Looking back on the team's 1-0 win at Sporting KC in 2012
When the Fire take the field Saturday in Kansas City (2:00pm CT on NBC Sports Network), it will mark the return to the site of a quality 1-0 win on June 29, 2012, a win that could serve as blueprint for this match.
That victory in Sporting Park proved to be vital in several ways.
It was the first start for recently returned forward Chris Rolfe. The club’s second all-time leading goal scorer recorded the game winning assist on Marco Pappa’s 58th minute strike.
“Marco and myself know how each other play pretty well," Rolfe said. "We were pretty fortunate to combine and everything worked out as planned. That was one of the only chances we had that game.”
The opportune finish started with a three vs. two counter attack. Pappa dished it to Rolfe on the right before Rolfe's centering pass picked out Pappa, who buried it.
Rolfe would go on to claim the team's Golden Boot as the leading scorer with eight goals on the year and garnered the team's MVP award voted by the media.
In a shutout performance, Sean Johnson came up with five saves including three world-class efforts while facing 27 shots.
He made a sprawling save to his left in the 14th minute, a diving block off a snap header in the 76th minute and arguably his biggest save of the game came on forward Kei Kamara's blast on the second to last play in the 96th minute.
“That game was a good one for us,” said Johnson. “Winning 1-0 on the road against a team that in the past couple of years has been tough for us. It was a good team performance and we were able to come away with a victory.”
That particular day at Sporting Park was a sellout, with a new rivalry potentially budding, a raucous crowd is expected again Saturday.
“I think with them being as good as they were last year and being a new branded team with a new stadium there is a lot of excitement when we go there to play," said Rolfe. "That always builds up the anticipation and makes the game more competitive.”