The Chicago Fire moved a step closer to securing an Eastern Conference playoff berth after a Mike Magee penalty provided the difference in a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday at Toyota Park.
The Fire came in expected to win at home against a struggling TFC side, but the visitors gave Chicago a tougher tested than expected, as Ryan Nelsen went with a young midfield that did well against the Fire.
The victory moved the Fire into fourth place in the East with one game to go. Chicago finished the regular season with a visit to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 27th.
The match was fairly even encounter, and neither side had a truly dangerous chance before referee Edvin Jurisevic called Jonathan Osorio for a handball in the 63rd minute. A Magee free kick appeared to hit Osorio’s raised arm in the penalty area, earning the whistle. Magee calmly converted a Panenka penalty attempt, beating Stefan Frei to make the score 1-0.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made that lead stand up with a stunning diving stop to deny a low Alvaro Rey shot in the 71st minute.
The Fire nearly made it 2-0 in the 81st minute when Juan Luis Anangono blasted a shot off the crossbar that bounced down near the goal line and out.
The victory improves the Fire’s record to 4-1-1 in their past six matches, but they have yet to secure their place in the post-season. There is a good chance they will need a result against the Red Bulls to ensure a place in the playoffs.
Here are the match highlights: