BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Until very late, Sunday’s 2-0 Fire victory over D.C. United had all the feeling of a game that could have gotten away.
The Fire found the scoreboard early when a Joel Lindpere free kick redirected twice before Nick DeLeon’s failed clearance found its way into the back of the net for a ninth minute own goal.
Despite the long lead, the Fire took a while to close the game out and it felt as if 1-0 might have to be enough when new comer Mike Magee’s 1v1 with Joe Willis resulted in the United ‘keeper making a point blank stop in the 82nd minute.
RECAP: Fire down D.C. 2-0
As United pushed for a late equalizer, the Fire caught them out when Patrick Nyarko fed Maicon Santos up the right before the Brazilian rewarded the winger’s run. Nyarko then saw Magee streaking through the middle and this time he made no mistake, scoring his second goal in as many games and in his home debut for the Men in Red.
“The second goal was important,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “When you get chances you need to put them away and put the team away. That took a lot of pressure from the players. We created a lot of chances in the second half but it was good to put that second one away and enjoy the end of the game a little bit more.”
Magee’s eighth goal across all competitions in 2013, according to the Chicagoland native, the strike was a product of his growing familiarity with Nyarko’s speed.
“Its hard getting used to speed. I’m not fast so I can’t relate at all. I have to see a step early to know if he was going to get behind, as soon as I did, I just took off. He gave me a great ball -- I would have been dumb not to finish it.”
Nyarko credited Magee with adding more direction in the final third the past two matches.
“We got our first taste of it in midweek in Charlotte and first impressions are really good,” he said. “Mike is such a smart player and sometimes I catch myself looking at him and his movements as the play develops.
“He leads you to the next play. He’s very smart and very experienced and played with some great teams.”
“First-hand I saw when we played the Galaxy what he and [Robbie] Keane did was exceptional. That’s what he’s trying to bring to him and Chris [Rolfe] – that kind of movement just destroys defenders. He’s more or less been coaching us to do it and helping us in overall movement and not be stagnant.
Things don’t get easier for the Fire as they welcome the Portland Timbers to Toyota Park next Saturday, however with the team’s third positive result in a week’s time, Magee says the team should continue to take confidence from recent results.
“It’s our third win of the year and if my math’s right, we’re eight points out of the playoffs. There’s nothing to do but build on it.”