BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire recovered from the recent post-Gold Cup slump with a resounding 4-1 thumping of the New England Revolution to earn their ninth home win on the bounce, a new club record.
The win was also notable for the four goals scored by the rampant Fire – for the third time in three consecutive home games – another record for Veljko Paunovic’s all-conquering side, who moved to within three points of Supporters’ Shield pacesetters Toronto FC with a game in hand.
Having endured a three-game road streak without a win, where Chicago fell to New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City and tied 2-2 in Portland, the Fire extended their league-best home record to 10-0-1, on goals from Matt Polster, Juninho, Michael de Leeuw and Luis Solignac.
Despite the absence of regular left back Brandon Vincent, the Fire excelled down their left flank, where Homegrown player Patrick Doody contributed an unprecedented three assists from his defensive berth in just his second start of the season.
Another important feature of the Fire’s victory was Dax McCarty’s return to the center of midfield after missing the games in Portland and New York. The solidity he and midfield partners Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juninho offered allowed the adventurous Doody and Polster to bomb forward and help out the Fire attack to magnificent effect.
And after a week in which the eyes of the soccer world were on Chicago and the MLS All-Stars’ clash with Real Madrid, Paunovic admitted it was nice to get back to the bread and butter of MLS league play with the Fire.
“It was great to have all the guys together since Thursday to work,” Paunovic said. “To have two days to prepare for the game was enough for us because for a long time this year I think the team knows how to play, the team knows what is our identity and the team also, especially at home performing with a huge confidence and different mindset.”
Doody, a Naperville, Ill.-native, impressed once again on his second outing of the year following his return from a loan stint to Saint Louis, registering his fourth assist in his two games as deputy for the injured Vincent.
“Coming out of the Gold Cup break we had a tough two games, at New York City, at Kansas City, so we really wanted to make it a point to keep playing good at home,” Doody said. “We were able to do that. Overall, really good.”
Paunovic is now hoping that the Fire can take their stunning home form with them on the road as they look to gain something from upcoming trips to Eastern Conference rivals Columbus and Montreal.
“That’s what we have to do,” Paunovic said. “To translate in our games we play on the road, that’s something that we have to improve in order to, as soon as possible, get to the playoffs which is our first goal. We have to build the momentum during this time in order to perform during the playoffs.”