CHICAGO, Ill. – The Chicago Fire (6-5-3; 21 points) found an early goal from Patrick Nyarko and used second half strikes from Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe to defeat the New York Red Bulls (8-4-2; 26 points) Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. With the victory, the Fire remain unbeaten against the Red Bulls at home, going 6-0-3 in nine matches since 2006.
Before supporters could settle into their seats the Fire had found the back of the net. Defender Gonzalo Segares was played up the left and saw his cross deflected to teammate Sebastian Grazzini. The Argentine playmaker dribbled to the top of the box before lofting a ball for Nyarko, who headed the ball back across goal and past Red Bull ‘keeper Ryan Meara to give the Fire a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
The Fire continued to pour on the pressure eight minutes later when Marco Pappa slotted Dominic Oduro into the box on the right. The Ghanaian forward strolled to the end line before playing a bouncing ball across the box to an onrushing Pavel Pardo but his first-time effort went high over Meara’s goal.
The home side provided danger again four minutes later as Pappa played a ball on the right to Nyarko. The Ghanaian attacker cut back and played a square ball for Grazzini who took the space given to him before powering a 30-yard effort, forcing a diving stop from Meara in the 16th minute.
Red Bull saw their first dangerous chance come in the 40th minute when left back Roy Miller sent a cross-field pass that found Joel Lindpere in the box. The Estonian international took the ball and fired a belting shot that saw Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson make a diving save to tip the ball out for a corner kick.
Frank Klopas’ side nearly took a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Pappa played right back Dan Gargan up the right flank and the Fire defender took the space before cutting back for the Guatemalan international who fired a hard effort that skimmed just over Meara’s goal in the 45th minute.
New York came out of the break looking for the equalizer and came close in the 54th minute when halftime substitute Mehdi Ballouchy played a ball to Kenny Cooper at the top of the area. The target forward took time before turning and shooting a low blast to force another diving save out of Johnson.
Red Bull would find the equalizer one minute later when Ballouchy’s corner kick picked out the head of Dax McCarty who nodded the ball into the back of the net at inside the far post in the 55th minute.
Forward Chris Rolfe made his first appearance for the Fire at Toyota Park since re-signing with the club April 16, coming on for Grazzini in the 61st minute. It took just three minutes for him to announce his presence as he found space through the midfield before slotting Oduro in alone on goal. The Ghanaian attacker knocked his shot to the near post which Meara tipped and slowly trickled over the goal line before former Fire defender Wilman Conde cleared the ball away. Despite the ball crossing the line, center referee Baldomero Toledo did not allow a goal, leaving things level at 1-1.
Undeterred by the non-call, the Fire would find the true go-ahead goal four minutes later as Pappa hit a quick one-two combination to send Gonzalo Segares down the left. The Costa Rican international cut inside the box and played a slow effort towards Meara but Oduro rushed the box to keep the ball alive where it eventually fell for Segares who smashed his right-footed effort into the roof of the net in the 68th minute.
The Fire would complete the scoring in the 81st minute when Pappa switched the ball across the field to Nyarko on the right. The speedy Ghanaian cut inside the box towards the end line before squaring a ball across the box for Rolfe who tapped it home from close range.
Rolfe nearly found the brace in the 87th minute when fellow second half substitute Rafael Robayo dug a ball out on the touch line. The Colombian midfielder played to Rolfe who found space inside before hitting a 25-yard effort to force another diving stop out of Meara.
The Fire return to action on Saturday, June 23 when they welcome the Columbus Crew to Toyota Park at 7:30 p.m. CT live on NBC 5.2 and 97.5 ESPN Deportes.
- With the victory, the Fire remain unbeaten against Red Bull at Toyota Park, going 6-0-3 all-time since opening the soccer specific venue in 2006.
- Patrick Nyarko’s fourth minute goal was his second of the season and ninth of his MLS career.
- Gonzalo Segares’ 68th minute game winner was also his second of the season and 10th of his MLS career.
- Chris Rolfe’s 81st minute goal was his first since re-joining the club in April. Rolfe sits second all-time on the club’s MLS goal scoring list with 37 career goals.
- Red Bull defender Wilman Conde played 90 minutes in his first return to Toyota Park since joining New York earlier this year. The Colombian defender appeared in 73 matches for the Fire from 2007-10.
The Fire are 2-0-0 in matches played on the NBC Sports Network.
Chicago Fire 3 – 1 New York Red Bulls
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause © Pavel Pardo; Patrick Nyarko, Sebastian Grazzini (Chris Rolfe 61’), Marco Pappa (Hunter Jumper 85’); Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo 76’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Daniel Paladini, Federico Puppo, Orr Barouch
New York Red Bulls: Ryan Meara; Brandon Barklage (Connor Lade 71’), Markus Holgersson ©, Wilman Conde, Roy Miller (Mehdi Ballouchy 46’); Dane Richards, Jan Gunnar Solli, Heath Pearce, Dax McCarty (Victor Palsson 89’), Joel Lindpere; Kenny Cooper
Substitutes not used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Borrajo, Stephen Keel, Jhonny Arteaga
CHI – Patrick Nyarko (Sebastian Grazzini) 4’
NY – Dax McCarty (Mehdi Ballouchy) 55’
CHI – Gonzalo Segares (Dominic Oduro) 68’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Patrick Nyarko) 81’
CHI – Dan Gargan (Caution, Foul) 37’
CHI – Dominic Oduro (Caution, Dissent) 65’
CHI – Gonzalo Segares (Caution, Foul) 79’
NY – Dane Richard (Caution, Foul) 80’
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
Fourth Official: Jorge Luna Hernandez