BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Conceding a goal to Benny Feilhaber in the sixth minute was routine for the Chicago, and Graham Zusi's goal two minutes later wasn't out of the ordinary either.
The Fire have fallen behind in 14 of their 17 league games this season, but comebacks have almost been inevitable throughout their nine-game unbeaten streak. On Sunday, that comeback didn't come as Sporting KC held on for a 2-1 victory, and forward Mike Magee thinks the Fire's lack of attacking initiative had something to do with it.
“We started the game like [expletive] and we somehow managed to finish it off even worse,” Magee said. “I think we thought the game was tied or we were winning and we were just going to sit back and we were content. Unfortunately, we were down 2-1, so it wasn't a very good gameplan.”
Zusi's goal was a cross-turned-shot, but Feilhaber's tally came off of a dead ball, which has been a consistent problem for the Fire. On a day in which the temperature hovered around 90 degrees, Chicago couldn't respond apart from a goal from Magee late in the first half.
“It was all in the start,” head coach Frank Klopas said. “We needed to have a good start in the game. It's difficult when you fall behind that early, 2-0, because on a hot day like this you have to put a lot of energy in to come back. We got the one goal which was important.”
Magee brought Chicago to within one when he calmly beat goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen on a breakaway in the 38th minute, after which he charged into the goal and grabbed the ball in a rush to start play again.
But Chicago held just 38 percent of possession in the second half, and they couldn't muster more than a few chances.
“I don't think in the second half we were good enough with the ball,” defender Austin Berry said. “We didn't relieve the pressure on the defense and we defended way too much in the second half.”
Magee, meanwhile, refused to use the heat as an excuse.
Instead, he blamed the loss on the Fire's inability to push players forward when they sorely needed attacking numbers.
“I can't remember a time in the second half where, during the run of play, we had three players in our attacking box,” Magee said. “It's a joke. It's unacceptable. Basically, it seemed like we were just content to leave the game 2-1.
“We weren't going to send numbers, we weren't going to take gambles, we were just going kind of say, 'It's 2-1, it's hot. Cool, let's go home and enjoy the rest of our Sunday.' It makes me sick.”