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Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United: The Basics

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Total team euphoria
Total team euphoria

I was at RFK Stadium last night. I was at RFK Stadium last year when the Fire won on the backs of two goals after the 80th minute. I certainly did not expect to see a repeat two-late-goal performance after Dwayne De Rosario converted his 89th minute penalty kick. A fairly blah game turned into a story for the ages when Sebastian Grazzini scored a scorcher of a goal and Diego Chaves finished D.C. United off thanks to a great volley/shot from Gonzalo Segares. With the 2-1 victory, Chicago essentially said, 'We aren't going to the playoffs, but you sure as hell aren't either'. This is the Fire's 4th Eastern Conference season series win and they go for their 5th next Saturday against the Columbus Crew.

In front of me at the game was a kid wearing a Nyarko jersey. I'd say it's a safe bet he is a lock to be a Fire fan for life. It's a great story I'll never tire of telling. Notes, Quotes, and Highlights after the break.

  • Diego Chaves' late game heroics gave the Fire their third road victory of the season. It was Chaves first goal since April 23 against Houston
  • Sebastian Grazzini has five goals and four assists in 11 games since joining the Fire in late July.
  • Pavel Pardo, Dan Gargan and Cory Gibbs all missed the match due to suspension.
  • With his yellow card, Josip Mikulic will miss the Columbus Crew match with yellow card accumulation.
  • Michael Videira left the match in the 19th minute with a left groin injury.

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Michael Videira (Yamith Cuesta, 19'), Josip Mikulic, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause ©, Daniel Paladini (Diego Chaves, 90;), Marco Pappa; Sebastian Grazzini; Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro (Orr Barouch, 73')

Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Pari Pantazopoulos, Baggio Husidic, Corben Bone

D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard; Andy Najar, Stephen King (Marc Burch, 75'), Clyde Simms, Austin Da Luz (Santino Quaranta, 57'); Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Wolff © (Charlies Davies, 79')

Substitutes not used: Joe Willis, Ethan White, Blake Brettschneider, Joseph Ngwenya

Scoring Summary
DCU - Dwayne De Rosario (penalty kick) 90'
CHI - Sebastian Grazzini (Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko) 92+'
CHI - Diego Chaves (Gonzalo Segares, Orr Barouch) 94+'

Misconduct Summary

CHI - Josip Mikulic (caution; Reckless Foul) 46'

DC - Andy Najar (caution; Reckless Foul) 76'

CHI - Orr Barouch (caution; Dissent) 78'

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez

Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey, Matthew Kreitzer

4th Referee: Terry Vaughn

Attendance: 16,548


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On the game:

I thought throughout the game we played well. We pushed the game [and] we had opportunities. I think that overall if you look at the stat sheet I think [D.C. United] had seven-to-one corners, but I think we had good moments in the game. We created some good chances. You kind of feel bad a little bit for them, but that's how the game is. For us it was a great comeback and a great feeling and I'm proud of our guys.

On his team's resilience:

Sometimes you make some moves and things go your way, but I think just overall the whole game was pretty positive. I think it's never over until it's over. We pushed it and brought a couple subs in that had an impact on the game. I think in the end some special players made special plays and we when we had the chances, we finished them. I think Benny [Olsen] has done a great job with his team here. I'm really happy for our guys. They never gave up and played really well and it was a great comeback."


On the game's final moments:
It was an incredible five minutes, first for D.C. and then finally for us. It was really, really intense.

On his goal:

It was a great ball from Orr [Barouch] to Gonzalo [Segares]. Gonzalo made a great run in the last minute and got the ball before it went out of bounds and I just had the open goal.


On the game:

It was a very important win. I think it was a crazy last five minutes, but we're pretty excited that we got the three points and now we focus on Columbus next week.

On containing Dwayne De Rosario:

I think that we did pretty well the entire game [covering Dwayne De Rosario]. We tried to keep him away from the box and as far as possible from the area. I think Josip [Mikulic] and Jalil [Anibaba] had a great game. They are pretty physical defenders and I think they made it pretty tough for him. I think defensively we did well until the end.


On losing in the final minutes:

It was one of the toughest losses I have ever taken.

Overall thoughts on the match:

[I told the team] I was proud of them, it was a good effort.

Flying back from Vancouver after a tough loss, I thought there were some heavy guys out there to push through it. The game plan was to grind it out, and we did it. [We] got a PK, and I thought there were a couple of other ones. Give [Grazzini] credit, he scored a pretty good goal. He took his chance well. The second one, I have to look at and see what's going on.

The crazy thing about this [playoff race] is that we are still not out of it. There's still a scenario or two in which we can get into the playoffs. So, we'll move on. It's just a tough [loss] - I'm not going to sugarcoat it.

On playing Dwayne De Rosario as a striker:

I think putting [De Rosario] up top was the right move. I thought they put a lot of numbers in the midfield - it's a lot of work in there. That's why we put some of the guys in early, to deal with that. We had to push the game and I thought we put the right guys in to get the game changed. I think everything worked out, except the last couple of minutes.


Overall thoughts on the match:

This game was important for both teams. You have to have the mentality that you're going to win the ball every time and there's going to be pressure, especially when it's crunch time like this. This was our season in a nutshell tonight - giving up bad goals at bad times. I would have liked to have seen that [first Chicago goal] on the face or on the body instead of jumping and turning, giving it to them at the top of the box.

On giving up the lead in stoppage time:

We can't keep doing this to ourselves, we're too good of a team to get scored on and scored on again. It just isn't worth it, especially in these games. I want to say that guys should be learning but it's frustrating, because every game it's the same thing.

On United's recent poor form:

I'm getting more gray hair that I can imagine right now. It's frustrating because you want to see that commitment, you want to see that passion and desire to win every ball - to do whatever it takes to stop a shot or block a ball to stop a play - but that isn't the case and I don't see that right now. In saying that, we can still make the playoffs. If New York loses and we win the next [match], then we're in good position. But we have to take this one step at a time, and Portland is coming in here and we need to play with pride.


Thoughts on the match:

What can you say? It's mindboggling - it hurts. Everyone in this locker room is hurting, you have to pick yourself up and move on. There's still two matches remaining and we're going to take those one at a time.

On giving up the lead in stoppage time:

I've never been a part of anything like it - the ups and downs of this game. It's all kind of a blur, it happened so fast. To walk back in the locker room with no points when you have victory in your grasp, it's demoralizing. There's not a whole lot more I can say.

On United's remaining home fixtures:

It's not good when you don't have your destiny in your own hands, and we're looking for other teams to lose and win. This was a great opportunity for us tonight, but we'll battle on and continue to fight.