Chicago Fire: Rapid Reaction
How it happened: Fire rookie defender Jalil Anibaba scored his first MLS goal in the 11th minute to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Anibaba headed the ball into the net off of Pavel Pardo's delivery into the box. In the 30th minute, Anibaba came up again on the offensive end with a difficult header toward the far right corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead. Fellow defender Cory Gibbs assisted from the left side. Columbus' Renteria volleyed in a goal in the 72nd minute to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1. Columbus' Dilly Duka tied the score at 2-2 in the 80th minute. But the Fire's Diego Chaves came right back in the 81st with a rebound goal to take a 3-2 lead. Chaves scored his second game-winner in as many games
What it means: With the Fire knowingly out of the playoff picture heading into the match, Chicago ended its 2011 season with a .500 record at 9-9-16 (43 points). The Crew fall to 13-13-8 (47 points), but prepare for the playoffs. Chicago missed the postseason for the second straight year and the third time in 14 seasons.
Outside the box: With Anibaba's two goals and Gibbs' assist, Fire defenders provided six goals and seven assists this season.
Up next: The Fire missed the postseason for a second straight year so the focus now is on the offseason and 2012. Chicago will submit its 11-player protected list to MLS on Nov. 21, as Montreal Impact head coach and his expansion club will select 10 players during the Nov. 23 MLS Expansion Draft.
What it means: The Fire managed to stay in the playoff picture with Saturday's win. The New York Red Bulls kept Chicago in the race earlier in the day when they fell to host Sporting Kansas City, 2-0. Chicago improves to 8-9-16 (40 points) and D.C. United moves to 9-12-11 (38 points).
Outside the box: Chaves netted his first goal since April 23, when the Fire played to a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo. Chaves was leading the Fire at the time in scoring with four goals in Chicago's first six games.
Up next: The Fire wrap up their regular season when they host the Columbus Crew at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.
How it happened: After lurking around the goal for most of the first half, Dallas finally struck in the 41st minute when Jackson tallied a goal for a 1-0 lead. In the 53rd minute, Daniel Cruz's volley pushed the lead to 2-0 after Zach Loyd headed the ball to Cruz from Ricardo Villar's corner kick. Chicago finally got on the scoreboard in the 86th minute when Sebastian Grazzini got around Dallas' Andrew Jacobson and found the upper right corner to cut Dallas' lead to 2-1.
What it means: The Fire's four-game home winning streak came to a close as Chicago fell to 7-9-16 (37 points), while Dallas improved to 14-11-7 (49 points). The Fire are not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. But even if the Fire win their final two matches and reach 46 points, the bottom two wild card teams, New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo, already have 46 points with two games to play.
Outside the box: The Fire will be without three of their starters on Saturday at D.C. United. Midfielder Pavel Pardo was shown a straight red card in the 79th minute, defender Dan Gargan for the second time this season will miss because of yellow card accumulation, and defender Cory Gibbs will also miss the match because of yellow card accumulation. Gargan and Gibbs were shown yellows in the 39th and 82nd minutes, respectively.
Up next: The Fire prepare for their final road game of the season when they face D.C. United at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday at RFK Stadium.
How it happened: The Sounders' Fredy Montero tallied the game-winner in the 77th minute as he scored off of a rebound. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson had the initial save on Jeff Parke's header, but Montero was there to clean up. Then for good measure, Osvaldo Alonso added a goal five minutes into stoppage time, zipping past the Fire's Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause and Patrick Nyarko, past Johnson and placing the ball into the net. Seattle was the clear offensive force all game as Montero hit the left post in first-half stoppage time and the Sounders' Mike Fucito hit the right post in the 53rd. The Fire's closest scoring opportunity came in the 39th minute when Marco Pappa took a deep strike that deflected off of Chicago forward Dominic Oduro, but Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller dove to his left for the save.
What it means: The Sounders won their third straight Open Cup title after winning in 2009 over D.C. United and the Columbus Crew in 2010. The Fire moved to 4-2 in Open Cup finals. Chicago lost the 2004 final to the Kansas City Wizards, while winning the 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Open Cups.
Outside the box: As expected, the Seattle faithful and some folks traveling from Chicago packed in a U.S. Open Cup record crowd of 35,615 at CenturyLink Field.
Up next: The Fire resume MLS play when they host FC Dallas for the second leg of the Brimstone Cup at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, at Toyota Park.
Here is a quick look at the Chicago Fire's 1-1 draw on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium:
How it happened: Houston's Colin Clark netted a goal in the 33rd minute shortly after a corner kick to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead. In the 43rd minute, Fire forward Dominic Oduro scored against his former Dynamo team to equalize the match at 1-1. Baggio Husidic had the setup on Oduro's tally, which is his 12th of the season. Oduro left the match in the 51st minute with an apparent leg injury, replaced by Patrick Nyarko. The Fire said that the sub was a precautionary measure with Tuesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup coming up on Tuesday. Former Fire forward Calen Carr, who was sent to Houston early in the year for Oduro, was a second-half sub for the Dynamo's Carlo Costly.
