Featuring its 12th different starting lineup of the season, the Chicago Fire (3-7-2, 11 Points) fed off momentum from a U.S. Open Cup victory on Wednesday to shutout the D.C. United 2-0 on Sunday at Toyota Park.
With Mike Magee making his home debut in a Fire uniform, the club that couldn’t find any offensive consistency earlier in the season, took advantage of an own goal by the United in the first half.
“I think that both teams were in a situation where we needed points so we came into it prepared really well,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “You know we had a mid-week game the Open Cup match but I think we did a good job just making sure the guys were fresh and ready to go knowing that this would be a very difficult match and it was. I think we got that goal early on, an own goal, and I think that was good but the first half I think we weren’t very good in our possession game, especially with the players we had out there.”
The Fire got on the board early when United defender Chris Korb fouled Joel Lindpere which resulted in a free kick. Lindpere’s shot bounced off United midfielder Nick DeLeon in the ninth minute for an own goal and 1-0 Fire lead.
This would mark the 23rd match in Klopas coaching career in which the Fire would strike first. The Fire were previously 18-0-4 when scoring first in a match with Klopas as head coach.
“I think the key was our initial pass in transition wasn’t great,” Klopas said. “We chased the game a little bit. I felt we had some good looks in the final third, and then obviously in the second half, we created chances again and it was great to get the second goal and get the victory. It was an important victory for us. Now, second week of the Open Cup in a short time and an important match here. So an important game, we are feeling good and now we just got to put this game behind us, enjoy tonight, and then regroup and get ready for the whole week we have in front of us.”
The Fire’s defense played superbly as goalkeeper Sean Johnson recorded another clean sheet and had yet another impressive performance. This was also the club’s second consecutive shutout as they beat the Charlotte Eagles this past Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup match.
With the win, the Fire move closer to redemption this season as they began the campaign horrifically. Magee, who scored in his second consecutive match with the Fire, looked very confident on the pitch in his hometown. Magee added an insurance goal in the 85th minute when Patrick Nyarko found him near the penalty area for the 2-0 lead.
“I think the biggest thing when you’re not scoring is just to create chances, which is what we did tonight,” Magee said. “Obviously it’s good to get two goals, but if we’re a little better we have four. But just creating chances gives you confidence, so the second one put them away.”