On a relatively warm night south of Chicago, 14,810 Fire fans, (there were 5 Quakes jerseys I saw) saw the Fire pull a San Jose on San Jose. Bear with me for a minute and let me explain. The Chicago Fire give up an early goal. And it was a particularly flukey one, too. The Fire then scored two goals to take the lead back, as Fire fans have grown accustomed to. San Jose then scores the equalizer, on an own goal no less. And finally, the Fire would take the lead again in the last 10 minutes to win it. Got it?
A big part of that roll reversal was Dilly Duka, who continued his run of form, being involved in goals in his last four games. He had the Fire's first real chance on goal, hitting a shot wide off a Nyarko cross on the ground. He was also the one who tied the game up to get the team going. Bakary Soumare and Patrick Nyarko played some nice one touch passes to free up Gonzalo Segares along the sideline. Super Sega played it on to Duka, and after he took a weird first touch, Dilly proceeded to chop it on the ground over Earthquakes net minder John Busch.
"I feel like everything is just going well right now. In a sports career it's all about moments, it's a marathon so you have to stay positive and keep going. I feel like we're just in a good situation right now and playing confidently." Dilly said after the game.
His assist on the Fire's second goal was phenomenal as well. Almost as the second half started, Gonzalo Segares lobbed a pass into the left corner right on to Duka's foot. He danced around a lunging Steven Beitashour, and hit a low cross toward the six yard box, where Patrick Nyarko put it in the back of the net to get his second goal in as many games. "Dilly has a lot of qualities and ability" said Frank Klopas as he addressed the media post game. "You have seen some of the qualities that he has but right now he is doing so well. Not only his ability to make good decisions, hold the ball, and be dangerous. He is a great one-on-one player where he can beat defenders but now his ability, like the goal he scored, on the weak side making those runs, getting in position and following the play...but he's only going to get better."
Patrick Nyarko also had to be subbed out for the second time in as many games. The most fouled player in the game was once again forced off early, this time with hamstring tightness. Fortunately, however, it looked to be precautionary. Klopas updated the media on his status by saying "He didn't tweak it or anything like that but we will have a better idea in the next couple of days. When he walked off and I talked to him he seemed to feel like he didn't tweak anything but he was really tight to the point where maybe another sprint [could have made it worse]."
All that glitters wasn't gold for the Men in Red however, as they gave up two goals, both of which seemed to be preventable. Unfortunately these defensive gaffes are becoming a running theme these past couple of months. The first was a rebound header from Alan Gordon to himself. In the 14th minute, off the second ball in after a set piece, Alan Gordon broke through Baky Soumare and headed the ball over Paolo Tornaghi and off the crossbar. The ball bounced back onto his forehead and in to the net.
The second looked to have been put in by Jason Hernandez off of [surprise] another set piece; this one a corner kick. However, upon further review, it was called an own goal, as it went of the foot of Hernandez into the noggin of second half substitute Joel Lindpere, and from there, past a diving Tornaghi and into the back of the net.
Despite this, the important thing is at the end of the day, the Fire burned on. And of course it was Fire legend Mike Magee (safe to say, right?) and Chris Rolfe who put the three points in the home team's pocket and the nail in the coffin for the pesky San Jose side. Magee extended his point streek to eight games with a brilliant pass into the path of a streaking Rolfe, who put it neatly into the goal in front of the Harlem End.
This was another big win for the Fire, who improved to 6-7-3 with 21 points. They're just two back of the final playoff spot and the Huston Dynamo, and are 9 back of east leading Montreal. The Fire next play Sunday against Sporting KC at Toyota Park. It's also just so happens to be Austin Berry bobble-head day. Here's to hoping for a packed and rocking Toyota Park for the nationally televised game against the Sporks.
(Game Summery courtesy of Chicago-Fire.com)
Chicago Fire 3 - 2 San Jose Earthquakes
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko (Joel Lindpere 64'), Jeff Larentowicz ©, Alex (Daniel Paldini 79'), Dilly Duka (Maicon Santos 87'); Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Wells Thompson, Michael Videira, Sherjill MacDonald
San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch; Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Brad Ring, Justin Morrow; Walter Martinez (Sam Garza 70'), Sam Cronin © (Marcus Tracy 86'), Rafael Baca, Mehdi Ballouchy (Dan Gargan 84'); Adam Jahn, Alan Gordon
Substitutes not used: David Bingham, Cordell Cato
SJ - Alan Gordon (unassisted) 14'
CHI - Dilly Duka (Gonzalo Segares) 36'
CHI - Patrick Nyarko (Dilly Duka) 47'
SJ - Own Goal (Joel Lindpere) 72'
CHI - Chris Rolfe (Mike Magee) 84'
CHI - Jeff Larentowicz (caution) 39'
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistants: George Gansner, Kermit Quisenberry
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos