for the Fire down the stretch.

  11. I think he has to spend time in the Bundesliga first.

  12. I wonder where Oduro sits on the depth chart. I think his stock is dropping.

  13. Ryan says:

    I think he needs a rest to be honest. Would be great as an early 2nd half sub now and again.