What it means: The Fire managed a point on the road with their league-leading 16th draw. Chicago is now 7-8-16 (37 points) and Houston moves to 10-9-13 (43 points). Chicago needed a win to truly press the New York Red Bulls, who entered Saturday night's game against Toronto FC with 39 points and the final wild card spot.
Outside the box: The Fire's early deficit was their first since falling to the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, on Sept. 10. Chicago posted its first draw since tying D.C. United, 1-1, on Aug. 18. The Fire had won three straight and five of its previous six matches before Saturday's stalemate.
Up next: The Fire get ready for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title match against Seattle Sounders FC at 9 p.m. CT Tuesday at CenturyLink Field. Chicago has earned four Open Cup crowns (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006), while Seattle is in search of a three-peat after winning in 2009 over D.C. United and in 2010 over the Columbus Crew.
How it happened: Marco Pappa netted three goals, including a ninth-minute strike with his right foot past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando for a 1-0 Chicago lead. Shortly after in the 11th minute, Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman head-butted the Fire's Daniel Paladini at midfield and received a straight red card. Playing up a man, Chicago maintained the offensive pressure. In the 36th minute, Pappa garnered his second tally for a 2-0 lead as he was perfectly set up by Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo. In the 75th, Pappa drove a shot inside the far left post for the hat trick.
What it means: With their fifth win in six games, the Fire have narrowed the gap toward a possible playoff spot with four regular-season matches remaining. Chicago improved to 7-8-15 (36 points) and is within striking distance of the New York Red Bulls, who currently hold the final wild card spot with 39 points. Salt Lake falls to 15-9-6 (51 points).
Outside the box: Pappa had not scored a goal since June 26 against the New York Red Bulls. Wednesday marked Pappa's first multi-goal game of the season, and he now has eight goals on the campaign.
Up next: The Fire stay on the road to take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at Robertson Stadium.
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Here is a quick look at the Chicago Fire's 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution on Sunday at Toyota Park:
How it happened: Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini netted a penalty kick goal in the fifth minute for a 1-0 Chicago lead. The opportunity stemmed from Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis tripping up Fire forward Patrick Nyarko in the fourth minute. Grazzini then assisted a Dominic Oduro goal in the ninth minute for a 2-0 lead as Oduro notched his team-leading 11th tally of the season. In the 30th minute, Nyarko netted an easy goal for a 3-0 advantage as Reis made a casual attempt to clear the ball with his foot. The Revs made things interesting as Ryan Guy netted a 90th-minute goal and a stoppage-time goal to cut it to 3-2. But New England ran out of time and came up just short. Grazzini's day was cut short as he left the match in the 25th minute because of left hamstring tightness.
What it means: With the victory, the Fire improve to 6-8-15 (33 points) and the Revs fall to 5-13-12 (27 points). The Fire move to within six points of the New York Red Bulls, who currently hold the final wild card spot with 39 points following their 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers. Though New England is not mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, the Revs' hopes for the postseason were basically erased as they sit in last place in the Eastern Conference.
Outside the box: The last time the Fire had a 3-0 halftime lead at home was on April 3, 2008, when Chicago topped the Revs, 4-0.
Up next: The Fire prepare for two road games in a four-day stretch. Chicago faces Real Salt Lake on Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium, followed by a 3 p.m. match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at Robertson Stadium.
How it happened: Fire scoring leader Dominic Oduro came through with a shorthanded, go-ahead goal for a 3-2 lead in the 85th minute that held up. Fire defender Cory Gibbs provided a dream start for Chicago, heading home Sebastian Grazzini's corner kick in the second minute for a 1-0 lead. In the 26th minute, Chivas' Juan Pablo Angel was responsible for an own goal to give the Fire a 2-0 cushion. Gibbs' day was cut short in the 37th minute when he was issued a red card for fouling Chivas' Michael Lahoud. The Goats made full use of their one-man advantage. Chivas' Angel and Nick LaBrocca netted goals in the 61st and 63rd minutes, respectively, to level the score at 2-2.
What it means: The Fire improved to 5-8-15 (30 points) and Chivas fell to 7-12-10 (31 points). Chicago has won three of its last four league games, with all three victories coming at Toyota Park.
Outside the box: For the first time this season, the Fire surrendered a two-goal advantage, but Oduro helped Chicago overcome that setback. ... Chivas erased its three-game goal-less streak. The Goats entered the match having been shut out against the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake and D.C. United by a combined 5-0 margin.
Up next: The Fire host the New England Revolution at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at Toyota Park.
