The Fire needed a win and they delivered again with the clock winding down on the 2013 regular season. The victory pushes them into 4th place in the Eastern Conference but doesn’t secure a playoff spot. By virtue of New England’s win over Columbus, the Fire have yet to clinch a post season berth.
Chicago controlled much of the match and were clearly the better side but Toronto hung tough throughout. The difference in the game turned out to be a generous penalty awarded by Edwin Jurisevic in the 63rd minute as Mike Magee’s free kick attempt struck the arm of Toronto’s Johnathan Osorio in the penalty area. The Fire may have gotten the benefit of the doubt on the call.
The final weekend of the season promises to provide more nail biting moments with the Fire, New England, Philadelphia, Houston, and Montreal all vying for playoff positions. The Fire’s opponent, the New York Red Bulls are also still battling for the Supporter’s Shield.
Buckle your seat belts.
GK Sean Johnson (6) – Only two saves but a 71st minute diving stop on Rey after a corner kick was cleared out at the top of the box was a good one. Control and poise continues to improve with each passing month.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) – An adventure or two early but solid late in the match. A big tackle in the 55th to deny Dike an opportunity with the Fire scrambling to cover a TFC counter.
D Austin Berry (6) – Good defense against Toronto attackers Dike and Earnshaw. Strong in the air. His deflection from a Magee cross in the 50th was nearly pushed into the net by TFC but the ball hit the post.
D Bakary Soumare (6) – The center back duo seems to be coming together late in the season after some shaky moments. Soumare played big most of the night. There were some the usual long balls to nowhere but two passes in particular were beauties. A great ball to Nyarko in the 32 set up a chance and another over the top to Anangono in the 36th set up a free kick chance.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) – Very good on both ends particularly in the first half. Some slick ball skills in the the 11th earned an early corner kick.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) – Owned Morgan on the right side most of the night, unfortunately nothing came out of it on the scoreboard. Uncharacteristically heavy touch on a pass or two out continues to work on both ends. Catch his post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.
M Jeff Larentowicz (6) – Picked up a very soft yellow card and will miss the New York game but he played another quality game in the middle. The Fire’s possession advantage in the first half (59-41) and passing (78%) dropped off in the second.
M Egidio Arevalo Rios (6) – Started the game and went 60 minutes after playing in a tough World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night. Completed 28 of 31 passes and kept the ball moving positively while he was in there.
M Dilly Duka (6) – A 7th minute pass to Anangono resulted in the first big chance of the game but Frei was equal to the task. Beat two defenders but couldn’t get by the third just before the half.
F Mike Magee (6) – Tied Di Vaio for the golden boot with his 20th goal of the season and didn’t stutter step this time on his way to a Panenka to beat Frei for the only score of the game. Very active again. Continues to justify why he should be the league MVP. He talks about the game and the MVP award at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.
F Juan Luis Anangono (6) – Didn’t score but he was dangerous again. His blast in the 81st after a great pass from Magee, hit the underside of the crossbar and came straight down on the line. He hit the post again a few minutes later from a difficult angle.
M Alex (5) – Entered the match in the 60th minute for Rios. Decision making was suspect in a few instances. Most notably after a good run, he held onto the ball much too long and missed a wide open Magee to his left in the 84th squandering a good chance.
M Chris Rolfe (5) – Subbed in for Duka in the 76th and managed one long distance shot attempt, which was blocked in one of his few touches.
M Logan Pause (5) – Came in to the match for Nyarko in the 88th as the Fire looked to kill the remaining time.