BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Through all of their struggles, D.C. United could at least take solace in the fact that they hadn't allowed more than two goals in any of their last nine matches.
The Chicago Fire put an end to that in a 4-1 win on Saturday, bouncing back from two straight losses with a dominant defeat of the league's last-place team.
Chicago broke down the D.C. defense with ease as they opened up a 3-0 first-half lead via two assists and a goal from Joel Lindpere, who returned to the lineup after starting on the bench for the Fire's last three games.
Chris Rolfe was the first to strike when Lindpere played him a well-placed early cross, tapping a first-time finish past out-of-position goalkeeper Joe Willis just two minutes after the opening kickoff.
Nine minutes later, Lindpere benefitted from pinpoint service when Jeff Larentowicz charged down the right side of the field, playing the ball around defender Daniel Woolard before turning the corner and playing a cross to Lindpere, who slammed it home.
As time was set to expire in the half, a savvy passing sequence led to Lindpere playing a one-touch chip through to Chris Rolfe, who raced clear and placed his shot into the lower right corner, registering his first multi-goal game of the season.
United's hopes of a second-half rally took a major hit when halftime substitute Quincy Amarikwa quickly made an impact, charging into the D.C. box and earning a penalty kick some 10 minutes after the break. Mike Magee converted the spot kick for his 12th goal of the season, tied with Camilo Sanvezzo for the MLS lead.
D.C.'s chances came few and far between, but Luis Silva offered some consolation when he curled in a gorgeous shot from 25 yards out in the upper corner in the 59th minute of his United league debut.
But Chicago's surge made Silva's debut goal an afterthought as the Fire coasted to an easy win.
The Fire now sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind the fifth-place Dynamo. The Men in Red will try to gain ground on that final playoff spot when they head to Houston next Saturday.
Ben Olsen's retooled United team registered four points in their last four games, their best run of play since early in the season, but they looked lost on Saturday. They'll try to regain some confidence when they host the New England Revolution next weekend.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Rolfe||The Ohioan had his shooting boots on tonight, plus his movement pulled the D.C. defense apart over and over.|
|2||Joel Lindpere||The Estonian has been hungry for PT. His work rate and passing along the left flank showed why he deserves it.|
|3||Luis Silva||Tough league debut for United's newcomer, though the quality of his finish hints at brighter possibilities ahead.|