Marco Pappa scored a hat trick starting with a goal in the 9th minute of play. Less than a minute after his first goal, Daniel Paladini provoked Kyle Beckerman into a vicious headbutt that lead to Beckerman receiving a red card. The quick Fire score and Beckerman red card gave the game the same momentum as a red card/penalty kick scenario. RSL occasionally threatened but outside of a couple of defensive mistakes from Josip Mikulic, Chicago remained unscathed. The whole team majorly benefited from the return of veteran defender Cory Gibbs.
Pappa had a breakout game scoring the first Chicago Fire hat trick since Chris Rolfe did it against New York on October 23, 2008. The Guatemalan midfielder had not scored a goal himself since June 26 and only had 1 goal and 1 assist in 16 games played between May 21 and September 25. Chicago sits just three points behind the final MLS playoff spot. Saturday's matchup against Houston poses a tricky situation with the U.S. Open Cup Final on Tuesday but the playoffs are still in reach and this Chicago team is rolling.
Gregg Mixdorf will have a more detailed recap later in the day. The box score, highlight video, and quotes from the coaches and players are all after the break.
Chicago Fire 3 – 0 Real Salt Lake
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan (Michael Videira, 78’), Josip Mikulic (Jalil Anibaba, 70’), Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause ©, Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa; Daniel Paladini; Patrick Nyarko (Corben Bone, 81’), Dominic OduroSubstitutes not used: Jon Conway, Baggio Husidic, Diego Chaves, Orr Barouch
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell (Chris Schuler, 46’), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Javier Morales, 60’); Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman ©, Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez, 15’), Will Johnson; Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio Substitutes not used: Tim Melia, Paulo Araujo Jr., Ned Grabavoy, Collen Warner
CHI – Marco Pappa (Daniel Paladini, Patrick Nyarko) 9’
CHI – Marco Pappa (Pavel Pardo) 36’
CHI – Marco Pappa (unassisted) 75’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 11’
RSL – Fabian Espindola (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16’
CHI – Dan Gargan (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16’
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (caution; Tactical Foul) 56’
Referee: Baldomero Toledo Referee’s
Assistants: Fabio Tovar, Ian Anderson
4th Referee: Juan Guzman Attendance: 20,762
- The Fire have won five of their last six matches and are within three points of the New York Red Bulls for the 10th and final spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- With his first career hat trick, Marco Pappa joins Chris Rolfe, Ante Razov, Damani Ralph and Nate Jaqua as Fire players to tally three goals in a match.
- With his 10th minute assist, Patrick Nyarko moved his team-leading assist total to eight.
- Argentine midfielder Sebastian Grazzini missed the match due to a right hamstring strain.
- It was the Fire's first victory in the Beehive State since 2007.
- For the sixth time in eight games the Chicago Fire tallied a goal within the first 20 minutes of the match. The Fire are 5-1-2 in that stretch.
Chicago Fire Interim Head Coach Frank Klopas
On winning for just the second time on the road this season:
"It was a great win against a very good team in a very difficult place. They don't drop a lot of games at home. I was very happy with the performance of the guys, not just that we won, but tactically as well."
On the performance of midfielder Marco Pappa:
"When we started, (Marco Pappa) was playing as a left-midfielder, then we switched formations and played more of a 4-2-3-1 and he was in front of Pavel (Pardo) and (Daniel) Paladini. With Dominic (Oduro) I kept telling him to think in terms of depth when we had the ball, so he was able to constantly sprint at the depth and create some gaps in between their midfield and their back line, where I thought that Marco would find the space and get the ball. He has the ability one-on-one to beat players, but his finishing was clinical tonight."
On finishing out the game out strong and holding the lead:
"The composure was great. Last week we had a 3-0 lead and we gave up some late goals because I think that everybody was pushing forward not at the right time."
Chicago Fire's Logan Pause
On the physicality of the game:
"These are just two teams that are trying to compete. Sometimes it gets a little bit much, but luckily the referee manages it and it seems like everyone came out healthy and I think that's the important part."
On going up a man in the early stages of the game:
"It gave us a big advantage. They're a team that likes to possess the ball and when you take their pivot player out of the equation, it's going to definitely help us."
