Forward Dominic Oduro scored an 85th minute goal to give the Chicago Fire a wild 3-2 win over Chivas USA at Toyota Park Saturday afternoon and keep their faint playoff hopes intact.
Chicago were up 2-0 by the 26th minute but went down a man when defender Cory Gibbs was ejected in the 37th minute. The visitors equalized against the 10-man Fire on a pair of goals scored two minutes apart from each other before Oduro broke the deadlock with five minutes remaining.
Gibbs got the Fire off to a dream start, putting Chicago on the board in the second minute with a header on a Sebastián Grazzini corner kick. An own goal by Chivas forward Juan Pablo Ángel accounted for the Fire’s second, after a Pavel Pardo free kick caromed off his head and past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 26th minute.
But Chicago threw Chivas USA a lifeline when Gibbs was shown a straight red card scarcely 10 minutes after Ángel’s own goal, after a hard sliding challenge on Goats right back Michael Lahoud.
Chivas USA took the upper hand after Gibbs’ ejection and Ángel pulled one back for Chivas in the 61st minute when he powered home his shot from the top of the six yard box. Just two minutes later midfielder Nick LaBrocca equalized, elegantly one-timing a loose ball into the left upper 90.
The Fire started to get back into the game after LaBrocca’s equalizer, but they kept ceding chances, and needed another Sean Johnson save on Ángel in the 72nd minute to keep the score level.
Chicago should’ve taken the lead in the 75th minute. Oduro beat a pair of Chivas defenders to set up a two-on-one against Kennedy, but he completely missed a wide open Nyarko in the middle of the box, shooting wide from a tight angle instead.
Nyarko and Oduro’s partnership turned productive 10 minutes later. Nyarko collected substitute forward Diego Chaves’ through ball in the left side of the box, picking up his head and squaring to Oduro for a tap in at the far post.
The victory moves the Fire to within six points of the Portland Timbers for the 10th and final wild card spot with six games remaining.
The loss extends Chivas USA’s losing streak to four, keeping the Goats five points behind the Timbers with just five matches left for them.
The Goats return to league play on Wednesday night, taking on DC United at RFK Stadium in a match rife with playoff implications. Chicago host New England a week from Sunday.
CHI -- Cory Gibbs 3 (Sebastian Grazzini 3) 2
CHI -- own goal (Juan Pablo Angel) 26
CHV -- Juan Pablo Angel 5 (Mariano Trujillo 1) 61
CHV -- Nick LaBrocca 8 (Zarek Valentin 1) 63
CHI -- Dominic Oduro 10 (Patrick Nyarko 7, Diego Chaves 1) 85
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 46), Michael Umana, Zarek Valentin, Ante Jazic, Nick LaBrocca, Alejandro Moreno, Simon Elliott (Blair Gavin 46), Justin Braun (Laurent Courtois 61), Juan Pablo Angel, Marcos Mondaini.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Jorge Flores, Ben Zemanski, Zach Thornton.
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic (Daniel Paladini 80), Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Marco Pappa (Diego Chaves 80), Sebastian Grazzini (Yamith Cuesta 46), Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro.
Substitutes Not Used: Orr Barouch, Baggio Husidic, Victor Pineda, Jon Conway.
CHV -- Michael Lahoud (caution; Reckless Tackle) 5
CHI -- Cory Gibbs (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 37
CHI -- Josip Mikulic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 73
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Kermit Quisenberry
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny and 68 degrees