The Fire rode a dominant first half effort, another fine performance in goal by Paolo Tornaghi, and yet another goal by Dominic Oduro to a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union to start the home portion of the 2012 season on the right foot. Chicago had the better of the opportunities throughout the match although the second half was a bit sluggish at times.
This should serve as a confidence boost for a team looking to establish a home field advantage that hasn't been evident for several seasons. Capturing all three points sent 18,095 home happy and although the season is still young, this was a good first step.
GK Paolo Tornaghi (7) - Another big time performance for the Italian keeper. Wasn't really challenged in the first half but came up large in the second half. Stopped a free kick in the 82nd and came up with a huge save on Gomez' free kick in the in the 84th to preserve the victory. Distribution was also better.
D Dan Gargan (6) - Solid two way game for Gargan. Helped in the attack while the Fire were at their best in the first half and blocked a good look by Pajoy to start the second half.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) - No lapses in this match helped keep a clean sheet. Stepped up nicely when he had to all night and stayed back when required. Solid night in the middle for both center backs.
D Cory Gibbs (7) - Came up big all night and especially in the last ten minutes as Philadelphia pushed for a tie. Whistled for a bit of a phantom yellow in the 81st but was the man on the spot time and again as the clock ticked away.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Fair night for Segares although his passing seemed to be slightly off of his usual standard.
M Pavel Pardo (6) - Fairly good service on corner kicks in the first half. The Fire won the midfield battle for the majority of the first half although the Union were playing with five men in midfield. Subbed out in the 70th minute as Klopas opted to defend more.
M Sebastian Grazzini (6) - Found much more room to operate this week while the team was clicking on all cylinders in the first half. The second half was so-so as the pace slowed and the Fire seemed to lose some steam in the middle.
M Marco Pappa (6) - A very good first half after a downer in Montreal. Fought off two defenders nicely to deliver a pin point cross to Oduro for the game winner in the 28th minute. The offense flowed in the first 45 when Pappa maintained his spot outside but became a bit stagnant in the last 45 as Pappa tended to float towards the middle of the field more.
M Logan Pause (6) - Pause fits in nicely when Pappa is playing well and the forwards are threatening back lines with quick counter attacks. Played a dangerous ball into Grazzini in the 13th and cleared a counter as the last man back in the 61st.
F Patrick Nyarko (6) - Dangerous as usual in combination with Oduro. Set up chances in the 40th, 64th, and 89th minutes.
F Dominic Oduro (7) - Scored yet again...and this time with his head and not his feet. Could have scored another two goals but for a clearance by Albright in the 40th and a big save by MacMath in the 89th. He's showing no signs of slowing down from where he left off in 2011.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Came on in the 70th for Pardo. Whistled for a hand ball just outside of the box in the 83rd minute which set up Gomez' free kick attempt.
M Rafael Robayo (5) - Subbed in for Grazzini in the 85th pushing Pappa into the center mid spot.
M Federico Puppo (5) - Entered for Pappa in the 89th and nearly got to an open net chance created by Oduro.
C Frank Klopas (6) - Three big points at home were a must and the Fire came out looking prepared for the Union's questionable three man back line tactic. The team was a bit sluggish in the second half but the home team was the better side tonight.