After a long international break and three losses in all competitions, the Chicago Fire returned home to take on a talented New York Red Bulls side.
The Men in Red were up for the challenge.
The Fire overcame a goal-line blunder by the referee on a sure Dominic Oduro goal to knock off the second-place Red Bulls 3-1. Patrick Nyarko gave the Fire the lead in the fourth minute before the Red Bulls equalized through a Dax McCarty header in the 55th minute. After Oduro's goal was not allowed in the 64th minute, Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe, making his return to Toyota Park after three years away, scored to give the Fire a much-needed 3-1 win.
If there were any worries about the Fire starting out slowly yet again, they was dashed in the 4th minute. Midfielder Sebastian Grazzini found Nyarko with a lovely chip from the top of the box and the Ghanaian winger was able to head it home past Red Bulls ‘keeper Ryan Meara to give the Fire a 1-0 lead. The goal was Nyarko's second of the season.
The Fire weren't content to simply hold on to the one-goal lead. In the 12th minute, after a good run from midfielder Marco Pappa, he found striker Dominic Oduro on the right side of the box. Oduro then crossed for midfielder Pavel Pardo, but his wide was high.
The Red Bulls had their first real opportunity of the match in the 23rd minute off a corner kick. The Fire nearly gifted the away side a goal when a clearance attempt by midfielder Logan Pause bounced off Grazzini's head and right into the path of NYRB midfielder Joel Lindpere. Lindpere scored against the Fire in this fixture last year, but this time, his shot from inside the box was off target.
After some positive play, defender Dan Gargan picked up a possibly harsh yellow card for a sliding challenge on Red Bulls defender Roy Miller.
Fire Goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called into action for the first time in the 40th minute. Red Bulls defender Jan Gunnar Solli volleyed a ball from the right side of the box, but Johnson was able to dive to his left and deflect it out of play as the Fire kept their lead at halftime.
Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy came on for Miller in the second half in an attempt to reignite the Red Bulls attack.
Red Bulls striker Kenny Cooper had the first real attempt of the second half in the 53rd minute. His low shot from the top of the box was tipped away by a diving Johnson.
Shortly after, the Red Bulls finally got the equalizer. In the 55th minute, the substitute Ballouchy found midfielder Dax McCarty for a header that appeared to be touched into the net by defender Markus Holgersson. The goal was initially credited to McCarty, who picked up his second goal on the season.
The Fire were not going to simply settle for the draw. And in the 61st minute, Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas made his first substitution of the match, bringing on recently signed forward Chris Rolfe for Grazzini.
The appearance was Rolfe's first at Toyota Park since 2009 since re-joining the Fire from Danish side Aalborg BK in April.
It appeared the spark gave the Fire the lead, but the Fire were clearly denied a goal in the 64th minute.
Rolfe slotted Oduro through and Meara deflected his shot, but the ball managed to trickle over the line before being cleared away by former Fire defender Wilman Conde. Shockingly, the referee did not give a goal in what will surely ignite some to reconsider goal-line technology. Oduro was also shown a yellow card to arguing with a referee.
The Fire caught some good karma shortly thereafter.
In the 68th minute, Pappa played through defender Gonzalo Segares, whose slow shot was deflected by Meara. In what was possibly a makeup call, Oduro got in front of Meara and the goalkeeper was unable to hang on the ball. Segares was there to put the ball into the net and restore the Fire lead and pick up his second goal of the season.
The Fire could have doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute. Nyarko played through Oduro, but his shot went right at Meara. Pappa's follow-up effort was just wide.
Oduro must have wondered what mirror he had broken prior to the match to be so unlucky as he made way for midfielder Rafael Robayo in the 76th minute.
The clubs exchanged yellow cards as Segares then picked up a yellow card in the 79th minute before Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards followed suit in the 80th minute.
But the Fire put the game away in the 81st minute. Nyarko was able to blow by defender Heath Pearce and put a low cross in the box that was tapped home by Rolfe to give a Fire a 3-1 advantage. It was Rolfe's first goal back for the club and it sent the Section 8 supporters section into delirious celebrations.
Hunter Jumper made an appearance for Marco Pappa in the 85th minute as the Men in Red looked to close out the match.
Rolfe nearly scored a second in the 87th minute. His 25-yard curling shot was saved by a diving Meara.
Midfielder Victor Palsson came on for McCarty in the 89th minute as Red Bulls desperately tried to salvage something from the match.
It was all for naught though, as the Fire picked up their first win since May 23rd and leapfrogged the Columbus Crew to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Fire were back in action for the first time since a June 2nd loss to the New England Revolution.
Striker Chris Rolfe was named to the bench for a second straight match. After coming on for Grazzini in the 61st minute, he picked up his first goal of the season in the 81st minute.
Defender Arne Friedrich, who injured his hamstring on May 12, was not named to the squad.
The Red Bulls hadn't played an MLS match since a May 23rd draw with Chivas USA.
They were without their two designated players in striker Thierry Henry and defensive midfielder Rafa Marquez due to injuries.
The Fire are next in action on Saturday when they play host to the Columbus Crew. The Fire lost 2-1 on the road to the Crew on May 26.
Starting XI: Johnson, Gargan, Anibaba, Berry, Segares, Pause (C), Pardo, Nyarko, Grazzini ('61), Pappa ('85), Oduro ('76)
Substitutes: Tornaghi, Jumper ('85), Paladini, Robayo ('76), Puppo, Barouch, Rolfe ('61)
New York Red Bulls
Starting XI: Meara, Barklage ('71), Holgersson, Conde, Miller ('46), Pearce, Solli, McCarty ('89), Lindpere, Richards, Cooper
Substitutes: Vuolo, Keel, Borrajo, Palsson ('89), Ballouchy ('46), Arteaga, Lade ('71)