Fire Undone by New York Red Bulls 1-0
HARRISON, New Jersey – The Chicago Fire (9-6-4; 31 points) put in a strong defensive performance but were beaten by a Thierry Henry wonder-strike as the Fire fell to the New York Red Bulls (10-5-5, 35 points) 1-0 in a Wednesday afternoon matinee at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
With temperatures reaching double digits at kickoff, the Fire and Red Bulls played a back-and-forth first half. The Men in Red began the match with the better of the opportunities, applying pressure to the home side in the early going. Oduro flicked a ball around former Fire defender Wilman Conde and put himself in on goal before having his shot deflected out for a Fire corner in the 13th minute.
New York saw its first opportunity in the 21st minute when a ball over the top found the feet of Mehdi Ballouchy at the edge of the 18-yard box. The Red Bull midfielder maneuvered around Gonzalo Segares before unleashing a low driven effort that Sean Johnson dove to parry away.
The Red Bulls would find the back of the net with a masterful piece of skill by Henry. Building out of the back, Sebastien Le Toux darted into space on the right side. The recently acquired Frenchman sent a looping cross to his countryman on the far side of the 18-yard box. Henry chested the ball down before volleying a shot off the far post and into the back of the net to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 advantage on 71 minutes.
Sean Johnson was called into service just moments after the Red Bulls initial tally. Rookie Connor Lade got open on the left flank and dribbled in on goal. Lade eventually whistled a knuckling shot on goal, but Johnson was equal to it, calming pushing it wide of frame.
The Fire nearly found the equalizer in the 83rd minute when a Pavel Pardo corner kick bounced around the box before falling to the feet of Gonzalo Segares. The Costa Rican international cranked a shot on goal only for hit to be headed off the line by Red Bulls defender Brandon Barklage.
With time winding down the Fire sent numbers forward in a final effort to find the equalizer. In the 88th minute, Segares pushed forward and floated a ball across the box where Dan Gargan sprinted in and headed the ball just wide of the near post.
The Men in Red will return home for an international friendly with Aston Villa Presented by TrueCar at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Advance tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com or Ticketmaster. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 1 in the Fire’s Season Ticket Package, and is also a part of the Ten Game Plan.
The Fire have only conceded three goals in the past five games.
The Men in Red have only lost to the New York Red Bulls twice since 2008, going 6-2-3 during that stretch.
Thierry Henry scored his first goal since April 28. Henry currently has 10 goals on the season.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson tallied three saves in a near-perfect effort. .
Fire defender Arne Friedrich missed the match while serving a one-match ban after receiving two yellow cards in the Fire’s 1-0 victory over Vancouver Saturday, July 14.
Fire midfielder Marco Pappa will miss the Fire’s July 28 match at San Jose. Pappa is suspended for yellow card accumulation.
Chicago Fire 0 – 1 New York Red Bulls
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause © (Orr Barouch, 75’), Pavel Pardo; Chris Rolfe, Alex (Patrick Nyarko, 46’), Marco Pappa; Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo, 61’)
Substitutes not used: Jay Nolly, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini, Corben Bone
New York Red Bulls: Bill Gaudette; Brandon Barklage, Wilman Conde (Stephen Keel, 87’), Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller; Victor Palsson (Connor Lade, 61’), Dax McCarty, Mehdi Ballouchy, Joel Lindpere; Sebastien Le Toux, Thierry Henry (Kenny Cooper, 82”)
Substitutes not used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Barrajo, Jhonny Artega, Tyler Ruthven
NYRB – Thierry Henry (Sebastian Le Toux) 71’
CHI – Marco Pappa (caution) 20’
NYRB – Brandon Barklage (caution) 61’
CHI – Patrick Nyarko (caution) 91’
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Assistants: Steven Taylor, Paul Scott
Fourth Official: Jose Carlos Rivero