So many good storylines came from last Wednesday’s 2-1 win over New England: Calen Carr returns to the field and scores the winner, Freddie Ljungberg dazzles in front of the Toyota Park faithful and the Chicago Fire come back from a deficit to win a game for the first time since August 23, 2009.
Last year’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Colorado Rapids at Toyota Park stands as one of the most memorable games played at the stadium since the club moved here in 2006 and it seemed fitting that last week’s victory came almost exactly a year after that exhilarating result.
As the scorer of the winning goal, Fire defender Dasan Robinson remembers the day well and though the situations were similar, he rates last year’s comeback as more important.
“I think the comeback against Colorado was better,” said the fifth year Fire defender. “For a lot of the Rapids game we were out played and against New England that wasn’t the case – we weren’t outplayed at all. It felt a lot more like we stole that game whereas in last week’s match, we felt like we should win.”
On that day, the Fire were lucky to make it into the interval tied at 0-0 as Colorado let a few golden opportunities go to waste before the half. It didn’t take the visitors long to jump on the scoreboard in the second half when Jon Busch parried a shot straight to the feet of Omar Cummings. The Jamaican international buried the game’s first goal in the 48th minute
It took Cummings just 10 minutes to double Colorado’s lead when winger Jamie Smith fed him through to the top of the 18 where the Rapids striker fired a screaming rocket to the top right corner of Busch’s goal.
Led by Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the Fire would go on to score three goals in the span of twenty minutes, beginning with the legendary Mexican attacker’s drawn and converted penalty kick in the 72nd minute.
Spurred by that goal, substitute Mike Banner would pull things level in the 85th minute with a shot rivaling Cummings’ second strike for goal of the match.
“I remember that goal well,” chuckled Banner following Tuesday’s training session. “I think that was a time of year where I was feeling really confident as a player. I came off the bench and played at left back, but we were down a goal and obviously needed to push for the equalizer. I pushed really far forward, the ball found me at the right speed and I ended up putting it perfectly at the back post.”
Banner’s equalizer provided the extra motivation needed for the Fire to go for the win, though the Rapids’ defense did well to keep things interesting before Dasan Robinson headed home the winner past former teammate Matt Pickens in the 92nd minute.
“There were a lot of emotions throughout that whole game,” said Robinson. “When we went down 2-0, we thought to ourselves, ‘Oh no, not again,’ but we stuck together and we were able to come back. We grew stronger after each goal, first Blanco, then Mikey’s and on mine, the ball just found me in the right place at the right time. That was one of the most exciting moments in my career.”
Both Robinson and Banner are tied for the most goals scored among current Fire players in the month of August with three. Ironically all of Robinson’s three career goals have come in August and he nearly moved past Banner last Wednesday after missing an opportunity against New England.
“I wish I could tell you why August has been so good to me, but I don’t know what I can attribute it to. I don’t think it’s anything special, I’ve just done well during the month.”
Both Robinson and Banner will hope to improve their monthly career goal totals this Saturday as the Fire travel to take on the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field in Seattle, WA.