The Chicago Fire came into Wednesday’s midweek match-up against the Colorado Rapids in dire need of three points, sitting ten points out of a playoff spot and needing to turn their season around in a hurry. Thanks to Austin Berry redeeming himself and Mike Magee continuing his historic goal scoring run, the Fire left the match just seven points out while the Rapids fell to a point out of the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Colorado striker Deshorn Brown would take advantage of a mistake by Austin Berry and slot the ball past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson on the breakaway to give Colorado a one goal lead in the seventeenth minute of play. Berry is the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year, and did not seem to be rattled by the miscue, playing confidently for the remainder of the match.
Mike Magee had scored four goals in his first four competitive matches with the Fire, one in each game, a feat that had never before been accomplished by a Fire player. The previous record of two games was shattered by Berry when he drew the Fire to within one against Portland. Magee stretched the historic run to five games when he scored on a penalty kick in the twenty-third minute, just six minutes after Brown’s opening score.
Magee would nearly earn his first multi-goal game with the club, burying the ball into the back of net before being called on the close play for off-sides in the thirty-fourth minute. In essence, the flag going up kept Magee at a zero goal differential for Chicago in regular season play, as his opening day hat trick against the Men in Red balanced out with his three regular season strikes for the Fire (two of the five were U.S. Open Cup play). Magee later proclaimed that “if I start talking about that it won’t be six in six, so no comment.”
The two teams would head into half-time level at a goal a piece, but it would not be long before Berry was at the other end of a goal scoring play, earning the last laughs as his forty-seventh minute header proved to be the game winner. Berry would state after the game that (by his count) it was the third time since joining the team that he made a mistake costing the team a goal and later went on to score one of his own.
Many of the 11,349 fans that attended the match at Toyota Park were thrown into a frenzy when Larentowicz’s blazing header ended up behind the net, appearing to many to have put the Fire up three to one in the seventy-second minute.
Colorado would nearly equalize before being called for a hand ball. What would have been the second goal of the game for Brown came just minutes after Colorado missed on an even better opportunity with Cascio standing alone just in front of net, but his shot from short distance rattled off the post and stayed out of the net.
Surviving the late onslaught, the Fire now head to Columbus on Saturday in one of the most important matchups of the season to date, potentially moving them to within two points of Columbus and New England for sixth place. The Fire then play host to Orlando City SC on Wednesday in an Open Cup fixture. Orlando is coming off of an impressive match in which they eliminated their own MLS affiliate – Sporting Kansas City – from the tournament.