RIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire were able to win their first game against FC Dallas at Toyota Park with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday, but the win didn’t come easily.
GOAL: Pappa reacts first
It took a comeback, a penalty kick save and a favorable call against a short-handed Dallas team that hadn’t won in seven games to break the streak with the 2-1 victory.
Even without the suspended Brek Shea or the injured Fabián Castillo, Dallas had the better chances early in the game.
In the 18th minute, FC Dallas midfielder Jair Benítez sprung through the Fire defense on a through pass, but he wasn’t able to get a shot off.
FC Dallas struck first in the 41st minute on a corner kick play, when rookie Matt Hedges headed home a rebound after Sean Johnson initially saved.
The Fire answered four minutes later, when Sebastián Grazzini dribbled twice to his left a curled a left-footed shot just over the outstretched hand of Kevin Hartman from outside the penalty area.
FC Dallas had a golden opportunity to take back the lead in the 50th minute, when Dominic Oduro took down Bruno Guarda in the penalty area to earn a penalty kick. But Sean Johnson brilliantly saved the ensuing Blas Perez kick.
In the 62nd minute, the Fire earned a penalty kick of their own. Kevin Hartman answered Johnson’s save by saving Grazzini’s kick, but Marco Pappa was there to finish the rebound. Replays showed that Pappa was illegally in the penalty area before the kick was taken, but the goal stood.
Matt Hedges nearly finished off a Blas Pérez rebound in injury time, but the ball went past his outstretched foot and the wide-open goal.
The Fire were able to hold out for their first Brimstone Cup victory since 2001 in the teams’ only meeting of the season.
FC Dallas are now 0-6-1 away from home, and their overall winless streak was stretched to eight games, two away from the franchise high. They’ll try to snap the streak on Saturday against Western Conference-leading Real Salt Lake in the final game of Shea’s three-game suspension.
After losing to Western Conference bottom feeder Portland on Sunday, the Fire won their third game in five matches to solidify their four-place spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ll head to Columbus on Saturday looking for their fourth win in the month of May.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Sebastián Grazzini||The midfielder's equalizer just before the break changed the game. Superb strike to cap off a great display.|
|2||Jackson||Provided flair and attacking prowess for Dallas, recorded 3 shots. Worked hard all night long for Dallas.|
|3||Sean Johnson||Got down well to save Pérez's penalty and commanded his area all night long. Solid display once again.|