Heading into Saturday’s game in Toronto, the Chicago Fire hadn’t exactly played any wide-open matches this season – no more than two goals were scored in any of their four contests.
When TFC came out with three defenders in the back, it was clear this game was bound to be different. When Dominic Oduro scored 25 seconds into the game, a departure from the Fire’s normal low-scoring affair was a near certainty.
“It was a great start for us,” Fire captain Logan Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “We knew that it was important for us to have a quick start today, and it was wonderful pressure by Patrick [Nyarko] to cause the turnover and a great finish by Dom.”
It set the tone for 3-2 Chicago win in a game that would produce a league-high 36 total shots – 45 including blocks. The second half was particularly frenetic as Toronto pressed for their second equalizer of the day, and – in vain – for their first point of the season.
Toronto’s push for a point is what Pause thinks made for the hectic contest.
“They were trying to get a result. Toward the end of the first half, it really opened up,” Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “Sometimes those types of games can get wide open because they’re at home, they’re pushing, they have pressure and they need to score, they need to win.”
By “it really opened up,” Pause is probably understating the case. The Reds went from 1-0 down to 2-1 ahead in the span of four minutes as TFC winger Reggie Lambe bagged a well-taken brace for his first career MLS goals. The Fire answered a minute later with an equalizer of their own, this one courtesy of a Gonzalo Segares flick of a Sebastian Grazzini free kick.
“After the first goal, we were obviously a little bit rattled,” Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “The second one, I think we lost focus.”
They got their focus back after Nyarko’s go-ahead goal 13 minutes into the second half, then held on for dear life and TFC threw everything they could at Chicago.
“Getting three points on the road feels great. Moving forward, we’re happy about the three points,” Pause told MLssoccer.com. “We made mistakes, and we have some time to get ready for next weekend [against Seattle], which will be another big game.”
HIGHLIGHTS: TOR vs CHI