Damani Ralph

Fire stretch streak vs. MetroStars

Damani Ralph and Ante Razov -- continued the Fire's recent dominance of the MetroStars and former Chicago coach Bob Bradley. Since Bradley moved from Chicago to the MetroStars last season, the Metros haven't won in five league meetings (and also lost last year's U.S. Open Cup final to the Fire). Ralph and Razov combined for all the goals scored by Chicago against the MetroStars a year ago.

On Saturday, the Fire found the back of the net in the 15th minute of play as Selolwane scored his first goal of the season. Jamaican international and former MetroStars midfielder Andy Williams started the play with a diagonal pass to Chris Armas in the center channel, who played a deft one-touch pass into the box for Selolwane.

3 - 0
The Botswana international held off MetroStars defender Eddie Pope and placed a shot out of the reach of goalkeeper Jonny Walker. The MetroStars have conceded the first goal in all four of their matches this season.

The MetroStars narrowly missed drawing level in the 36th minute when Mark Lisi capped off a great individual effort with a dangerous chance from inside the box. He split the Chicago defense down the left side of the box and chipped a shot over the hands of a leaping Ring, only to see it come back off the inside of the far post.

Damani Ralph doubled the Fire lead in the 56th minute of play, scoring his second goal of the season with an opportunistic strike from inside the penalty area. DaMarcus Beasley's slashing run down the left side of the box forced MetroStars defender Tenywa Bonseu to ground in a desperation bid to clear the ball out of danger.

But Ralph was in perfect position to intercept the clearance attempt, however, and the 2003 MLS Rookie of the Year immediately lashed the ball past Walker for the Fire's second.

Forward Fabian Taylor missed a golden opportunity to cut the lead to one in the 60th minute, poking a point-blank shot just wide of an empty net after second-half substitute John Wolyniec slipped a pass through a scrum of Fire defenders with Ring well out of position.

Razov, who came in for Selolwane at the 72-minute mark, then paid immediate dividends for the Fire with a goal in the 77th minute. Ralph played the ball wide to Beasley on the left flank, as Razov began a sprint into the box. Getting favorable position on Bonseu, Razov redirected Beasley's low cross past a stranded Walker and into the far side netting. The goal was Razov's first of the campaign, and the 74th of his MLS career.

Walker did not give up on the game, twice called upon to make spectacular saves in the waning minutes. In the 86th minute, Walker tracked across the mouth of the goal to make a leaping save against a point-blank Ralph header. Moments later, Walker stepped up to block a long-range Beasley attempt, taking the force of the shot directly in his stomach.

The MetroStars travel to San Jose on Saturday to face defending MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium live on HDNet (10 p.m. ET). Ring and the Fire will head to Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday to face Tony Meola and the Kansas City Wizards in what could prove to be a showdown between two of the stingiest defenses in MLS.

MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Henry Ring (Chicago Fire)

Scoring Summary:
CHI -- Dipsy Selolwane 1 (Chris Armas 1, Andy Williams 1) 15
CHI -- Damani Ralph 2 (unassisted) 56
CHI -- Ante Razov 1 (DaMarcus Beasley 1) 77

MetroStars -- Jonny Walker, Craig Ziadie, Jeff Parke (Tenywa Bonseu 46), Eddie Pope, Chris Leitch, Joselito Vaca (Ricardo Clark 73), Amado Guevara, Mark Lisi, Eddie Gaven, Sergio Galvan Rey (John Wolyniec 60), Fabian Taylor.

Substitutes Not Used: Cornell Glen, Zach Wells.

TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Fabian Taylor 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Fabian Taylor 3); FOULS: 16 (Amado Guevara 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (John Wolyniec 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Amado Guevara 1, Joselito Vaca 1); SAVES: 4 (Jonny Walker 4)

Chicago Fire -- Henry Ring, Kelly Gray, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown, Justin Mapp, Chris Armas, Logan Pause (Craig Capano 46), Andy Williams (Scott Buete 82), DaMarcus Beasley, Damani Ralph, Dipsy Selolwane (Ante Razov 73).

Substitutes Not Used: Denny Clanton, D.J. Countess, Leonard Griffin, Sumed Ibrahim, Orlando Perez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Damani Ralph 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Damani Ralph 3); FOULS: 9 (Damani Ralph 2, Andy Williams 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Damani Ralph 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Justin Mapp 3, Andy Williams 3); SAVES: 7 (Henry Ring 7)

Misconduct Summary:
MET -- Jeff Parke (caution; Professional Foul) 18
MET -- Amado Guevara (caution; Dissent) 41
CHI -- Andy Williams (caution; Professional Foul) 50
MET -- Craig Ziadie (caution; Tackle from Behind) 63
CHI -- Jim Curtin (caution; Delaying a Restart) 76
MET -- Mark Lisi (caution; Professional Foul) 86

Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: -Richard Eddy; Kenneth Kaplan
4th Official: Roni Canales
Attendance: 11,262
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy-and-45-degrees

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.

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