Cristian Nazarit scored his second goal in a Fire uniform, but the Fire fell victim to two set-piece goals set up by David Beckham and saw the team’s eight-game unbeaten streak snapped in a 2-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Saturday night.
The first half featured a feverish pace as both sides pressed for the opening goal. Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko created havoc in the offensive third, making a number of darting runs to create chances for the Fire in the opening half. In the 13th minute Nyarko beat Galaxy defender Chris Birchall on the dribble and put himself alone on goal. The crafty Ghanaian nearly put the Fire ahead, but veteran Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter slid in to deflect Nyarko’s shot.
The Fire nearly drew first blood in the waning minutes of the fist interval as Jalil Anibaba nearly headed home Paladini’s in-swinging corner kick in the 45th minute.
The Galaxy broke the deadlock in the 58th minute. Logan Pause and Paolo Cardozo tangled on the touch line inside the 18-yard box extended on the right side. With the ensuing free kick, Beckham sent a perfectly lofted ball that Landon Donovan rose to head home past a diving Sean Johnson at the back post to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.
As has been the case in every match this season, the Fire would not go silently into the night. Four minutes following the Galaxy goal Patrick Nyarko collected the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and found Cristian Nazarit charging into the Galaxy box. The Colombian forward met the ball and headed it past Josh Saunders to level the match at 1-1 in the 62nd minute. In every match that the Fire have conceded the opening goal the Men in Red have come from behind to tally at least one equalizing goal.
The Galaxy regained the lead in the 65th minute, and again it was a Beckham set piece doing the damage. The former Manchester United midfielder sent a curling cross into the box on a corner kick from the left side. The well-struck ball bounced once before skidding past Johnson and into the side netting at the far post.
The Fire inserted Diego Chaves for Jalil Anibab and Orr Barouch for Marco Pappa to push numbers forward in search of the tying goal.
In the closing minutes of the game Chris Birchall chopped down Nyarko with a reckless challenge in front of the Galaxy bench. A number of Fire players displayed showed their distaste with the challenge and a kerfuffle broke out between the two sides. Birchall was shown a yellow card for his efforts and Fire defender Josip Mikulic was shown straight red for his inclusion in the play from the bench. Shortly after the scuffle finished, the referee blew the whistle and the hotly contested match finished 2-1, with three points going to the league-leading LA Galaxy.
The Men in Red return to TOYOTA PARK for two matches next week. First, the Fire will host the New York Red Bulls in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Fire will welcome the expansion Portland Timbers to TOYOTA PARK for a MLS league fixture on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN). Chicago Fire Season Tickets, which include a ticket to the Chicago Fire – Manchester United match at Soldier Field, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.
- Cristian Nazarit scored his second goal for the Fire since joining the club.
- Logan Pause played his 212th match for the Men in Red. The Fire captain is two games shy of tying former Fire midfielder and U.S. International Chris Armas for third all-time on the club’s all-time appearance list.
- Frank Klopas tasted defeat for the first time since taking the reins as the interim head coach of the Fire. The Fire Original is 1-1-6
- The Fire are 2-5-12, 18 points.
- The Fire lost its first match since a 2-1 road defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Union May 21.
- Josip Mikulic will be suspended for the Fire’s match against the Portland Timbers following his Bench Foul red card in the 96+ minute of the match.
Chicago Fire 1 – 2 LA Galaxy
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba (Diego Chaves 78’), Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares; Marco Pappa (Orr Barouch 82’), Logan Pause ©, Daniel Paladini Patrick Nyarko (Bratislav Ristic 95+’); Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit
Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Josip Mikulic, Baggio Husidic, Michael Videira
LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Bryan Jordan, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant; David Beckham, Paolo Cardozo (Miguel Lopez 67’), Juninho, Chris Birchall (Michael Stephens 94+’; Juan Pablo Angel (Adam Cristman 77’), Landon Donovan ©
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, Kyle Davies, Hector Jimenez, Jovan Kirovski
LA – Landon Donovan (David Beckham) 58’
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (Patrick Nyarko) 62’
LA – David Beckham (unassisted) 65’
CHI – Daniel Paladini (Caution) 65’
CHI – Diego Chaves (Caution) 91+’
LA – Chris Birchall (Caution) 94+’
CHI – Josip Mikulic (Ejection) 96+’
Referee: David Gantar
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Philippe Briere
4th Referee: Tyler Ploeger