September 12, 2012
Fire lifted into second place
TORONTO—With their 2-1 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field Wednesday night, the Chicago Fire not only moved into second place in the MLS East but also eliminated the Reds from playoff contention. And still the team doesn’t feel secure.
|Alvaro Fernandez scored his first goal for the Fire in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“For sure it was a great effort, a very good result from a difficult place to play on the road,” said Fire coach Frank Klopas. “We will take it. We have to regroup and get ready for another tough game on Saturday against Montreal at home.”
The win was Chicago’s fifth in their last six league games, and leaves them at 14-8-5 and 47 points, three points behind conference leaders Sporting Kansas City and one ahead of the New York Red Bulls. The loss officially eliminated Toronto (5-17-6, 21 points) from playoff contention.
“It is very good that the team is playing really well right now,” said midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, who scored his first goal with the Fire. “We have a lot of motivation and right now we have another game and must keep going forward and win as we keep getting closer to the playoffs.”
A backfield turnover by Toronto’s Aaron Maund opened the door for Chicago’s first goal. The ball ended up with Pavel Pardo, who smacked a shot off the left post and took off after the rebound, trailed by netminder Milos Kocic. The Mexican international played the ball back across the goalmouth to Fernandez for a header from just off the right post before the ‘keeper could recover.
Chris Rolfe doubled the Fire’s lead in the 42nd minute, after Kocic came off his line to block a breakaway shot off Patrick Nyarko’s foot for a corner kick. Hassli tried to head the ball out of danger, but it ended up with Rolfe just outside the top right corner of the penalty area, and the Fire forward half-volleyed a shot into the left inside netting.
“You know it’s a big win for us. Any point on the road at this time of the year is great,” said Rolfe. “I don’t think we played well enough though. I think we have a lot of things that we need to address from this game in both boxes, offensively and defensively, because going forward, as the season gets a little bit tighter and we get into the playoffs, we are not going to create the same number of chances and if we give up the chances the other team is going to punish us for it so I think there is a lot that we have to address.”
Second half sub Ashtone Morgan helped orchestrate Eric Hassli’s 79th-minute goal, bringing the ball down the left before passing off to Reggie Lambe, who found Luis Silva at the top of the box for a quick relay to Hassli for a low right-footed finish into the lower right side.