Fire Burn FC Dallas 2-1
CHICAGO, Ill. – The Chicago Fire (5-3-3, 18 points) once again conceded the first goal but used a stunning 45th minute strike from Sebastian Grazzini and a 63rd minute tap-in from Marco Pappa to earn a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over FC Dallas (3-7-4, 13 points) Wednesday night at Toyota Park. With the win, the Fire bring the Brimstone Cup back to Chicago for the first time since 2001.
It was Dallas that knocked on the door early when winger Jackson forced a turnover just outside the box on the right. Attacking midfielder Andrew Jacobson pounced on the ball and powered a low, first-time effort just wide right of Sean Johnson’s goal 38 seconds into the match.
Fire captain Logan Pause drew a foul from Jacobson 25 yards from goal in the 13th minute, setting up a dangerous free kick opportunity. Argentine Sebastian Grazzini swung in the ensuing take which FCD ‘keeper Kevin Hartman did well to claim in the air before drawing a foul.
The Fire would threaten 13 minutes later when Ghanaian attacker Patrick Nyarko dribbled through Jair Benitez and Bryan Leyva on the right before laying off for Grazzini. The attacking midfielder collected the ball and ripped a low blast that Hartman got down to his left to hold on to in the 26th minute.
Despite the two chances, FC Dallas would find the lead in the 41st minute when Leyva’s corner kick found the head of striker Blas Perez. The Panamanian nodded his effort to the top left of goal, forcing a diving punch from Johnson but defender Matt Hedges was there to mop up the rebound from close range.
The Fire didn’t put their heads down, finding their response just before the half. Defender Gonzalo Segares forced a turnover on the left that Marco Pappa collected. Striding towards goal, the Guatemalan international played a ball to Grazzini on the right who cut back inside before blasting a ball over Hartman and into the top left of frame in the 45th minute.
FC Dallas came out of the break looking for another go-ahead goal and set up the opportunity when halftime substitute Bruno Guarda beat Nyarko into the box before Dominic Oduro brought him down, forcing referee Hilario Grajeda to point to the spot. Looking for his fifth goal of the season Perez stepped up to take the penalty kick but saw his low shot saved when Johnson dove to his right to deny the Panamanian international.
Spurred by the stop, the Fire pushed forward and would find the winning goal via a penalty of their own. Chasing down a bouncing ball at the top of the box, Pappa was brought down inside by halftime substitute Carlos Rodriguez, forcing Grajeda to point to the spot again in the 62nd minute. Grazzini stepped up and saw his low shot saved by Hartman but Pappa pounced on the rebound to give the Fire a 2-1 lead in the 63rd minute.
The hosts nearly made it 3-1 in the 78th minute when substitute striker Orr Barouch played Rafael Robayo into the box on the right. The Colombian midfielder drove forward before playing a low ball across the goal mouth that was just out of reach of Nyarko who slid in at the back post.
Dallas nearly found the equalizer just at the stroke of stoppage time when Benitez’ lobbed ball was flicked on by Jacobson before falling for Benitez at the back post. The striker whipped a belter that deflected off Jalil Anibaba before just missing an outstretched, diving Hedges at the opposite post, giving the Fire all three points.
The Fire head back out on the road this Saturday as they’re accompanied by over 600 traveling supporters for their visit with the Columbus Crew at 6:00 p.m. CT, LIVE on NBC5 Chicago and 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes. Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.
- With the victory, the Fire take back the Brimstone Cup for the first time since 2001.
- The win marks the sixth time this season Frank Klopas’ side has come back from a deficit to earn at least a point and stands as the fourth come-behind victory of the 2012 campaign. The Fire record for come-from-behind wins in a season is five, set in 2000.
- Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini’s 45th minute equalizer was his second goal of the season. The Argentine playmaker has tallied seven goals and seven assists over 22 MLS matches since joining the club in July 2011.
- Sean Johnson’s 52nd minute penalty stop was his first of the season. The Fire goalkeeper has recorded four career saves on 11 penalty attempts in 49 MLS matches since 2010.
- Marco Pappa’s 63rd minute game-winner moves the Guatemalan international into sole possession of fifth all-time on the club’s MLS goal scoring list at 23. It was the eighth game-winning goal of his career.
Following the match, FC Dallas assistant coach Drew Keeshan was dismissed.
Chicago Fire 2 – 1 FC Dallas
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause ©, Rafael Robayo; Patrick Nyarko, Sebastian Grazzini (Pavel Pardo 76’), Marco Pappa (Corben Bone 89’); Dominic Oduro (Orr Barouch 59’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini, Federico Puppo
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman; Zach Loyd, George John (Carlos Rodriguez 46’), Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez; Jackson, James Marcelin (Bruno Guarda 46’), Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Bryan Leyva (Scott Sealy 72’); Blas Perez
Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Moises Hernandez, Victor Ulloa, Jonathan Top
FCD – Matt Hedges (unassisted) 41’
CHI – Sebastian Grazzini (Marco Pappa) 45’
CHI – Marco Pappa (unassisted) 63’
FCD – George John (caution) 30’
CHI – Dan Gargan (caution) 36’
CHI – Marco Pappa (caution) 64’
CHI – Orr Barouch (caution) 69’
CHI – Rafael Robayo (caution) 89’
FCD – Drew Keeshan (ejection) post-game
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistants: Peter Balciunas, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Abbey Okulaja