Chicago Fire Defeat Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Under Friday Night Lights

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Friday, Aug. 23, 2013) – The Chicago Fire (10-10-4, 34 points) defeated Sporting Kansas City (11-9-6, 39 points) 1-0 at Toyota Park Friday evening. Defender Hunter Jumper scored his first career MLS goal with a diving header in the 13th minute as the Men in Red earned the full three points under Friday night lights.

Mike Matkovich, Chicago Fire Assistant Coach
On the atmosphere
“How about those guys tonight? How about the Fire? They played good, good for them. I’m so happy for the guys. They came out here tonight in a playoff atmosphere.”
Patrick Nyarko returned after missing two matches with injury but took a few hard hits. What does the team have to do to protect one of its best players?
“The most important thing is we went through the protocol. The league does a very good job, I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s point 1, 2, 3, 4 all these steps they have to take, so the training staff felt he could give us 30 minutes. We knew that going in, and that was the game plan going in there. It’s a game of contact sometimes guys get hit. He will just get better as we go. He took a tough hit at the DC game.”
On Hunter Jumper scoring his first career MLS goal
“I am just so happy for Hunter, this is his chance. We talked before the game about giving guys opportunities. He played like a veteran tonight. He was focused and we kept things simple for him. What can you say? He has got to be the man of the match in my eyes.”
On the shutout
“We kept things tight, obviously they hit a crossbar and we had a brick. You know how it is in this game, you take your chances. For the most part we were pretty strong defensively. We kept things simple early in the game and played in their half. There were times where I thought we could’ve played a bit more. It’s hard to find those moments to play. Overall defensively I thought the guys rolled their sleeves up tonight. At halftime we said you know it’s 45 minutes and you have another 45 minutes of the fight.”
On overcoming this week’s distractions
“Those things happen in this sport. Professionally the guys are focused and that stuff happens off the field. More importantly we are a group and we are focused on the field. We knew what was at stake. Every point is valuable, so we can’t let that stuff distract us right now that we are in the middle of a playoff race. Most important thing is what happens on the field.”
On the play of Arevalo Rios
“I think he is just going to get better. It is going to take some time for them to figure him out. The guy has played in two World Cups obviously he gives you everything he has. He has leadership, I know he doesn’t speak English but he leads by example and he is such a great guy to have. He is a true professional and comes in here every day and works hard. It’s just a pleasure to have him on the team.”
On Anangono being an impact player
“Any time a guy comes to a new country and a new environment it’s going to take some time. He had a great shot, but we just have to give him time. The nice thing about the guy is that he didn’t start and came in played his role and helped us win and that’s the most important thing. Sometimes guys come in and are not team guys, but this guy is clearly a team guy. I think he’s going to get better as we go along. There are so many players throughout the world that have changes. Sometimes it takes up to six months. We will be patient, we like what we saw tonight, his goal is coming.
Mike Magee, Chicago Fire forward
On Hunter Jumper tallying a  goal and assist in only two appearances:
“I didn’t see the first game he played in, but you can throw away the goal and defensively tonight he was amazing.  To shutout a team like K.C. is as difficult as it gets and he was fabulous.”
On the team playing with a chip on their shoulder:
“We’re trying to make the playoffs; we have a big chip on our shoulder right now.  I think that playing at home we need points.  Last week we had a terrible result and this week we are trying to make up for it.”
Hunter Jumper, Chicago Fire defender
On his goal:
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but it feels pretty good just because we got the three points.  Going into it we knew it was a really big game.  We looked at it and we were eight points back behind first place and had two games in hand, so three points is huge.”
On the shutout and defensive performance:
“It was easy out there tonight because communication between the back four and Rios and Larentowicz was unbelievable.  Guys were talking, and when everyone is talking and helping each other out it was easy for me to step in.  Obviously we were going for it and wanted to be better on the ball, but defensively I thought we were sound and weathered the storm.  I thought they had a couple of good chances, but I think we had a couple of good chances as well, especially when Juan [Anangono] came in.  The guy can head the ball, he’s a special player.”
On his position change from left back to center back:
“I’ve been playing there in practice lately and it’s not the biggest transition, like it would be playing forward to defender.  I definitely appreciate the position a lot more because you don’t realize how much communication you have to have out there.  Last year I thought our defense was incredible – when you have guys like Arne [Friedrich], Austin [Berry] and Baky [Soumare] back there they are natural leaders.  For someone like me, you just have to be open, grow and learn the position.  I just pushed myself and hopefully it won’t be too much of a transition.”
Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper
On the shutout:
“It shows a lot about our team’s character and will.  I think we’ve been okay defensively for the past 11 games or so, but to get a shutout shows and reflects all the hard work we’ve been putting in week in and week out.  I think we deserved it tonight – we fought, we battled and we made plays when we had to and came away with a result.”
-       With the win, the Fire move to 24-12-10 all-time in MLS regular season matches against Sporting Kansas City
-       Defender Hunter Jumper’s goal in the 13th minute was his first career MLS goal.
-       Fire head coach Frank Klopas and assistant coach Leo Percovich missed the match while serving one-game suspensions after being ejected from the Fire’s Aug. 17 match against the New England Revolution
-       Fire center back Bakary Soumare also missed the match as he was serving a one-game suspension for a red card that he received on Aug. 17
-       The Men in Red are 23-0-5 when scoring first since Frank Klopas took over as interim head coach of the Fire on May 30, 2011
-       Costa Rican defender Gonzalo Segares made his 200th career MLS Regular Season appearance tonight, moving into a tie with Jesse Marsch in fifth place on the club’s all-time leaders list
-       Patrick Nyarko entered the match in the 65th minute after missing two matches while experiencing concussion symptoms. Nyarko now has 150 career MLS Regular Season appearances. Nyarko now trails Jim Curtin by one appearance for 11th on the leader board.
-       Sean Johnson made four saves as the Men in Red tallied their fourth shutout of the season. This was Johnson’s 19th career MLS Regular Season shutout.
Chicago Fire 1 - 0 Sporting Kansas City
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Hunter Jumper, Gonzalo Segares; Alex (Patrick Nyarko 65’), Arevalo Rios, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Dilly Duka (Joel Lindpere 85’); Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe (Juan Luis Anangono 69’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Quincy Amarikwa
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen ©; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Oriol Rosell (Lawrence Olum 82’), Peterson Joseph, Benny Feilhaber (Soony Saad 57’), Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong; Teal Bunbury (Dom Dwyer 67’)
Substitutes not used: Eric Kronberg, Ike Opara, Mechack Jerome, Claudio Bieler
Scoring Summary
CHI – Hunter Jumper (Mike Magee, Jalil Anibaba) 13’
Misconduct Summary
CHI – Alex (caution) 20’
CHI – Hunter Jumper (caution) 35’
SKC – Peterson Joseph (caution) 62’
SKC – Matt Besler (caution) 88’
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistants: Adam Wienckwoski, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi
Attendance: 17,085