Fire 3 - Rapids 2: Comeback Kids

Dasan Robinson, Chris Wondolowski

The Fire pulled off a wild one tonight - getting three goals in the last 20 minutes to defeat the Colorado Rapids 3-2.

"This was a test for us, this was a test to see what kind of character we have," said a very happy Jon Busch. "Everybody stepped up. We got behind the eight ball a little bit but we didn't hang our heads. I couldn't be prouder of these guys, it was awesome."
After a first half that is sure to end up in the soccer-bashing hall of fame (just in case you didn't notice - the first 45 was boring, slow, and goalless...) the game completely opened up in the second with Colorado taking the advantage.

Rapids forward Omar Cummings opened up the scoring in the 48th minute when he pounced on the rebound of a Jamie Smith drive and coolly slotted home from 10 yards out.

Cummings doubled the lead - and his goal tally - in the 58th minute when he hit a left footed blast from 20 yards out into the top right corner of the net, leaving Jon Busch with absolutely no chance.

But even after going down two goals, the Fire refused to give up, eventually getting a spark from three key substitutes. The comeback started for the Fire in the 70th minute after Cuauhtemoc Blanco (who received the ball from Patrick Nyarko who - you guessed it - was a substitute) got tackled from behind in the area, earning himself a PK and the ball a ticket to the back of the net.

Another substitute, Mike Banner, equalized for the Fire in the 85th minute when he hit an absolute rocket from 20 yards out to beat keeper Matt Pickens. Banner's goal - his second in three games - sent the Toyota Park crowd into complete mayhem and sparked the Fire to push for a winner, which they finally found in the 93rd minute.

Defender Dasan Robinson - who endured a rough match against L.A. on Wednesday - was the hero for the Fire, as he headed in a Justin Mapp (that's right, a substitute...) cross for what should've been the final nail in Colorado's coffin. But, unfortunately for Dasan, he gave the Rapids a final gasp at an equalizer by tearing off his shirt in celebration - and earning a second yellow card in the process.

"I kind of blacked out a little bit there," said a smiling Robinson. "Obviously it was a game winner -- thank god that I was able to put it into the back of the net - but kind of a bonehead move. But you live and you learn and I'll do my best next time to be a little bit more thoughtful in my actions after I score a goal."

So the Fire, who pulled within one point of the idle Columbus Crew for first place in the East with the win, pulled out a dramatic one. But before I end this post, I thought I'd ask a couple questions of you guys and - as always - share my opinion too...

**1 - Who was your man of the match?**

Watch out - you're getting three players for your money on this one. I'm going with the three subs: Justin Mapp, Patrick Nyarko and Mike Banner. You might see this pick as a wimp-move but I really believe that the three subs were all the difference in the game. They all made key contributions in the build up to the Fire's goals and they really changed the complexion of the match when they came in. I'll give an honorable mention to Temo and Dasan though (even with the red card...)

**2 - Did you have any hope left in the 70th minute, with the Fire trailing 2-0?**

No. As Jon Busch said, "I thought it was done and dusted." But seriously, tonight's win was a great comeback for the Fire. They showed the most resiliency that I have seen out of them all year and to pull out this kind of result with a ton of players missing, really says a lot about the team and its mental toughness.

**3 - What concerned you about the match?**

Yeah, yeah so I might be raining on the parade a little bit here, but for the first 70 minutes of the match the Fire really didn't look very good. They were harmless in the attacking third and - while the second goal was simply great play on Cummings's part - the first goal was very soft. The main thing for me though is the attack. Hopefully the little slump the offense was in ended with the culmination of tonight's game, but I'm not too sure, and hopefully they'll put the effort of the last 20 minutes together for the full 90 next week.

But really, who am I to complain? That was one hell of a match...

I'll have more reaction/news coming your way tomorrow so keep an eye out for that. Enjoy this one though, after all, "it was awesome."


Leave a comment
  • 1. MOTM - Blanco
    2. I had hope, but more for a draw. I definitely didn't have hope for the win.
    3. I really wasn't overly concerned with the fact that they were losing. If I was concerned about anything it was with Hamlett's line up and the just general sloppy play. But because we were playing with an entire 2nd unit on D, a back up midfielder and a 3rd string forward, I pretty much expected the fire to lose or draw at best.

  • Sam, you and I were apparently watching the same game.

    1. The subs completely changed the complexion of the game. Much more energy, much more urgency... but none of them deserved MOTM themself. El Mero Mero was either Blanco (he seemed to be the one that finally stepped up the urgency after the second goal) or Dasan who looked like he had lost 20 pounds from Wednesday. On Wednesday I thought he was overweight and slow, today, he made some great hustling stops in the first hand. I suppose that comes with not marking Landon Donovan... but Dasan gets my vote for El Mero Mero.

    2. Down 2-0, I was hoping we could at least get a goal (see #3).

    3. I was quite concerned after the first goal because the Fire seemed not to notice. They were down at home in the second half, needing two goals for 3 points... and there was no urgency, not a lot of energy, no hunger. I had the horrifying thought that this team had quit on itself. But the second goal was a wake-up call. Blanco clearly made the decision that he wasn't interested in losing tonight, and he started playing like good-Blanco instead of pointless-fancy-pass-Blanco. Also, as I mentioned above, the Subs were a huge factor.

  • 1. MOTM - Blanco. He was the only one playing with any urgency in the first half.
    2. I admit, after their second goal I really didn't think we'd even get a point out of this one, much less three.
    3. Despite the great comeback, the attacking third continues to be a problem.

    P.S. Dasan's goal celebration may come close to one of the favorites I've seen. Off the top of my head, the only one that beats it is Thor against the Galaxy in '07.

  • Nice goal by Dasan, but, come on: we don't need bone-headed, Tim Tebow-style prosthelytizing, "celebration."

    Aside from being reckless in this case, excessive celebration in football is pretty undignified.

    When will see a footballer score and act like its the most natural thing in the world, instead of being a complete goofball?

  • 1. MOTM I think I would give to Nyarko. When he came on all he did was make runs and do the right thing. He got fouled before Rolfe missed that sitter for the winner also.

    2. I'll admit that I didn't even have hope at 2-2. I thought Casey would steal a goal at the death, not us. They way they were playing was high school caliber. Their touch has been atrocious the past couple games and they can't really pass the ball very well.

    3. Even with the win they didn't play well. They should be bringing the game to the opposition at home. We are better than these teams and shouldn't have to go balls out in the last 20 min to try and get a result.

    And it cant be a good thing when C.J. Brown goes down with an injury and Banner goes to warm up. We are really hurting right now and its not a good thing losing Baky to Europe. We should have never sold him seeing as we have all these injuries. The teams would have been there after the season if we needed to get rid of him. Now was not a good time to sell him.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I too noticed Banner warming up for CJ. I can't help but think back to Blanco's comment at the beginning of the season about having "only" eight defenders. Right now I'm grateful we had as many as we did.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    It was a great victory, but still a very very poor game. Looked a lot like the Galaxy game where they just came in and made Toyota Park their home. I'm a bit worried about the fact that we're not a terribly technical club in terms of creating chances, and players knowing how to play with eachother. What they heck are they doing in practice? Why can't we make any adjustments in the middle of the game?

    We always pull through with individual effort and talent, solo instinctive play. Never much with teamwork and ball control. I guess you would have to blame that on the coach.

    Either way, we did not win that game the way we should have. We got lucky Colorado broke down, and atleast to our credit, we finally made good with our chances.

    Now if only we could play like this from the opening whistle.

Leave a comment