How it happened: Chivas' Jorge Mora scored on a free kick in the 61st minute to give Guadalajara a 1-0 lead. His shot from about 25 yards out found the right side of the frame past Fire second-half goalkeeper Jon Conway. The Fire and Guadalajara touted the bulk of their starters for the first 45 minutes, and during that span Chicago held a 4-1 shots on goal advantage and the brunt of the possession.
What it means: The Fire fell to 5-2-0 this year in non-MLS matches. Their other defeat was a 3-1 loss to Manchester United. The five victories are Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in and tournament matches.
Outside the box: The Fire defense went with perhaps their projected Saturday defense against Chivas USA. With right back Dan Gargan set to serve his suspension (yellow card accumulation), Jalil Anibaba was moved to right back and Josip Mikulic got the start at center back alongside Cory Gibbs. ... The Fire made nine of their 10 subs entering the second half. In the 76th minute, forward Kellen Gulley made his first-team debut for the Fire, replacing Diego Chaves. Gulley will not see the pitch in league play until the 2012 season.
Up next: The Fire return to league action when they host Chivas USA at 3 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.
How it happened: San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski gave the Quakes a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, getting behind Fire left back Dan Gargan for his 10th goal of the season. Ramiro Corrales then pushed the San Jose lead to 2-0 with a 70th-minute goal from up close. Earlier in the 53rd minute, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made a huge penalty kick save against Wondolowski, diving to his right to maintain a one-goal deficit. Former Fire and current Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch came up with two big saves in first-half stoppage time to maintain a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
What it means: The Earthquakes improved to 6-10-11 and 29 points, moving ahead of the Fire in the playoff bid for a wild card spot. San Jose ended a 13-game winless streak. Chicago falls to 4-8-15 and 27 points. The Fire's four-game unbeaten run of 2-0-2 comes to a close.
Outside the box: Heading into Saturday, the Fire's defensive focus was on how Chicago interim head coach Frank Klopas would approach the back line with left back Gonzalo Segares out because of yellow card accumulation. Klopas shifted typical right back Gargan to the left, moved captain Logan Pause from the midfield to right back, and inserted Baggio Husidic into the midfield. Gargan lost track of Wondolowski on the Quakes' 10th-minute goal, and he picked up a yellow card for dissent in the 56th. Gargan will now miss next Saturday's Chivas USA match. However, Gargan lost track of Wondolowski as the Quakes gained the early goal. The Fire's defensive maneuvering continues next week.
Up next: The Fire host Chivas de Guadalajara at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Toyota Park for an international friendly. Chicago then returns to league play against Chivas USA at 3 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.
How it happened: Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini tallied a penalty kick goal in the 32nd minute to take a 1-0 lead. The PK resulted from Fire forward Patrick Nyarko being tripped up in the box by the Kickers' David Hertel. Fire forward Dominic Oduro pushed the lead to 2-0 with a strong cut to the right, losing his defender and then finding the right side of the frame. The Kickers responded in the 68th minute with a header goal from William Yomby that hit the crossbar and deflected down across the goal line to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1.
What it means: The Fire advanced to their sixth Open Cup championship appearance and will take on Seattle Sounders FC. The Sounders topped FC Dallas, 1-0, in Tuesday's other semifinal and will host Chicago on Oct. 4 for the title game. Seattle won the 2009 and 2010 Open Cups over D.C. United and the Columbus Crew, respectively.
Outside the box: Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo, who left Saturday's game against the Colorado Rapids because of a calf strain, did not suit up for Chicago on Tuesday. ... Richmond's David Bulow, who entered Tuesday scoring a tournament-leading six goals in Open Cup action, was ineligible for the match because of yellow card accumulation.
Up next: The Fire resume MLS action when they face the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 10 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Chicago will be looking for its third straight win in league play.
How it happened: Fire scoring leader Dominic Oduro netted his ninth goal, scoring in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead. Pavel Pardo played the ball up and Oduro darted past Colorado defender Tyrone Marshall. Fire defender Cory Gibbs pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 36th minute with a header past Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Pardo had the initial delivery to Sebastian Grazzini, who then crossed the ball in from the left to Gibbs. Pardo left the match at halftime with a strained right calf, but his replacement, Daniel Paladini, came up with a big block against Colorado's Sanna Nyassi in the 84th minute to maintain the shutout.
What it means: The Fire garnered back-to-back victories for the first time since April of 2010. Chicago had wins over D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo on April 17 and 24, respectively, that year. Chicago improved to 4-7-15 (27 points) and Colorado fell to 10-7-11 (41 points).
Outside the box: The Fire posted two first-half goals for the first time since their home-opening 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City on March 26. Chicago's offense also has tallied two goals in four of its past five matches after going through a 10-game stretch scoring one goal or less.
