The Chicago Fire lost their third match in a row Saturday night, falling to D.C. United by a score of 2-1. Along with losing the match, the Fire gave up possession of first place in the
Eastern Conference, slipping a point behind new leaders D.C.
For the second straight game the Fire played well in a losing effort but (also for the second straight game), the Fire's finishing left something to be desired. Veteran Brian McBride was the goat this week for the Fire, as he had a 49th minute penalty kick stopped by D.C. goalie Josh Wicks.
D.C. started off the scoring when forward Jaime Moreno converted a penalty kick in the 22nd minute of play. D.C. rookie Chris Pontius earned the PK when he slipped behind the Fire defense and collided with Jon Busch right as his shot went just wide. I thought that the Fire really got burned (no pun intended) by the call and I'm not sure if anyone on the field felt like Pontius deserved a PK.
The Fire responded quickly to United's goal though, and Marco Pappa was able to pull Chicago level in the 33rd. Pappa's goal was a thing of beauty, as he smartly curled a left footed shot inside the far post, leaving Wicks with no hope of keeping the ball out.
But D.C. was determined to go into the half with the lead and their efforts paid off when veteran midfielder Christian Gomez smashed his 41st minute free kick in from 20 yards. Gomez bent his shot very well around the Fire wall and just curved it into the upper 90 of the net, leaving Jon Busch with absolutely no chance at saving the effort.
The Fire put on a lot of pressure in the second half and they had many good chances (including McBride's missed penalty). However the "Men in Red" were unable to get anything by Wicks, who played a solid game.
The Fire will now have a little break from MLS action as they head into the SuperLiga tournament next week.
I'll be posting player ratings tomorrow, and I should have a little more analysis in there as well, so be on the lookout for that.