COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 22, 2013) – The Chicago Fire (5-7-3) earned their first road win of the season with a 2-1 comeback victory over the Columbus Crew (5-6-5) Saturday evening at Columbus Crew Stadium. Federico Higuain converted a 7th minute penalty kick before Dilly Duka and Mike Magee scored two unanswered goals in the 52nd and 54th minutes to give the Fire the victory.
In the sixth minute, former Fire striker Dominic Oduro showed his trademark speed as he raced into the penalty box. Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson dove for the ball at Oduro’s feet and was whistled for the foul inside the penalty area. Crew captain Federico Higuain stepped up and took the ensuing penalty kick. Johnson dove correctly to his right but Higuain’s shot was just inches past his fingertips as the home side took the early 1-0 lead.
The Fire would pull even in the 54th minute. With his back towards goal, Magee split the Crew defense and found Joel Lindpere racing down the left flank. The Estonian international whipped a cross into the box and found Duka on the back post. Unmarked, the Montville, NJ product stuck his right foot out and with the sliding volley, powered the ball into the roof of the goal for the equalizer.
Just two minutes later the Men in Red would take the lead with another pinpoint Lindpere cross. Again from the left side, Lindpere served an inch-perfect cross into the box, finding Magee at the top of the six-yard box. Magee out-jumped his defender and used this chest to redirect the ball into the back of the net to give the Fire the 2-1 lead.
Searching for the equalizer the Crew peppered the goal and took a total of 15 shots, but Johnson was up to the task and made eight saves as the Fire took all three points.
The Men in Red face a quick turnaround as they return home and welcome Orlando City SC to Toyota Park for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match on Wednesday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com or Ticketmaster. The Open Cup match will serve as Bonus Game 3 in the Fire Season Ticket and Ten Game packages.
- With the victory, the Fire move to 15-5-7 all-time against the Crew in regular season play, and 10-7-6 in matches played in Columbus.
- The win bumped Fire head coach Frank Klopas’ record to 23-12-14 all-time in regular season matches played from June through October. Klopas’ side is 7-11-5 in matches played from March through May.
- Dilly Duka’s goal in the 52nd minute was his first for the Fire and third overall in his MLS career.
- Mike Magee’s goal in the 54th minute was his sixth goal in six consecutive competitive matches to start his Fire career.
- With 10 goals to his credit this season, Magee now sits in a three-way tie with Marco Di Vaio and Jack McInerney atop the Golden Boot standings
- The Fire are currently in the midst of a seven match unbeaten run across all competitions.
Fran Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On tonight’s performance
“We knew that they were going to come hard and the start was important – a lot of times it’s how you catch teams. We needed the good start, but we gave up a penalty kick early. I felt good in the game, even after that we had good confidence. We came into halftime, we talked about it and the team never gave up. The game is 90 minutes and we found another way – we had some very good moments and created chances. We scored two goals, but they had some good chances also. In a game like that the goalkeeper has to come up big like Sean [Johnson] did and that’s what you have to do to get three points on the road.”
On halftime adjustments
“We needed to get on the ball more. A lot of times when we play them, long diagonal balls are not the strength of our team, we don’t have a chance. We needed to combine through the middle, we needed to play combinations, we needed to move the ball quicker – especially from side to side and get the ball to Dilly [Duka] wide in the channels. Once we get it there and he’s [Duka] on the field and we’re getting defenders one-on-on under pressure – that’s where our strength is, to be able to combine. The big balls, I mean, if you play long balls diagonally to [Chad] Marshall, you’re not going to win any headers, you know?”
On the quick turnaround after the Open Cup meeting on June 13
“Our changes helped a lot; we needed to rest guys who weren’t 100% from the Open Cup game. I thought it was a great team win and the one thing with the guys – they’ve never given up, even through the slow start and adversity, there’s always been a belief in the team. The team is the most important thing with the group and you can see that no matter what happens, there are no regrets and they’ll leave everything on the field.”
Dilly Duka, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On tonight’s performance
“Three points, that’s big, man. Columbus is a good home team throughout history, so to come here and get three points – I don’t know if we moved up a spot in the table, but with the points, it helps big time.
On the importance of his first goal with Chicago.
I needed my first goal in a Chicago jersey. I feel like I’ve been getting good shots off in past games and I’ve just been a little unlucky. This one I got played a good ball and I just made sure I got behind it so it could go in. I’m happy for that, but it’s extra special we got the three points with it.”
On reacting to his goal
“You know what? I saw it go in the back of the net and then I just looked at my players and was like, ‘we’re back in this’. I didn’t try to celebrate or anything, I didn’t care, I just wanted to get these points – to come here and get points is big.”
Mike Magee, Chicago Fire Forward
On his success with goal-scoring
“[Laughing] Don’t jinx me man. I can’t comment on numbers of goals right now.”
On the recent form of the team
“Our defense is playing great, but we’re giving away goals. It stinks, but it shows a lot about this team and sets the tone for the week to come – we know we can battle and we fight for each other, that’s the hardest thing in soccer. If we can just get our minds right to start games, we could be a hell of a team.”
On his goal
“It was off my shoulder. The defender had the beat on me and I was just trying to get in front of him. I hoped it would hit me somewhere and it hit me right here [points to shoulder].”
Chicago Fire 2 – 1 Columbus Crew
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Dilly Duka, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause © (Jeff Larentowicz 26’), Joel Lindpere (Patrick Nyarko 70’); Chris Rolfe (Maicon Santos 59’), Mike Magee
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Wells Thompson, Alex, Sherjill MacDonald
Columbus Crew: Andy Gruenebaum; Chad Barson (Justin Meram 88’), Chad Marshall, Tyson Wahl, Josh Williams; Matias Sanchez (Aaron Schoenfeld 81’), Danny O’Rourke, Bernardo Anor, Dominic Oduro, Federico Higuain ©; Jairo Arrieta
Substitutes not used: Ethan Finlay, Eric Gehrig, Kevan George, Matt Lampson, Konrad Warzycha
CLB – Federico Higuain (penalty kick) 7’
CHI – Dilly Duka (Joel Lindpere, Mike Magee) 52’
CHI – Mike Magee (Joel Lindpere) 54’
CHI – Sean Johnson (caution) 6’
CLB – Jairo Arrieta (caution) 45’
CHI – Joel Lindpere (caution) 48’
CHI – Gonzalo Segares (caution) 60’
CHI – Bakary Soumare (caution) 65’
CLB – Matias Sanchez (caution) 77’
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistants: Brian Poeschel, Brian Dunn
Fourth Official: Carlos Rivera
Fourth Official: Carlos Rivera