The Fire traveled to Harrison, New Jersey without a win in the first nine games of the season. Facing the New York Red Bulls team that ended the club’s playoff hopes with a 5-2 victory in 2013, the Fire visited Red Bull Arena for an even higher scoring match.
Rookie midfielder Harrison Shipp opened the scoring in the 4th minute after referee Kevin Stott overruled the referee’s assistant’s offside call. New York answered in the 6th minute as midfielder Tim Cahill beat Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson with a header.
Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips gave New York the lead in the 39th minute to close out the scoring for the first half.
The Fire entered the second half in need of a comeback to break the run of eight games to open the season without a win. It only took four minutes for the team to tie the match, as midfielder and captain Jeff Larentowicz set up forward Quincy Amarikwa’s header for the goal.
Shipp proceeded to lead the team’s attack for the remainder of the match, scoring in the 53rd minute and again in the 58th minute to complete the hat trick. The feat marked the first Fire hat trick since Sept. 28, 2011, when midfielder Marco Pappa led the team to a 3-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Shipp added an assist in the match when midfielder Patrick Nyarko scored in the 64th minute to extend the lead to 5-2.
Shipp’s rare feat was not to be unanswered, as Wright-Phillips did everything in his power to get New York back into the match. The English striker scored in the 67th and 78th minutes to bring the Red Bulls back within a goal.
The three goals Shipp scored were the first three of his MLS career, as well as the first three goals ever scored by a Fire Homegrown Player. The match marked the first time in MLS history in which two hat tricks were recorded in the same match.
With the win, the Fire improved to nine points and a 1-2-6 record, vaulting from 10th place to eighth in the Eastern Conference. The team is level in points with seventh place Toronto FC and sit just five points behind New York for the final playoff spot.