Fire take steps back in Eastern race

What goes up must come down. After a string of six consecutive league matches without a loss, the Chicago Fire are now winless during their last four.

The Kansas City Wizards overcame long odds to deal the Fire their fourth winless game in a row (and second consecutive loss at home), a dramatic 3-2 thriller Wednesday at Soldier Field.

In addition to having never won in Chicago -- Kansas City had just a solitary draw to show for 10 previous visits to the Windy City before Wednesday's tilt -- the Wizards fell behind 2-0 inside of six minutes.

But slack marking, hesitant clearances, and a halftime red card to Fire 'keeper Zach Thornton gifted Kansas City the unlikely victory.

"If you don't win a game when you are up 2-0 that is disappointing," said Fire boss Dave Sarachan.

"Two dissent calls is inexcusable," said Sarachan, visibly disappointed at his veteran 'keeper.

The Fire 'keeper was shown a yellow card in the 42nd minute and shown a red card three minutes later for continuing to argue with referee Brian Hall as the players strolled into the halftime tunnel.

"I should know better then to argue with the referee on a call, he always has the last word," said a dejected Thornton, who watched the second half alone from an empty Soldier Field skybox.

But the Fire's unraveling was not due to Thornton's dismissal, as Chicago had already conceded their groove and a two-goal advantage before Thornton was sent off.

"It's little things, we're getting beat on little details. For example, their [game-tying] corner kick; it bounced twice in the box. It shouldn't even bounce once," said Chris Rolfe, who set up the Fire's second goal.

"It's the little plays that make a difference down the stretch. If we don't fix those things soon we will be in real trouble," said Sarachan, referring to two seemingly irreversible Fire trademarks this season - conceding leads and slack defending on set pieces.

Frustrating results bring out frustrating remarks and Brown looked no further than himself after the match.

"I screwed up on the first goal. It seems like I've made errors that have cost us a first goal a lot lately. Maybe coach will figure something out and sit me down or I need to get my act together quick," said Chris Brown, who will have to sit out Saturday night's match against the Los Angeles Galaxy anyway due to yellow card point accumulation.

Brown's post-match brooding was a sharp contrast to his emotions 84 minutes earlier.

"The first six minutes were awesome. We looked like a really good team. I saw how we played and thought, 'This team is really coming together.' I saw a glimpse of what this team can be and it was awesome." said Brown.

"But then reality strikes and we're back fighting to win the game. How we match our start to the match and do that for 90 minutes, I have no clue."

Ivaldo Basso is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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