D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

Oct. 4, 2013 (WEEK 32, MLS Game #289)
8 p.m. ET (NBC SN; TSN2)

Coming off the 13th major honor won in the storied history of the club, D.C. United return home to take on the Chicago Fire in a crucial match in the Eastern Conference on Friday evening at RFK Stadium. United are already eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs consideration, but claimed the U.S. Open Cup at midweek with a win at Real Salt Lake. The Fire come into the game two points out of the final playoff spot in the East, following their 2-2 home draw with Montréal last weekend at Toyota Park.


REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Daniel Belleau; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 178 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 51; pens: 61

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Chris Korb, John Thorrington … CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Mike Magee, Gonzalo Segares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard, Kyle Porter, Dennis Iapichino, Luis Silva, Dejan Jakovic … CHI: Jalil Anibaba, Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka

ALL-TIME (45 meetings): United 17 wins, 63 goals … Fire 17 wins, 66 goals … Ties 11
AT RFK STADIUM (22 meetings): United 11 wins, 37 goals … Fire 7 wins, 29 goals … Ties 4

2013 (MLS)
6/2: CHI 2, DC 0 (own goal 9; Magee 85)
7/20: CHI 4, DC 1 (Rolfe 2, 46+; Lindpere 11; Magee 56 – Silva 58)

• The teams are playing for the third time this season, and the Fire have won both previous. An own goal and Mike Magee’s first league goal in a Fire uniform gave Chicago a 2-0 victory, June 2 at Toyota Park; Chris Rolfe had a pair of goals and Joel Lindpere had two assists in a 4-1 Fire win on July 20 in Bridgeview.

• The Fire’s two wins this year were their first at home vs. United since a 1-0 win in 2006. United had won three of their seven trips to Toyota Park in between, with four draws.

• In the last meeting at RFK Stadium, last Aug. 22, United snapped a home winless streak vs. Chicago dating back to Aug. 29, 2009.

• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. CHI: P7 W1 L3 D3 … Frank Klopas vs. DC: P6 W3 L1 D2


• The Fire took the lead just two minutes after the opening kickoff. Joel Lindpere hooked in a well-placed early cross from the left flank and Chris Rolfe finished, tapping a first-time finish over goalkeeper Joe Willis as he came off his line.

Highlights: CHI 4, DC 1

• Nine minutes later, Lindpere benefited from pinpoint service when Jeff Larentowicz charged down the right side of the field, turned the corner and fed Lindpere, who cut back to his left foot around a defender before slamming it home.

• In first-half stoppage time, a neat passing sequence led to Lindpere playing a one-touch chip through to Rolfe, who raced clear of the United defense and placed a low shot into the right corner of the goal.

• The score became 4-0 about 10 minutes after the break when halftime substitute Quincy Amarikwa charged into the D.C. box and was taken down by Daniel Woolard. Mike Magee converted the spot kick for his 12th goal of the season.

• United finally scored a goal from open play -- their first in more than two months -- two minutes later when Luis Silva curled in a gorgeous shot from 25 yards out into the upper right corner of the goal.

• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Dilly Duka (Quincy Amarikwa 47), Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Logan Pause 77), Joel Lindpere - Chris Rolfe, Mike Magee (Maicon Santos 82)

• D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis - Chris Korb, Ethan White (Dejan Jakovic 46), Daniel Woolard, Taylor Kemp - Perry Kitchen, John Thorrington - Sainey Nyassi (Kyle Porter 61), Luis Silva, Nick DeLeon (James Riley 75) - Carlos Ruiz.


D.C. United saw their overall and road winless streaks continue, crashing to a 4-1 defeat by Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. United are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 30 matches.


• United opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Jared Jeffrey beat TFC 'keeper Joe Bendik with an exceptional strike from 25 yards out.

• Toronto evened the proceedings 11 minutes later when Darel Russell delivered a goal of the week contender when he chested an errant ball inside the United area and turned and volleyed past 'keeper Joe Willis in genuinely spectacular fashion.

Highlights: TOR 4, DC 1

• TFC took the lead on another high-quality goal in the 67th minute when right back Mark Bloom delivered a cross that striker Bright Dike finished with authority via a thundering volley.

• Toronto added an insurance goal four minutes later on the break when a cross from Alvaro Rey ended up in the back of the D.C. net courtesy after defender Conor Shanosky turned it into his own goal.

• Rey added a spectacular goal of his own in the 87th minute when he showed off some dribbling ability in the United penalty area before delivering a well-placed shot inside the far post.

• United head coach Ben Olsen changed his entire team from the group that fell 2-1 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium, in advance of the U.S. Open Cup Final.

• D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Joe Willis - Sainey Nyassi, Conor Shanosky, Daniel Woolard (Conor Doyle 46), Taylor Kemp - Marcelo Saragosa - Collin Martin, Jared Jeffrey (Dennis Iapichino 69), Kyle Porter (Casey Townsend 79) - Lionard Pajoy, Michael Seaton.


• United had their league winless streak extended to eight games, with six losses and two draws in that time, the last MLS victory coming Aug. 3 vs. Montréal. The defeat was the 21st in league play for United this season, a new club record.

