BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Two Chicago Fire gaffes kept the short-handed San Jose Earthquakes in Wednesday night's contest, but Mike Magee and Chris Rolfe linked up late to secure a 3-2 win for the Chicago Fire and maintain the team's push up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Fire almost gave away a lead created by Dilly Duka's goal and assist, but Magee's backdoor pass found Rolfe in the 84th minute to give Chicago their fourth win in five league games.
The Men in Red also extended their unbeaten streak in competitive games to nine, climbing to sixth in the Eastern Conference after beginning the season 2-7-1.
After a signature come-from-behind win on Saturday against Los Angeles, the Earthquakes lost for the fourth time in six matches, keeping them in eighth place in the Western Conference.
San Jose were missing five regular starters, due to suspensions, injury, and Gold Cup call-ups for leading scorer Chris Wondolowski and newly-signed center back Clarence Goodson, but managed to take an early lead.
Alan Gordon opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he flicked a header just over Paolo Tornaghi, which knocked off the cross bar and straight back to Gordon for the easy putaway.
Chicago nearly responded immediately after when Duka collected a cross from Magee in the 17th minute, turned, and forced a reaction save out of Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, setting the tone for the Fire's first-half dominace.
And after causing problems for the Earthquakes down the left side of the field all half, Duka finally finished off a Gonzalo Segares cross in the 36th minute, bouncing a shot off the ground and over Busch.
The home side then picked up where they left off coming out of the break when, in the 47th minute, Duka played a cross to Patrick Nyarko, who beat Busch with a sliding finish to put the Fire ahead.
The Earthquakes woke up after falling behind, and put pressure on the Fire over large stretches of the second half. Two minutes after the goal, Gordon played a header to Rafael Baca inside the six yard box, but the Mexican-born midfielder couldn't find his finishing touch, and his shot dribbled wide.
Walter Martinez could have equalized in the 53rd minute when he teed up a shot inside the box, but Segares managed to deflect it out for a corner.
Despite their offensive outburst, San Jose needed another Chicago mistake to equalize. In the 72nd minute, Jalil Anibaba and Joel Lindpere deflected a San Jose corner kick past Tornaghi, who got the start in goal in place of US call-up Sean Johnson.
Twelve minutes later, though, Rolfe would find the finish that secured three points for Chicago.
Chicago will now host Kansas City on Sunday with a chance to climb to .500 for the first time this season. San Jose, meanwhile will head to New England on Saturday, when Shea Salinas (suspension) and Steven Lenhart (injury) should be a welcome sight in the lineup
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dilly Duka||Continued his electric running, netting a goal and a providing a fine assist as he causde problems for San Jose all night long|
|2||Jeff Larentowicz||Quietly dominant in the center of the park, making life difficult for San Jose's midfield and even testing Jon Busch a few times from distance|
|3||Alan Gordon||Netted his third goal in two games, showed good feet and a willingness to do defensive work. Would probably like a scuffed chance or two back, though|