It wasn't exactly a work of art but the Fire have to be happy with a 2-0 win over DC United. Chicago lost the possession battle by a wide margin but kept DC from generating dangerous chances and limited the visitors to eight shot attempts, none of which were on frame. Dwayne De Rosario's 38th minute shot from about 25 yards out glanced off the crossbar and over the net but that was as close as DC would get.
Chicago took advantage of a club struggling through a more hapless start to the season than the one they've muddled through but it's a good sign that they were able to beat a team they should beat at home. That hasn't been the case so far this year. The addition of Magee and his ability to finish when presented with the opportunity changes the complexion of the attack even if it is just one match against a (let's face it) bad opponent.
The next game will be more of a test with a strong Portland side coming to Toyota Park next Saturday.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - A clean sheet is a clean sheet but Johnson wasn't tested. DC United registered zero shots on target in eight attempts.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - A few dangerous crosses helped and DC had nothing going from the flanks despite keeping possession for 63% of the match.
D Austin Berry (6) - Steadier with a veteran centerback next to him. The pairing with Anibaba in place of Friedrich wasn't bad but Berry has looked more like the Rookie of the Year version of himself recently.
D Bakary Soumare (6) - Ruiz and De Rosario had very little going. Soumare and Berry were successful in clearing most of the possible danger away.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - A few instances of excellent 1v1 defending but passing and vision need to improve from the right back spot. Everything doesn't need to be a cross into the box.
M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Helped create the DC own goal by getting into a scoring position. Touch on long passes was exceptional and played a strong game in the middle despite DC holding the big possession edge.
M Alex (5) - A few good combinations and passes into the offensive third but not quite enough to make a significant difference.
M Joel Lindpere (5) - Decent service in the first half. His free kick after earning a foul led directly to the Fire score/DC own goal.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Assisted on the Fire's second score and probably should have looked to shoot rather than pass on more than one occasion but his work rate particularly in defensive help was outstanding.
F Chris Rolfe (5) - A few more flashes of coming out of his slump in this game. Still can do much more.
F Mike Magee (6) - After a fairly quiet first half Magee was more involved in the second. After a set up from Rolfe in the 51st his shot was high of the mark and he had a big chance in the 83rd when Joe Willis denied a 1v1 opportunity. Took a feed from Nyarko to score the Fire's second tally and ice the game two minutes later. Check out Magee's post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.
F Maicon Santos (6) - Came into the match in the 67th for Rolfe and was very active. There were a few bad passes mixed in but he set up Magee for the chance in the 83rd and was credited with an assist on the second goal.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Subbed in for Alex in the 74th as Klopas opted for a little more defensively to close the game.
M Dilly Duka (5) - Entered for Magee in the 87th and wasted no time in picking up a yellow card one minute later but he did have a good look in the 89th when his shot sailed just wide of goal.
Nowak in attendance
The fact that Peter Nowak was in attendance to watch his former club isn't so interesting in and of itself, but when you consider the company he watched the match with you have to believe something may be brewing. Nowak took in the game from the Second Star Club flanked by Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon, Vice President of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei, and Rafael Carmona (whose official title is Academy Staff Coach).
Hauptman, who answered a few questions at half-time said that the former Philadelphia and DC coach was attending as a guest and the club was "picking his brain" but there was nothing any more significant than that. He also noted that Nowak still cares about the club, watches all the games, and the "guys upstairs and downstairs" value his opinion.
With the Fire off to a rough start and in need of a win the timing of Nowak's visit and company seems a bit peculiar.