BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Two first-half penalties from Mike Magee ensured the Chicago Fire scored their second win in as many games games with a 2-1 victory over a depleted and luckless Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park on Sunday.
The Fire were unchanged from the team that ran out 5-4 winners over the New York Red Bulls last time out; Sporting, on the other hand, were forced to make five changes from their midweek defeat to Philadelphia due to injuries and international call-ups, and trotted out a 3-5-2 formation with only one true center back, 17-year-old MLS deubtant Erik Palmer-Brown.
And the hosts took advantage of KC's unfamliar backline and got off to a perfect start when Quincy Amarikwa was taken down as he rounded goalkeeper Eric Kronberg following a precise through ball from man-of-the-moment Harry Shipp.
After recent misses by Magee and Juan Luis Anangono from the spot, it was thought captain Jeff Larentowicz would be the man to assume responsibility for the kick, having converted the Fire’s only penalty this season at Portland.
However, Magee stepped up and the 2013 MVP kept his nerve superbly to roll the ball into the bottom left corner, with Kronberg diving the other way in the seventh minute.
The Men in Red then doubled their lead in short order, when Palmer-Brown shoved Benji Joya in the back just inside the area. Magee got his second chance from 12 yards and slotted home to the same side to double his team's advantage.
Palmer-Brown's rough debut didn't end there, either. Just a minute after the Fire wanted a third penalty for his clip on Dilly Duka, his luck ran out when he was shown a second yellow card in the 64th minute for a late, sliding challenge on Amarikwa at midfield.
Sporting's offense did show some signs of life, however, most notably when Dom Dwyer hit the post in the first half after being played in by an inch-perfect driven pass from Igor Juliao.
Dwyer then managed to bag his fourth goal in three games when he found himself unmarked at the far post to power in Benny Feilhaber's free kick from the right wing, but that would be all the joy the visitors would find on the day.
The goal brought Dwyer's total to eight on the season, tying him for second on the MLS scoring charts with Seattle's Clint Dempsey and Chivas USA's Erick 'Cubo' Torres,.
Next up for Kansas is the visit of Toronto FC to Sporting Park next Friday, while the Fire face a trip to the Columbus Crew a day later.