Fire, FCD meet in Brimstone clincher

the only blemish on Chicago's record in its new home.

  • But the Revolution scored a pair of well-worked goals to take a first-half lead. In the 23rd minute, Taylor Twellman sent a long ball to the left flank, where Clint Dempsey took on the Fire defense before rolling a pass to a running Steve Ralston. Ralston escaped a defender with a neat turn and curled the ball inside the right-hand post for the opener.
  • Then in the 37th minute, Andy Dorman set Twellman free to run at the Fire defense, then continued his run down the center of the park. At the top of the area, Twellman cut away before knocking a neat backheel into Dorman's path, and he bent home a sharp left-footed shot from just outside the area.
  • After the break, the Fire unleashed an onslaught at the Revolution. But they could only hit home once: Diego Gutierrez sent a long back up in the inside-left channel, Nate Jaqua shielded off his marker and powered a dipping blast inside the far post to pull a goal back.
  • Fire head coach Dave Sarachan made no changes to the team that defeated the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 at Toyota Park on July 4.
  • Here's Sarachan's team (3-4-1-2): Zach Thornton - Dasan Robinson, C.J. Brown (Calen Carr 82), Gonzalo Segares (Logan Pause 38) - Justin Mapp, Chris Armas, Diego Gutierrez, Ivan Guerrero - Thiago - Nate Jaqua, Andy Herron (Chad Barrett 75). [Substitutes Not Used: Leonard Griffin, Matt Pickens, Brian Plotkin, Jordan Russolillo]
  • "It was a tale of two halves tonight. I thought we paid the price of a slow first half, a sluggish first half. I don't think we got around enough to make it hard on them in the first half, which is unusual for us," Sarachan said. "In the second half those that watched the game know that it was one-way traffic."

  • The two goals in the opening 37 minutes put the Fire behind for the second time in their last three games. But unlike the first, when they got two late goals to overcome Real Salt Lake, there were no heroics this time.
  • "We play 32 games, not every half is going to be perfect. Some halves may look a little like that," Sarachan said. "I think it was more flat because of our shape then it was our desire to push the game, and that put us on our heels more then we would have liked. Our guys had the energy and the aggressiveness in the second half and it just didn't happen for us."
  • After going down by two goals at the half, the Fire completely turned it around in the second. They had 15 second-half shots - five on goal - while the Revolution didn't force Zach Thornton to make a save after the break.
  • "It was a matter of waking up and coming out ready to play," said Diego Gutierrez. "We had to put a lot of pressure on them to try and score an early one and make things happen. I think we did that but obviously it wasn't enough." Added goalscorer Jaqua: "Sometimes you just come out flat. It's unfortunate and we can't let that happen again. We dug ourselves a hole, we almost got out of it, but at the end of the day we weren't able to and we lost."
  • Still, the Fire thought they had hit for the equalizer when Andy Herron seemed to outfought James Riley for a loose ball in the goalmouth and rolled it into an empty goal in the 72nd minute, but referee Tim Weyland ruled out the goal for a foul on Herron.
  • "We all thought it was a goal,'' Sarachan said. "We are completely baffled. I guess [the referee] called a push. I watched the replay, and we thought it was a goal.''
  • On Wednesday, the Fire lost 2-1 to Mexico's Club America in a friendly at Toyota Park. Matias Vuoso knocked home a Salvador Cabanas cross in the fourth minute to put America ahead, but in the second half Chad Barrett knocked home the rebound of a Justin Mapp shot to tie the score. 10 minutes from the end, a free kick was allowed to bound around the Fire penalty area before Claudio Lopez fire home for the winner.
  • Here's Sarachan's team: Matt Pickens, Jack Stewart, Diego Gutierrez (Ivan Guerrero 63), Jordan Russolillo (Thiago 77), Floyd Franks (Nate Jaqua 70), Jared Montz (Andy Herron 84), Logan Pause, Brian Plotkin, Leonard Griffin (Justin Mapp 62), Chad Barrett, Calen Carr.
    FC Dallas put an end to their three-game losing streak and long scoreless run, getting two early goals on their way to a 2-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park. The Hoops still lead the Western Conference with 30 points from 17 matches, still three ahead of Houston Dynamo and still 11 behind D.C. United in the MLS overall table.


