Getting off the penalty schneid without controversy
There were nervy moments early in Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 win over Sporting KC. It wasn’t because of a defensive blunder or an early goal conceded but rather another penalty kick awarded to the Fire as team leading scorer Quincy Amarikwa was brought down by KC ‘keeper Eric Kronberg.
After both Mike Magee and Juan Luis Anangono failed to convert late penalties which would have helped the team win two home matches back in April, there had been some discussion of who would take the next spot kick. Prior to Sunday's match, only captain Jeff Larentowicz had converted a penalty this year, back on March 16 at Portland.
“I spoke to a couple of press guys a few weeks ago and I decided Jeff was going to take them,” Frank Yallop said in Sunday’s post-game press conference. “But Mike and Jeff were talking and Jeff felt Mike was the guy to do it.”
The decision had been made between manager, captain and the penalty specialist but Amarikwa picked up the ball at the end boards and tightly tucked it under his arm as he walked towards the penalty spot.
“Me, Jeff and Frank had solved the problem and we forgot to tell Quincy,” Magee joked post-game. “I love Quincy, I love that he wants to take it but I told him, ‘I got it’. He’s a strong dude and he had it tight. I walked away and I knew Jeff was going to handle it because Frank let us hear it pretty good after the [New England game]. Jeff told him it was mine and that was that.”
Magee coolly stepped up and tucked his penalty inside the left post to give the Fire a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.
“I love Quincy and I hope he scores 50 goals this year but I was always going to take the penalty today,” he said.
Two Penalties Converted moves Magee further up the Fire Goal Chart
After Benji Joya was taken down on the right side by debutant Sporting defender Erik Palmer-Brown, Magee then stepped up and converted his second and what would stand as the game-winner in the 16th minute.
The two goals double Magee’s goal total on the season to four and also continue to push him further up the club’s all-time goal scoring chart.
Playing in just his 30th MLS match for the Fire, Magee moved into a tie with long-time midfielder Jesse Marsch for ninth on the club’s all-time MLS goal scoring list with 19 career goals. Marsch played an even 200 matches for the Men in Red between 1998-2005 and to be fair was a more defensive minded midfielder.
Still, with nearly every goal he scores this season, Magee will continue to move up rungs on the club’s all-time scoring list. For instance, if he equals the 15 he scored for the team in 2013, he’ll sit fourth on the list and be knocking on the door for third with Josh Wolff (32 goals).
Next in his sights is eighth place Nate Jaqua who sits eighth with 21 goals.
Fire Make it Difficult Again
While the team took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break and even played the final 26 minutes up a man when Erik Palmer-Brown was dismissed for his second yellow, the end of the match still left something to be desired for the Fire.
Just four minutes after Palmer-Brown’s sending off, Dominic Dwyer pulled things to 2-1 and Sporting KC pressed looking to steal an invaluable point on the road. The Fire held their ground but Jeff Larentowicz admitted frustration in making it harder than it should have been.
“There are opportunities to kill the game off,” the Fire captain said. “They’re down so they’re thinking either we’re going to lose or we’re going to lose big. They’re pushing guys forward, we have opportunities to put the game away and we don’t. I think that’s what’s disappointing.
“Whenever a team is backs against the wall and throwing guys forward there’s going to be opportunities, you just have to defend well but I think on the other end of the ball we had other chances to score and we didn’t.”