• United are also still winless on the road this season in league play, now 0-13-3 on their travels. They have one away game remaining – at Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 18; four teams have completed an MLS season with a road victory, last Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2011.

• Ahead of the Open Cup final, United head coach Ben Olsen rang in the changes. Up top, 17-year-old Michael Seaton made his first MLS start, while Lionard Pajoy started his first game since July 3 after undergoing surgery.

• “The lineup had a lot to do with Tuesday’s Open Cup fixture,” Olsen said. “I set these guys up to fail today, it’s pretty simple. We hung in there for about 60 minutes and then I got some guys out that were maybe going to factor in to Tuesday’s game and now I’m putting guys out of position. You start adding those up and you are playing a real team in the MLS and that’s what can happen.”

• In midfield, Marcelo Saragosa made his first MLS appearance since May 8, while in the back, Conor Shanosky started just his third game of the league campaign and Sainey Nyassi made his first start at fullback, his last first XI appearance coming July 20 as a wide midfielder.

• “None of these guys are fit, most of them aren’t 90 minutes fit because they haven’t had a 90 in a long time,” Olsen said. “Again, when you add it all up that is what can happen toward the end of the game.”

• Jared Jeffrey scored the second goal of his MLS career, his first since Aug. 8. He was making his first league appearance since Aug. 31.

• On Tuesday, United produced a remarkable victory, defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 to win the U.S. Open Cup for a third time in the final played at Rio Tinto Stadium. Lewis Neal scored the game’s lone goal just before halftime.

• Here’s the United team: Bill Hamid; James Riley, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, Chris Korb; Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal, Chris Pontius (Conor Doyle, 86), John Thorrington; Nick DeLeon, Dwayne De Rosario (Luis Silva, 75)

• “We took the Open Cup extremely seriously from the first game,” Olsen said. “Each game, our belief in the Open Cup grew. The size of the game helped us focus. Some of the guys who have a tough time focusing when it doesn’t matter really did what they needed to do … If we [had lost] this one, it’s back to the drawing board. Now we have a new energy about us to finish the season in the right way and look forward.”


The Chicago Fire were able to extend their home undefeated streak, although the Montréal Impact came back for a late 2-2 draw on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 30 matches.


• The Impact opened the scoring in the 25th minute, when Davy Arnaud found Marco Di Vaio with a pinpoint pass after he maneuvered in between a pair of Fire defenders to slot home in the area.

• But the Fire drew even in the 57th minute when Alex received a pass from Chris Rolfe and took a shot, which was deflected to Mike Magee on the back post, and he easily tipped an effort past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins from close range.

Highlights: CHI 2, MTL 2

• In the 73rd minute, Perkins received a pass back, and as Magee charged toward him, the Fire striker stole the ball and pushed the ball into an open goal.

• The Fire had a glorious chance to put the game away in the 79th minute, but Magee clanked a penalty kick off the crossbar after Patrick Nyarko was taken down in the area by Perkins.

• The tying goal came in the 87th minute when Impact youngster Maxim Tissot scored his first professional goal when he headed a deflected clearance over Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and inside the far post.

• Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that fell 3-0 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Patrick Nyarko and Logan Pause came into the side in place of Alex and the suspended Bakary Soumare.

• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Jeff Larentowicz, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause (Alex 46), Arevalo Rios, Dilly Duka (Chris Rolfe 46) - Mike Magee, Juan Luis Anangono.


• While the Fire dropped a pair of points, they have not lost at Toyota Park since July 7, now six games since their last home defeat.

• “It’s been difficult because we’ve been dropping points. We could’ve been in a different situation,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “It’s crucial because it is towards the end. Every point that we drop we can’t get back. It is an opportunity to be in the final spot. The energy was there, we deserve to win but it doesn't always work out.”

• For the third time in six games in September, the Fire allowed a tying or losing goal after the 86th minute, leading to two draws and one loss. The Fire have allowed 22 goals in the final half-hour of games for the season, tied for third-most in MLS.

• “It’s disappointing what happened at the end of the game, I’m personally very disappointed, but I think there’s a lot of positives that came from this game,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko said on Saturday. “We went down a goal and showed a lot of character to come back in the second half and create a lot of chances to put the game away.

• Said Mike Magee: “We've got to put them away one of these games and take that pressure off the defense. There's no time to cry or feel bad for ourselves or whatever. We've got four games left, and we're going to make the playoffs.”

• Magee scored multiple goals in a game for the first time since coming to the Fire. Magee had scored multiple goals in a game once previously this season – a hat trick for the LA Galaxy, against Chicago, in the season opener March 3. Magee is second in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 18 goals.

• With Bakary Soumare suspended, Jeff Larentowicz slotted into central defense alongside Austin Berry, his first start at the position this season.

• Logan Pause returned to a central midfield role for the first time since Sept. 7, but was taken off at halftime as Klopas brought in Chris Rolfe in an attacking midfield role. Alex also came on in place of Dilly Duka on the flank.

• “Our goal at the beginning of the game was to come out and press, but we didn’t do that,” Magee said. “I think Frank [Klopas] did a great job to make the changes at the half. We just needed a spark. Nothing against the guys that came out, we just needed a little something different. Chris [Rolfe] and Alex both did a great job.”


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