Up next: The Fire host the USL Pro's Richmond Kickers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal match at Toyota Park.
How it happened: Fire forward Dominic Oduro tallied his team-leading eighth goal in the 16th minute off of a Gonzalo Segares assist from the left side to gain an early 1-0 lead. The Fire took a 2-0 lead in the 69th minute when Dan Gargan headed home a goal against his former Toronto squad. Pavel Pardo took the corner kick from the left side, the ball bounced in the box, and Gargan was there to head the ball into the net.
What it means: The Fire earned their first victory since a 1-0 road win against the Columbus Crew on June 12. Chicago also notched its first home win under interim head coach Frank Klopas. The Fire's only other win at Toyota Park came during their home opener on March 26 against Sporting Kansas City. The Fire improved to 3-7-15 (24 points) and moved out of last place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto now shares last place with the New England Revolution with a 4-12-11 record and 23 points.
Outside the box: Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini nearly played in his first full match in a Fire uniform, coming out in the 89th minute for Cristian Nazarit. Grazzini had averaged 65 minutes per game heading into Sunday's match. Grazzini did not exactly have his best game, with the only significant play being a good setup for Patrick Nyarko in the 63rd minute. But Toronto blocked Nyarko's attempt in the box.
Up next: The Fire host the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park, then return to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play on Aug. 30 when they host the USL Pro's Richmond Kickers. The opening kick for that Open Cup semifinal match is at 7:30 p.m.
How it happened: Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini netted an unassisted goal in the 59th minute to give the Fire a 1-0 lead. The Fire's Patrick Nyarko crossed the ball into the middle of the box and D.C.'s defense got a touch on the ball but could not completely clear. Grazzini was there to converge on the goal, and second-half D.C. goalkeeper Steve Cronin could not react in time to his right to stop Grazzini's attempt. But in customary Fire fashion, Chicago surrendered its lead when Josh Wolff netted an equalizer in the 73rd minute as the Fire defense tried to push up to get Wolff offside. Replays showed that Wolff was a hair offside on the sequence. It was D.C.'s only shot on goal.
What it means: The Fire established an MLS record with their 15th draw of the season, moving to 2-7-15 (21 points). The record surpasses last season's previous record of 14 draws by FC Dallas. Chicago continues to sit in last place in the Eastern Conference. D.C. moves to 7-6-10 with 31 points as United continues to fight for a playoff spot.
Outside the box: The Fire defense completely shut down D.C.'s offense in the first half. United did not record a single shot attempt until the 57th minute -- a Dwayne De Rosario strike that sailed high and wide of the frame. Chicago had a 7-0 shots advantage over D.C. in the first half. Not a bad effort against a team that had scored nine goals in its previous three matches.
Up next: The Fire have a quick turnaround when they host Toronto FC at 6 p.m. Sunday at Toyota Park. This is the second match of a three-game MLS homestand. Chicago has a fourth straight home match on Aug. 30 when it hosts the USL Pro's Richmond Kickers on Aug. 30 in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
How it happened: Red Bulls star Thierry Henry gave New York the 1-0 lead in the ninth minute with a curling ball around Fire defender Jalil Anibaba and inside the right post past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. But Fire scoring leader Dominic Oduro netted his seventh goal of the season in the 16th minute to tie the score at 1-1. Chicago's Sebastian Grazzini netted his first goal for the Fire in the 24th minute off of a rebound to garner a 2-1 lead. Shortly after the Red Bulls were pleading for a Dan Gargan hand ball in the box, the Red Bulls' Joel Lindpere found the net in the 63rd minute to equalize at 2-2. Still fuming about the non-call, Lindpere received a yellow card for dissent.
What it means: The Fire tied an MLS record with their 14th draw of the season, moving to 2-7-14 (20 points). Chicago tied the draws mark set by FC Dallas last year. The Fire continue to stay alone in last place in the Eastern Conference as Toronto FC moved up in the standings with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. The New England Revolution is now in eighth place in the East ahead of Chicago after a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew. New York moves to 6-6-13 (31 points).
Outside the box: The Fire abandoned their lone-forward formation in previous matches by pairing Oduro with fellow Ghanaian Patrick Nyarko. Nyarko was effective, especially in the first half as he set up Oduro's goal and had several other strong connections. Nyarko came off the pitch in the 56th minute and replaced by Orr Barouch. With the one-goal lead, the Fire reverted back to one forward in Barouch and dropped Oduro back to right midfield. However, Chicago lost the lead less than 10 minutes later.
Up next: The Fire play their next three league matches at home, beginning with D.C. United at 8 p.m. Thursday at Toyota Park (ESPN2). Chicago has four matches in a 13-day stretch, capped off by a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal match against the USL Pro's Richmond Kickers on Aug. 30 at Toyota Park.