CHICAGO, Ill. (September 2, 2012) – The Chicago Fire (13-8-5; 44 pts.) got first half goals from Patrick Nyarko and Daniel Paladini before a late strike from Alex gave the side a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo (11-7-9; 42 pts.) Sunday night at Toyota Park. With the win, the Fire move into sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Fire didn’t even waste a minute in getting on the score board when Patrick Nyarko intercepted an errant pass at midfield from Houston’s Andre Hainault. The speedy Ghanaian strolled untouched towards goal and tucked his effort past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall and inside the left post to give the Fire a 1-0 lead 47 seconds into the match.
HIGHLIGHTS: Fire 3, Dynamo 1
Houston thought they found the equalizer 12 minutes later when Hainault’s cross from the right was deflected by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The ball bounced up and hit the arm of onrushing Dynamo forward Macoumba Kandji before going over the goal line, forcing referee David Gantar to call the goal back due to a hand ball.
The Fire would double their lead in the 19th minute when Alvaro Fernandez dispossessed Ricardo Clark at midfield. The Uruguayan international drove toward the box before laying off for Sherjill MacDonald on the right. The Dutch striker held the ball before chipping for the onrushing Daniel Paladini who buried his first time effort past Hall from close range.
Frank Klopas’ side nearly took it to 3-0 in the 25th minute when Nyarko sped up the right before finding Paladini in the box. The goal scorer held up and centered the ball, allowing MacDonald to dummy and leave for Fernadnez at the back post but the midfielder cranked his first-time shot just wide right of the opposite post.
Chris Rolfe got in on the action in the 33rd minute, combining with Paladini just outside the box before unleashing a low, driven shot that forced Hall into a diving stop to take the Fire into the half up 2-0.
Houston came out with renewed purpose, threatening the Fire goal early on in the second half. First, pinching in from the right, Brad Davis found himself with plenty of room to work with and fired a 30-yard blast that to the top right corner that Johnson did well to hang onto in the 50th minute.
A minute later, Corey Ashe’s gallivanting run up the left saw the Dynamo defender pick out Je-Vaughn Watson but the Jamaican international headed over the bar.
Houston would force the issue again in the 74th minute. Davis’ in-swinging free kick from the right found the head of Will Bruin who nodded his effort toward the back post but Johnson sprawled out with a diving save to deny the effort.
The Fire nearly closed the game out 10 minutes later when Pavel Pardo’s clearance out of the back found second half substitute Dominic Oduro in stride. The former Dynamo striker pushed the ball past Ashe before crossing for Fernandez but the Uruguayan pushed his effort just wide right of Hall’s goal.
The Dynamo continued to threaten late and came close again in the 89th minute when Davis’ free kick was punched away by Johnson. Houston retained possession though and Bobby Boswell’s chip into the box fell for Watson but his first-time effort from close range was once again thwarted with a diving save by Johnson.
Houston would find their goal on the ensuing corner kick when Davis found Brian Ching whose diving header squeaked inside the right post to take the game to 2-1 in the 90th minute.
With the Dynamo looking for the equalizer, the Fire would catch their Eastern Conference foes out with the last kick of the game. Jalil Anibaba’s clearance out of the back was fumbled by Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie, allowing Oduro to pounce and lay off for second half substitute Alex. The Brazilian attacker collected and unleashed a left-footed rocket that hit the right post before crossing the goal line in the 93rd minute, giving the Fire a 3-1 victory.
The Fire return to action when they host Mexican side Club Santos Laguna in an international friendly on Saturday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Park. The Men in Red return to MLS play when they head to Toronto to take on Toronto FC at BMO Field on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT live on NBC5.2 and 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes.
- The victory moves the Men in Red’s to 13-8-5 on the season and pushes the team into sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Fire move to 9-2-2 in matches played at Toyota Park this season.
- The Fire are 10-4-3 against Eastern Conference in 2012 and 7-0-1 in matches played against the East at Toyota Park.
- Patrick Nyarko’s goal 47 seconds into the match stands as the fourth quickest goal in club history. Dominic Oduro tallied the fastest goal in Fire history earlier this season, scoring 25 seconds into the team’s 3-2 win at Toronto on April 21.
- Daniel Paladini scored in his second consecutive match and is the first game-winning goal of the veteran midfielder’s MLS career.
- Brazilian midfielder Alex opened his Fire account with his 93rd minute blast. Alex became the 14th Fire player to find the back of the net during the 2012 campaign.
- Entering the match in the 85th minute, captain Logan Pause made his first appearance since suffering two fractured ribs and pneumothorax in the team’s 3-1 victory at Philadelphia on August 12.
- Defender Gonzalo Segares moved past Diego Gutierrez into seventh all-time on the club’s all-competitions appearance at 198.
Chicago Fire 3 – 1 Houston Dynamo
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko (Dominic Oduro 77’), Daniel Paladini, Pavel Pardo ©, Alvaro Fernandez; Chris Rolfe (Logan Pause 85’), Sherjill MacDonald (Alex 55’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Dan Gargan, Corben Bone, Victor Pineda
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault (Kofi Sarkodie 46’), Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor (Brian Ching 63’), Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis ©; Je-Vaughn Watson, Will Bruin, Macoumba Kandji (Calen Carr 81’)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Luiz Camargo, Nathan Sturgis, Cam Waver
CHI – Patrick Nyarko (unassisted) 1’
CHI – Daniel Paladini (unassisted) 19’
HOU – Brian Ching (Brad Davis) 90’
CHI – Alex (Dominic Oduro) 93+’
HOU – Bobby Boswell (caution) 79’
Referee: David Gantar
Assistants: Brian Poeschel, Scott Kachmarik
Fourth Official: Michael Kennedy