October 31, 2012
Kathryn L. Knapp
JUST NOT ENOUGH
Fire fights towards end of season, falls short
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire had a goal all season – to reach the playoffs. And they did that. However their return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 fell short of expectations. While the players fought until the bitter end, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Houston Dynamo ending the 2012 campaign.
“It was a do or die game,” Fire defender Arne Freidrich said. “The effort tonight was good. But in the end, they were the smarter team.”
With 19 shots on goal, the Fire threw everything they had at the Dynamo. But Houston snuck in there and scored a goal early in each of the halves for a 2-0 advantage in the 46th minute.
“I just felt that in these last games we really haven’t gotten a break,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. “We’ve gotten in good positions and in good spots but it just seems that things don’t go our way – where we could get one of those bounces to go in. So obviously they get a goal like that and we start the second half in the worst way. We gave up a goal in 30 seconds when they pressured. It’s a 50/50 ball that goes their way and we give up a second goal.”
The Fire didn’t give up easy. Chicago would take almost 40 minutes to find the net, when Alex snuck one past goalkeeper Tally Hall the 83rd minute. And they kept fighting, but it wasn’t enough.
Houston tallied 16 shots on goal on the night. But they slowed down late into the match, concentrating on breaking up the Fire’s attack.
“You knew no matter whether the score was one-nothing or two-nothing, they were going to push and try and do something about the game, which they did,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Tally made some good saves and had some good last-ditch defending.”
It’s fair to say the Fire had an up-and-down season. They went on unbeatable streaks and then there were slumps. But in an eight-month campaign, that’s bound to happen. It was normal bumps and bruises for a young team. All-in-all the Fire has come a long way from a season where they earned a 9-9-16 record and 43 points.
They added new players who sparked the offense and shored up the defense. While the team takes a few days to regroup, they should look back on 2012 with fond memories, at some point.
“I think that these guys have done a great job,” Fire forward Chris Rolfe said. “I was lucky to be a part of it this year and come in at good time. I know these guys have been working hard for a couple of years now and they should be proud of the steps they have taken to get here. Tonight we don’t feel great but in the weeks and months ahead we will see how good of a season this was.”