August 18, 2012
THE WINíS THE THING
Klopas applauds result against New England, but finds room for improvement
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill---The Chicago Fireís 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday at Toyota Park might not have been the prettiest exhibition of soccer, but when three points and a move up the table are at stake, sometimes substance has to trump style.
|Chris Rolfe has three goals in his last two games for the Fire.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"When you win, the result is the most important thing in the end," said Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas.
"At the end of the night, I didnít think that we were particularly good with the ball. We had a lot of turnovers and were sloppy with our passing.
On the other hand, we created a lot of chances," he said of outshooting New England 22 to 7, and 7 to 3 in shots on target. "Even though we were ahead in the stats in possession, we were not sharp. We need to finish our chances. Itís great that weíre creating, but we need to focus in the final third and put teams away. The longer you keep it tight like that...New England has a lot of quality players. It was a great win but we need to keep working. We found a way. The guys were committed until the end. A very important three points.Ē
The three points give the Fire (12-7-5, 41) one more point than the third-place Houston Dynamo and leave them level with second place New York, both of whom play on Sunday. All three teams currently have played 24 games, but after the weekend, the Fire will have a game in hand on both New York and Houston.
It took only four minutes for the Fire to get on the board, thanks to a generous penalty call by referee Sorin Stoica. Chris Rolfe made a run down the left side and into the area. Revolution defender AJ Soares tried to tackle the ball away from Rolfe, bringing down the Fire forward in the process. Rolfe targeted his penalty kick to the lower left corner, and it settled into the net off the hand of New England goalkeeper Matt Reis.
"ďIt was a good play with Patrick," Rolfe said. "A great pass back to me. My touch led me into a defender. He went down early. It was pretty easy decision after that. Matt [Reis] was close and made a good effort, but it was mine for the day.Ē
The goal was the third for Rolfe in the last two games, as he has seemed to settle into the Fire attack after rejoining the team in June.
"A combination of a lot of things," Rolfe said about the meshing with the team. "Putting a little more time with the guys in training and the additions that we have made have made it easier for me.Ē
New England equalized in the 11th minute. Saer Sene ran onto a ball over the top and took it all the way to the end line. Cutting along the line, he put a ball into the area, and Fernando Cardenas slid in to get a foot on it through traffic off the left post.
Sean Johnson made the initial save, but after the ball knocked around, Cardenas swept it into the net while lying on his back.
The Fire took the lead for good in the 25th minute. After a throw-in near the corner flag, speedy winger Patrick Nyarko got past a defender to get to the ball near the end line and chip it into the penalty area, where Sherjill McDonald finished with a header from the edge of the six. It was his first goal for the Fire.
"I was trying to be aggressive all night," said Nyarko, who really did the heavy lifting on both Fire goals. "The coaching staff has been encouraging me all week to play aggressively. I knew [Revs defender] Kevin Alston is fast and I know his weaknesses and thatís why Iíve had success.Ē
The win extended the Fireís winning streak to three games and their unbeaten string to four.