LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 4, 2012) – The Chicago Fire (3-2-2; 11pts.) used a first half Austin Berry equalizer and a last gasp stoppage time strike from Marco Pappa in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Chivas USA (3-6-0; 9pts.) Friday night at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
After containing early pressure from the home side, the Fire nearly broke through in the ninth minute when a cleared ball out of the back found striker Dominic Oduro in the center circle. The Ghanaian striker settled past Chivas defender Rauwshan McKenzie before pushing ahead but his next touch failed him and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was quick off his line to claim the ball in the ninth minute.
Despite the early efforts it would be Chivas USA that drew first blood as defender Heath Pearce traveled up the left before whipping in a cross to Alejandro Moreno at the top of the box. Fire rookie defender Austin Berry appeared to make contact with the Venezuelan international, prompting referee Baldomero Toledo to point to the penalty spot. Striker Juan Pablo Angel stepped up minutes later, sending Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson left as he tucked his penalty to the opposite corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
The Fire and Berry would answer almost immediately when defender Dan Gargan took a deep throw-in on the right that was headed away by Chivas USA’s Rauwshan McKenzie. Midfielder Sebastian Grazzini would collect just outside the area, chipping the ball into Berry’s path and allowing the rookie to volley a one-time effort just past Kennedy and inside the left post in the 25th minute. Berry becomes the third Fire player to tally a goal in his first-ever MLS appearance. Ritchie Kotschau and Josh Wolff both managed the feat during the 1998 season.
The visitors nearly found the go-ahead goal just before the half as Nyarko ventured into the box up the right before cutting back for Marco Pappa at the top of the box but the Guatemalan international curled a measured, one-time effort just wide left of Kennedy’s goal in the 41st minute to take the team’s into the break knotted 1-1.
Coming out of the break both teams played possession ball before Nyarko came close in the 59th minute. Grazzini drove towards goal out of midfield before dishing off to Oduro. With his back to goal, the striker laid off for his countryman Nyarko who collected before firing a blistering, low effort that forced Kennedy to make a diving save to his left.
Three minutes later, Fire left back Gonzalo Segares sped up the flank and whipped in a pinpoint cross that found Grazzini’s head and forced a diving stop out of Kennedy. Oduro’s follow-up attempt was denied by the Chivas USA goalkeeper before the play was whistled dead for offside.
In the waning moments of the match, Pavel Pardo collected a turnover in the back before finding Pappa in space in the middle of the park. The Guatemalan international took a touch before playing a slick give-and-go with Federico Puppo on the right flank. Puppo charged into the Chivas USA offensive third, laying off to an onrushing Pappa, who’s left-footed blast whizzed past Kennedy and inside the far past to give the Fire the stoppage time victory.
The Men in Red return to Toyota Park for the Ring of Fire induction of 13-year club veteran C.J. Brown as the side takes on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2; ESPN Deportes 97.5 FM) 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.
- Rookie defender Austin Berry became just the third rookie in Fire history and first since 1998 to score in a debut MLS appearance. Both Ritchie Kotschau and Josh Wolff tallied in their rookie debuts for the Fire during the club’s inaugural 1998 campaign.
- Marco Pappa’s stoppage time winner was his second goal in as many games this season and moves him into a tie for fifth on the club’s all-time MLS goal scoring list with Damani Ralph and Dema Kovalenko at 22.
- The Fire were without head coach Frank Klopas and defender Jalil Anibaba, both of whom were serving a one-match suspension after being dismissed from last Saturday’s 2-1 loss vs. Seattle.
- Fire assistant coaches Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich, both former assistants at Chivas USA in 2008, served on the sideline in Klopas’ stead.
- The Fire extend their current unbeaten streak against Chivas to eight matches, going 6-0-2 since last falling on June 19, 2008.
Chicago Fire 2 – 1 CD Chivas USA
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause ©, Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa; Sebastian Grazzini (Rafael Robayo 78’); Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro (Federico Puppo 86’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper, Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini, Orr Barouch
CD Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; John Valencia, Rauwshan McKenzie, Heath Pearce, James Riley; Oswaldo Minda, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Villafana (Michael Lahoud 81’), Miller Bolanos (Ryan Smith 66’); Alejandro Moreno ©, Juan Pablo Angel (Jose Correa 70’)
Substitutes not used: Tim Melia, Ante Jazic, Peter Vagenas, Laurent Courtois
CHV – Juan Pablo Angel (penalty kick) 23’
CHI – Austin Berry (Sebastian Grazzini) 25’
CHI – Marco Pappa (Federico Puppo) 93+’
CHV – Oswaldo Minda (caution) 16’
CHI – Pavel Pardo (caution) 20’
CHI – Dominic Oduro (caution) 72’
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal