On Fire: Sweet win almost spoiled by sour finish

Dominic Oduro

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire moved three points closer to the 10th and final playoff spot on Sunday, beating the New England Revolution 3-2 to inch within six points of New York for the final wild card berth with five games left on the schedule.

Here are three other storylines from Sunday’s game:

Flimsy finish

Things got a little interesting at the end of Sunday’s match, with the Fire losing their healthy 3-0 lead by giving up goals in the 90th minute and in second-half stoppage time to New England midfielder Ryan Guy.

Guy’s first goal was a bit controversial – the Fire thought Revs forward Milton Caraglio fouled Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson prior to Guy’s strike – but the second was purely poor defending, as the Fire left Guy completely unmarked in the right side of the box, allowing him to easily slot home Caraglio’s pass.

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The late goals ruined what would’ve been a sparkling result for the Fire, leaving the team in a bit of a disappointed mood after the match.

“I think a good lesson for us to learn in a game like this is that a game is never over until it’s over,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said. “We’ll look at the tape and we’ll talk about this because we’ve got to have a better finish to the game.”

Nyarko nets his first

Forward Patrick Nyarko scored his first goal of the season Sunday, stealing forward Dominic Oduro’s through ball off of Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis’ foot at the top of the box and dribbling in to make it 3-0 in the 30th minute.

Nyarko, who has seven assists this year, also set up the Fire’s first goal, drawing the penalty kick that midfielder Sebastián Grazzini converted in the fifth minute.

“It feels great to score, and better to help the team win the game,” Nyarko said.

Klopas was also happy for Nyarko, saying he wants the Ghanaian forward – who played for most of this year as a winger – to be a bit more opportunistic in front of goal.

“I was very happy for Patrick because I told him many times that he needs to be a little more selfish, especially now that he’s playing up top and getting more opportunities,” Klopas said. “He’s always looking to make that pass, but sometimes he needs to be selfish and finish plays by himself. I was very happy for him because when he gets assists, and today a goal, it helps his confidence. He’s a guy who, with or without the ball, helps the team.”

Pause performs well

Fire midfielder Logan Pause had one of his better games of the season Sunday, defending well and getting into the attack very nicely from his right midfield spot.

Pause, who recently moved to the right to make room for midseason signing Pável Pardo at holding mid, helped set up Chicago’s first goal, playing a solid through ball to Nyarko before he was taken down in the box.

“I think that’s part of the role and part of the new position, trying to get more involved,” Pause told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “That’s a part of my game that I’m obviously not used but definitely challenging myself to continue to help the team and, in this position, that means helping the team a little bit more offensively. I thought I had a pretty solid game.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com.  Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com