The Fire returned to Toyota Park losers of two straight league matches, but changed their fortunes in a big way on Saturday, scoring two goals in the first eleven minutes of the match and never looking back in their 4-1 victory over D.C. United.
The Fire – so often plagued by early deficits – wasted no time jumping ahead in this match, as Chris Rolfe scored the opening goal just one-hundred and twelve seconds after kickoff. Joel Lindpere took a run on the left side of the pitch and crossed the ball to Rolfe, who flicked it over Joe Willis and into the back of the net on one touch.
It was an excellent start to the match, but the Fire had more in mind. In the eleventh minute of play, the Fire doubled their lead to 2-0, as Joel Lindpere got his name onto the box score for the second time in the match, burying the ball from Jeff Larentowicz after beating the defender.
A stunning turn of events for the road side that had won just twice all season, but the Fire were relentless and not too keen on showing mercy, adding another before the half came to a close. Lindpere picked up his second assist of the night to go along with his goal that proved to be the game winner, passing to Rolfe who charged towards Willis before chipping it over and capping off the three goal first half outburst.
United defender Daniel Woolard would take Quincy Amarikwa down inside the box in the fifty-sixth minute of play, and the Fire were awarded a penalty kick to be taken by Mike Magee. Magee would bury the ball in the back of the net to move back into a tie with Camilo for first place in Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot race with his twelfth goal of the season.
Just two minutes later, United’s Luis Silva would snap Paolo Tornaghi’s shutout, but the damage had already been done and the Fire were well on their way to victory. Perry Kitchen was credited with the assist.
The victory moved the Fire into seventh place ahead of the Midwestern rival Columbus Crew and placed the team just five points back of the fifth place Houston Dynamo. The club could be getting some additional help along the way as well, as the team is expected to announce a significant signing – expected to be a striker – within the coming week. Chris Rolfe, who picked up two goals and a yellow card in the match, claimed to have been unaware of the club’s public pursuit of a striker, but did not seem disappointed about it either. “It doesn’t affect it at all. If anything it’s exciting. I hope they do bring in another guy if it’s going to help the team win. I think it’s important for any team or organization to bring talent in to make us more competitive,” said Rolfe on the subject.
The team drew in another very respectable crowd of 17,190, but will head back to the road to take on their formidable foes in Houston and Philadelphia, both of which are currently in playoff spots. The Fire return home to take on D.C. United yet again on August 7th in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals at Toyota Park. While the Fire got off to a slow start, they have largely revitalized their playoff hopes, but one should expect a strong showing from United as they will surely seek revenge and have set their sights on the tournament after their lackluster performance in league play this year.