The Fire started the season with eight straight games without a victory. After defeating the New York Red Bulls for the first win of the season, the Fire returned home to take on the defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting outscored the Fire 1-0 in non-set piece situations, but would ultimately lose the match. Forward Mike Magee scored on a penalty kick in the seventh minute to give the Fire an early lead. In the 15th minute, Magee scored again (and again, it was on a penalty kick).
Sporting led the possession for much of the match, carrying 58% of it, and finally broke through when Dominic Dwyer scored in the 68th minute to get the Sporks within one.
Though the Fire trailed in the possession game, the Fire were more accurate in shooting. The Fire totaled 15 shots: six on target, seven off target and two blocked. Kansas City’s numbers were less impressive: two on target, eight off target and two blocked for a total of 12 shots. The Fire managed to earn six corner kicks, while Kansas City took just two.
Though Kansas City is well known to be a physical team, it was the Fire that committed more fouls. The Fire’s 28 fouls included two yellow cards, while Kansas City committed only 20 fouls but those included three yellow cards and a red card leaving the trailing team with 10 men.
The Fire have found more diversity in goalscorers this season than last. In 2013, Magee scored 15 league goals with the team (21 total in league play after scoring six with the LA Galaxy, including three against the Fire), or nearly a third of the team’s 47 goals. With 19 goals in the early going so far, only forward Quincy Amarikwa has accounted for more than a quarter of the team’s goals. Amarikwa leads the team with five goals, followed by Magee with four and rookie midfielder Harrison Shipp with three.
The win vaulted the Fire past the Philadelphia Union and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The team’s 12 points are level with seventh-place Toronto FC, but the Canadian side has two matches at hand. The Fire are just one point behind the sixth-place Columbus Crew with a match at hand and two behind fifth-place New York and a playoff spot with two matches at hand.
The Fire’s next match is on the road against the Columbus Crew on May 24 (6:30 p.m. CDT on MY50 Chicago). The next home match is scheduled for June 1 against the LA Galaxy (3:00 p.m. CDT on MY50 Chicago). The Fire are set to play a midweek match against the Colorado Rapids on June 4 and then a home match against Seattle Sounders FC on June 7 to close out the pre-World Cup portion of the season.
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