Chicago Fire's Pavel Pardo
On the key to the match:
"Obviously, after the first goal it always gets easier. After that, it's always harder for the other team to play with ten men."
On Marco Pappa's performance:
"He played very good today and he scored great goals. This is a team, and when you have a good player it's good for the player to play well like Marco (Pappa), and sometimes they decide the match. Sometimes it's Marco, sometimes (Sebastian) Grazzini, sometimes Dominic (Oduro), so now I think we're playing better and better, which is good for the team."
Chicago Fire's Marco Pappa
On scoring three goals to help his team to victory:
"The most important thing is the team, always. We need the points and we got the points, so it's extra that I scored the goals and I'm happy with that. I'm going to enjoy tonight because it's not very often that you score a hat trick."
On facing the road ahead as a team:
"We're talking in the locker with our teammates that each game is a playoff for us right now. We're still alive and we need to get points, and we know the next game is going to be hard in Houston."
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kries
On the play of his team in the first half:
"I'm really, really aggravated, I think is the best word. For me, a complete lack of discipline to give away a goal on a throw-in, which you have heard me harp on again and again, you've heard me say it too many times. To give away a goal that softly is a complete lack of discipline by every player that is in that area of the field, but it happened. Then Kyle (Beckerman's) ejection, a complete lack of discipline. Then every dangerous chance that was created against us was a complete lack of discipline."
On the back-to-back lopsided losses:
"Absolutely I am concerned. I'm very worried; I won't be sleeping tonight because, for me, to take two results like this in a row at this time of year could be critical. The questions now are in front of the players, how will they react."
On the play of Javier Morales in his first match back from injury:
"I was very pleased that he got out there. He seemed to make it through ok, he had some good touches and the crowd's response was fantastic. I think emotionally everyone was really, really pleased to see him get out there."
On the overall play of the team:
"When this group doesn't have its back against the wall it tends to relax, and I think that's what you get when a group relaxes. It loses focus, it loses the discipline to do all the little things it takes for our group to win."
Real Salt Lake's Nat Borchers
On the back-to-back slow starts:
"I thought we actually started off quite well, and then I was very disappointed to see us give up a goal off of a throw-in; that's something we talk about everyday in training, about being squished in on those kinds of set plays. Then you go down a man and you're under it, and we made a bad decision on the second goal, then you go into halftime 2-0 down and I thought we still had a chance. Then another bad giveaway on the third goal that really cost us."
On giving up seven goals in two games:
"After conceding four goals against D.C. (United) in the first half - they were actually some pretty good goals - I think that's going to happen maybe once a season where you have a game like that. But for it to happen two games in a row it is disappointing, and I think if there is going to be a wake-up call, it's right now."
On having Javier Morales back on the field:
"It is uplifting, for sure. He's been gone for so long, so to have him back on the pitch was great. I thought he did pretty well considering the circumstances. We were down a man and there wasn't a whole lot of space for him to maneuver in and I thought he did really well."
Real Salt Lake's Will Johnson
On following up a five-game winning-streak with two straight losses:
"I think come playoff time we'll be alright. This is a team that's been through a lot of great games, a lot of tough games and a lot of ups and downs, and you would like to think if you're not going in (to the playoffs) on a 10-game winning streak that you can still pull together and get some results."
On having Javier Morales back for the stretch-run:
"He's a big part of this team and he has been for a while, he's a leader on this team and it will be fun to see him get back and get sharp. Obviously these are preseason games for him; he needs three to four weeks, which we have left, to get back to being Javi. I thought he looked great, he looked just like the old Javi, so that's probably the only positive thing you can take from tonight."
Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales
On playing 30 minutes and his match-fitness:
"I'll have to work on it. I have four more games so I'll try to get my rest and get ready for the playoffs."
On the fans' reaction when he entered the match:
"It was unbelievable, it gave me goose-bumps. It was one of the best moments of my career."
On facing tackles in his first match back:
"I said before the game, I didn't care about tackles. I was thinking about a lot, so I just have to play now. It's going to happen so I have to be ready and I have to be strong."