FRISCO, Texas – MVP candidate Mike Magee scored a goal and assisted on another to lead Chicago to a 3-2 victory at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night, a result that moves the Fire into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot while officially ending FC Dallas’ postseason hopes in the West.
Chicago opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a corner kick as forward Juan Luis Anangono out-jumped Dallas defender Zach Loyd, flicking a quick, glancing header past a diving Chris Seitz and into the far corner of the net. It was the hard-working DP’s second goal of the season, and it put wind in Chicago’s sails.
The second Chicago goal was one typical of the “Midas Touch” season Magee is having. After a throw-in, Brazilian midfielder Alex took two touches and then unleashed from 23 yards. An onrushing Magee, in attempting to get out of the way actually deflected the wayward effort on goal, wrong-footing Seitz for the 2-0 lead and his 19th goal of the season.
The Fire capitalized on a corner again in the 52nd minute to stretch the lead to an ultimately insurmountable 3-0. Dallas’ Matt Hedges and then Jackson failed to clear Magee’s initial offering out of the danger area, with the latter’s header falling right to Fire fullback Jalil Anibaba’s feet. The defender curled a well-struck ball into the upper 90 from 21 yards for his first goal of the year.
Kenny Cooper gave the 14,087 in attendance hope by scoring a second-half brace, his first multi-goal game of the season. First in the 63rd minute, he had a bit of good fortune as a hopeful David Ferreira ball into bypassed three Fire defenders and landed right at the striker’s feet in the 6-yard box. Cooper controlled the ball and then casually toe-poked past a helpless Sean Johnson for the goal.
10 minutes later, FCD were awarded a penalty kick after Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares took down Jackson inside the area. Dallas captain David Ferreira initially stepped up to the spot, but Cooper called him off and buried his shot straight down the middle as Johnson guessed incorrectly.
FCD controlled possession late and created numerous chances, but were never able to find an equalizer. Even if they had, they would have still been officially eliminated from the playoffs as they came into the match needing to win their final three and have help in other results to make it to the postseason.
Next week both teams play on their home turf as the Fire host Toronto FC while the Seattle Sounders visit Frisco to take on FC Dallas.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kenny Cooper||A noble effort from a guy who probably hasn't gotten enough time this season. Playing for a job in 2014 now.|
|2||Jeff Larentowicz||Controlled the central midfield like the old pro he is, picking passes and sweeping up everything defensively.|
|3||Juan Luis Anangono||Got a goal, held up the ball, brought the other attackers into the play, and stretched the field. Still needs to be more clinical.|