First half strikes from Cristian Nazarit and Diego Chaves were all that was needed as the Chicago Fire downed visiting Real Salt Lake 2-0 in MLS Reserve League action Tuesday morning at Toyota Park. The result moves the Fire to 5-1-1 (16 pts) and keeps the side atop the Central/Mountain Division.
Nazarit tallied his Reserve League-leading fifth goal to open the scoring as Chaves chested down a deflected ball for his running mate at the top of the area before the Colombian unleashed a screaming blast to the top right of the net past Tim Melia in the 14th minute.
Ten minutes later the Fire would double the lead as Fire Home Grown product Victor Pineda played a ball over the top of Salt Lake midfield for Baggio Husidic. The Bosnian ran onto it before being pulled down in the box by Yordany Alvarez who was issued a yellow card for the challenge. Chaves stepped up to take the spot kick, burying a high drive down the middle as Melia guessed to his left, giving the Fire a 2-0 lead in the 25thminute.
Riding the wave of Paulo Jr., RSL nearly pulled back a goal twice later in the first half. In the 35th minute the Brazilian attacker dispossessed Fire defender Yamith Cuesta on the right end line, breaking into the box before centering for Ned Grabavoy whose one-time shot did well to test Jon Conway.
A minute later, RSL striker Cody Arnoux slipped Paulo Jr. through the Fire back line and in alone on the left. The Brazilian fired a quick shot which Conway dove to his right to put the effort for a corner, eventually taking the Fire into the half up 2-0.
Real Salt Lake dominated possession in what was a chippy second half but didn’t find a quality chance until the 87th minute when guest player Lucas Neel centered a low cross which sat in the area before finally being cleared by substitute Fire defender Gonzalo Segares.
The result moves Real Salt Lake to 2-5-0, 6 points in the Central Mountain Division while the Fire remain atop the division table with a 5-1-1 record and 16 points after seven games played. Real Salt Lake next take the field in Reserve Division action on Sunday, Sept. 18 against Sporting Kansas City at the RSL Practice Facility at noon CT. The Men in Red visit FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. CT.
Chicago Fire 2 – 0 Real Salt Lake
Chicago Fire: Jon Conway (Alec Dufty 46’); Victor Pineda, Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Mike Banner (Gonzalo Segares 46’); Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini, Baggio Husidic (AJ Jeffries 46’*), Pari Pantazopoulos; Cristian Nazarit (Kellen Gulley 64’), Diego Chaves
Substitutes Not Used: none
Real Salt Lake: Tim Melia; Julio Alarcon* (Ricardo Velasco 62’*), Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Blake Wagner; Yordany Alvarez**, Lewis Neal**, Ned Grabavoy © (Kevin Molino 46’**), Collen Warner; Paulo Jr., Cody Arnoux (Donny Toia 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Maikon Orellana*
*Denotes Academy player, **Denotes guest player
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (Diego Chaves) 14’
CHI – Diego Chaves (penalty kick) 25’
RSL – Blake Wagner (caution) 11’
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (caution) 24’
CHI – Josip Mikulic (caution) 31’
RSL – Collen Warner (caution) 43’
CHI – Michael Videira (caution) 46’
CHI – Victor Pineda (caution) 55’
CHI – Gonzalo Segares (caution) 64’
RSL – Chris Schuler (caution) 77’
RSL – Donny Toia (caution) 88’
Referee: Kyle Trimble
Referee’s Assistants: Dimitar Chadarov, Cesar Ibarra
4th Referee: Nikola Alexsic