CHICAGO, Ill. (July 20, 2013) – The Chicago Fire (7-9-3, 24 points) defeated long-time Eastern Conference foes D.C. United (2-14-4, 10 points) 4-1 Saturday evening at Toyota Park. Chris Rolfe’s brace and Joel Lindpere’s one goal, two assist performance led the Fire to victory.
The Fire would open scoring just two minutes into the match when Mike Magee found Lindpere just inside the Fire’s half. The Estonian international dribbled down the left flank and played a perfectly weighted ball in the air to Rolfe just outside the 18-yard-box. Without letting the ball bounce, Rolfe’s leaped into the air and sent his right-footed volley over D.C. United ‘keeper Joe Willis to give the Fire the early lead.
The Men in Red would double their lead in the 11th minute when Jeff Larentowicz received the ball a few yards inside D.C.’s half and raced towards goal. With a quick cutback, Larentowicz nutmegged Daniel Woolard and found Lindpere at the top of the penalty box. Lindpere took a touch to settle and blasted his left-footed shot in the center of the goal.
Rolfe completed his brace one minute into first half stoppage time when Lindpere played a perfectly-weighted ball over the top of the United defense. Rolfe raced in towards goal and tucked his left-footed shot past Willis for his second goal of the night.
In the 55th minute, second half substitute Quincy Amarikwa received the ball and raced towards goal before getting hauled down in the box by Woolard. Magee stepped up for the ensuing penalty kick and drove his right-footed shot right down the center to give the Fire the 4-0 lead.
The visitors would get on the board in the 58th minute when Perry Kitchen played a ball through traffic to Luis Silva 30-yards from goal. Silva took two touches to settle the ball and blasted his right-footed shot from distance past a diving Tornaghi to spoil the clean sheet.
The Fire return to action when they head to the Lone Star State to take on the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, July 27 at 8:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/ La Ley 107.9).
Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On what came together tonight and the team’s momentum
“The difference tonight was just finishing our chances. We had chances the last game and it was important how we would respond. So I think this was a crucial game we were playing, regardless of where this team is in the standings. They have quality players and you can’t underestimate anyone and I felt that the fast goals helped. We had chances, we put the chances away, and we defended very well as a team. We did very well as a team and I give a lot of credit to my players for the effort, the attitude they put into the game and their commitment over 90 minutes. I think this is a crucial part for us in the season, the next six weeks there are a lot of games we need to pick up points to be in that race and then we also have an opportunity in the semi final Open Cup game to be one step closer to where we can be playing for a championship, to win that trophy. It’s a crucial month, six weeks, and its important now at home to get points and also find a way to get points on the road. It was a great effort by the group today.”
On Joel Lindpere’s play tonight
“We started him at Columbus and he did the same. It’s about the team, I just felt that everyone had a good performance, they played well, and we won as a team today and that’s what it’s all about. We have talked throughout the season about guys needing to [perform] when the opportunity comes and Joel is an experienced guy. I had no problem. I have 100 percent confidence in Joel when he comes into the game and his work rate and all that stuff he showed tonight. It was a very good performance by the team and I give credit to the team so we need to obviously move forward. It was an important win for us and now we have to regroup and get ready for a top match next week because this game is over. We have to prepare for the game in Houston now.”
On Dilly Duka’s leaving the game and Quincy Amarikwa coming in for him
“At halftime Dilly [Duka] didn’t really say anything and when I came out they were warming up and preparing for the second half and he said that he had an issue with his hamstring or his groin, we will have to see tomorrow. Quincy [Amarikwa], that decision, we knew scoring the third goal, we knew that they were going to push the game. Both the goals came on a break for us and we felt that with his pace, they were trying to push the game and get back into it. We knew we would have space to play into depth. He is a guy that brings energy, his work rate, and his pace to get behind helps. Moments like that he’s been good and he’s played well, not only the times he’s come in, but also in the reserve matches. I think that is positive for him and also for the rest of the guys.”
On if any reserve player is really standing out
“We just have to see. Obviously [this week] we don’t have a mid-week game we just have to really see with injuries more than anything and see how guys are feeling through this week.”
On the challenges of integrating a player while maintaining team chemistry
“I think it’s important when you bring a guy in that he fits in with the group, that he can adapt quickly and it’s all about the team. That player has to realize that he has to sacrifice and do anything he can for the team. For us, that’s the most important thing when we bring a guy in.”