  • FC Dallas had lost three games in a row -- all by shutout -- while Richie Williams was still looking for his first victory in charge of the Red Bulls as interim head coach.
  • It didn't take long for the Hoops to put an end to their long scoreless drought. Dario Sala sent a long clearance downfield, it was flicked on into the box by Kenny Cooper, and Dominic Oduro - making his first MLS start - outraced a New York defender to get on the end of it and punch it past Tony Meola for an FC Dallas lead after just two minutes.
  • Carlos Ruiz went off with an apparent hamstring injury after just 16 minutes, but his replacement showed scoring touch wasn't lost. Bobby Rhine whipped in a cross from the right flank and David Wagenfuhr volleyed home the service in fine style for his first career MLS goal (33).
  • The Red Bulls pulled a goal back 10 minutes from the end. Jerrod Laventure -- making his MLS debut -- banged a big ball to find Edson Buddle on the left flank. He cut inside and laid off a pass to Mike Magee, who drove home a left-footed shot from outside the area that curled across the goalmouth and beat an outstretched Dario Sala.
  • FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke made one change to the team that lost 1-0 at home to D.C. United on July 4. Dominic Oduro came into partner Carlos Ruiz in attack, with Roberto Mina injured.
  • Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Dario Sala - Bobby Rhine, Drew Moor, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien (Alex Yi 76), Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari, Kenny Cooper - Dominic Oduro (Abe Thompson 59), Carlos Ruiz (David Wagenfuhr 16). [Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Ray Burse, Clarence Goodson, Aaron Pitchkolan]
  • "I was very pleased," said Clarke. "We battled and you know it wasn't the prettiest but it was about as pretty as some of the other games we've got beaten in, so we'll take the three points. That's what it's all about."

  • Oduro's goal was the first of his MLS career, and was the earliest the Hoops had scored all season. It also ended the club's scoreless streak at 330 minutes.
  • "It was a relief for all of the players and the coaches to score early like we did," Oduro said. "We've been trailing in each of the last three games and we didn't want to have that happen again so it was nice to score that early and take some of the pressure off."
  • Said Clarke: "He's done great. He's got pace and he doesn't give up on things. They haven't seen a lot of him and I think that he caught them a little flat-footed there and nipped in and tucked it away well. It was great and I was delighted for him."
  • But the Hoops attack force took a real blow, when Ruiz was ruled out for the next three weeks with a hamstring strain. That came after Roberto Mina underwent knee surgery earlier in the week that could put him out for the next month or more.
  • "It was a disappointment for them (the injuries) to come so quick on top of each other and also through our toughest period of games," Clarke said. "I'm also disappointed for Roberto. ... It's an opportunity for other players to step up. It's going to test the depth at forward."
  • The Hoops could get a boost from the return of left-sided midfielder Ramon Nunez, who has missed the last four games with a right quadriceps strain. "He (Nunez) played in the reserve game on Sunday and came through that pretty well," Clarke said. "He's getting back there (to fitness) as well. He'll be in consideration to get some time this weekend (at Chicago)."
  • FCD 'keeper Dario Sala made several great saves in the match to keep the Hoops alive. Some might attribute his inspired performance to the signing of Trinidad & Tobago 'keeper Shaka Hislop this past week, but Sala disagreed.
  • "I always compete with myself," said Sala. "I've got a strong personality and strong mentality and always think I am going to play - even if they brought Shaka (Hislop) or (Gianluigi) Buffon I think I am going to play. This is the mentality you have to have to go and be in the goal."
  • Added Clarke: "I thought that (Dario) was magnificent. He was superb and he has been all season. The double or triple save at the end of the first half, he made a couple more in the second. He was very, very good and I thought that he thoroughly deserved his man of the match award."
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