On Chris Rolfe’s performance
“It was great. I thought Chris [Rolfe] had opportunities last game and I think both goals were great finishes, and I think his movement was very good. The first ball that Joel [Lindpere] played to him, his movement; it was just a fantastic goal. The second one also came on a break through ball and his finish [was great]. Chris has that kind of quality. I think more than anything today, besides his goals, his work rate was fantastic. You can play him out wide he’s willing to do the work. When you have him on top he’s very dangerous, he’s a very technical player. And when you get him around the goal he makes plays like that. I think that the goals and his movement today was fantastic and I was very happy for him to rebound from last week and some of the opportunities he’s had.”
Chris Rolfe, Chicago Fire forward
On his first goal:
“I think our combination play was really good tonight, we had a lot of three men combinations and the timing was on for the most part. I got behind a few times, Mike [Magee] got in once and Dilly [Duka] was beating his guy – it was a good first half in particular.”
On converting an early opportunity for a goal:
“It helps the whole team. We have all been talking about how important it was for us to score first, and then we ended up getting the second one in the first 15 minutes – that changes the whole outlook of the game for us.”
On Joel Lindpere’s performance:
“Joel [Lindpere] had a great game coming in again after not playing in the last couple. He is really stepping up and helping the team, I’m happy for him.”
On Lindpere’s off-field contributions:
“Like most of the guys in this locker room, he’s had a great team spirit, he’s been very positive and that helps. It shows when he comes in tonight and does a great job.”
On the potential of the team bringing in another striker and its affect on his performance:
“It doesn’t affect it at all. If anything it’s exciting. I hope they do bring in another guy if it’s going to help the team win. I think it’s important for any team or organization to bring talent in to make us more competitive.”
Joel Lindpere, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On his performance tonight
"Wednesday, in the reserve game I gave an assist, last game, in Vancouver, I gave an assist, Columbus I gave an assist, so I think I've been doing my job how I like to do it and how I have to do it. I love to play so if you can enjoy playing, then it’s a good thing."
On the difficulties of staying ready when he isn't starting
"I don’t know when I didn't play three games from the start. But that means I'm doing my job. I think I've been starting most of my career but that’s the way it is. It's a team game. Like I said, I will try to find myself always to do my job and help the team. It doesn't matter if I start next game or I don’t start, I really hope that we take something for the road trip from this game. We have won only one road game and with the season at this point we have to be smart. For next week we need to concentrate because we don't play at home. Home advantage is so big and we have to get a good start for this game.”
- The Fire now hold a 17-17-11 all-time regular season record against D.C. United, including a 10-6-7 record in matches played at home.
- Lindpere’s goal in the 11th minute was his first in a Fire shirt.
- Rolfe’s brace marks his sixth multi-goal game of his MLS career.
- Logan Pause entered the match in the 77th minute for his first competitive action since June 22. Pause started and played 58 minutes in the Fire’s MLS Reserve League match on Tuesday, July 17.
- Magee’s goal in the 56th minute marked his 12th goal of the 2013 MLS season. Magee now sits tied with Camilo atop the tightly-contested MLS Golden Boot race.
Chicago Fire 4 – 1 D.C. United
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Joel Lindpere, Alex (Logan Pause 77’), Jeff Larentowicz ©, Dilly Duka (Quincy Amarikwa 47’); Mike Magee (Maicon Santos 82’), Chris Rolfe
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Shaun Francis, Michael Videira, Sherjill MacDonald
D.C. United: Joe Willis; Ethan White (Dejan Jakovic 46’), Daniel Woolard, Chris Korb, Taylor Kemp; Perry Kitchen, John Thorrington ©, Nick DeLeon (James Riley 75’); Sainey Nyassi (Kyle Porter 61’), Luis Silva, Carlos Ruiz
Substitutes not used: Andrew Dykstra, Jared Jeffrey, Casey Townsend
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Joel Lindpere) 2’
CHI – Joel Lindpere (Jeff Larentowicz) 11’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Joel Lindpere) 45+’
CHI – Mike Magee (penalty kick) 56’
DC – Luis Silva (Perry Kitchen) 58’
DC – Kyle Porter (caution) 70’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (caution) 81’
CHI – Austin Berry (caution) 91’
DC – John Thorrington (caution) 92’
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Chris Strickland
Fourth Official: Kevin Terry Jr.
Fourth Official: Kevin Terry Jr.