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Post-Match Chalkboard: They're Still In It!

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A look at Chicago's 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City from the Opta Chalkboard.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After swallowing a difficult defeat in New England last weekend, the Chicago Fire took down first place (at the time) Sporting Kansas City without head coach Frank Klopas and starting center back Bakary Soumare, who were both serving out one game suspensions. With the Houston Dynamo getting blown out by the Montreal Impact, and the New England Revolution only two points ahead in the standings, the door to the playoffs has just opened a little bit more for the Fire.

Egidio Arévalo Rios

 photo riosDefending_zps8cc78935.pngThe first game in New England from Arévalo Rios was pretty good. In his second game wearing Fire red, he took his game up a notch. On the night he had 4 tackles, 4 interceptions, 10 recoveries and 7 clearances.

Thankfully, it sounds like Arévalo Rios will be around for the game against Houston before going off to join the Uruguay National Team for World Cup Qualifying. One of the keys in Montreal's victory over Houston this weekend was to block up the middle of the field. Patrice Bernier and Hernán Bernardello made playing through the middle very difficult for Houston. Arévalo Rios is going to be a key in beating the Dynamo next weekend.

Kansas City Pressure

In the first half of the game, Chicago's counter attack was posing a problem to Kansas City. To combat this, Kansas City began to pressure Chicago higher up the field to keep the ball in Chicago's half and to cut off the counter attack before it began.

 photo SKCHighPressSecondHalf_zps9852ef5d.png

In the first half, Sporting Kansas City had 4 interceptions and 6 recoveries in Chicago's half of the field. In the second half, Kansas City logged 7 tackles, 3 interceptions and 11 recoveries.

The Chicago Forwards

Chicago's forwards had a quiet night, but they were productive. Both Chris Rolfe and Mike Magee each only took one shot in the game. Magee blasted a shot from close range that Nielsen knocked away, and Rolfe put a shot wide of the net on a break away. Even though they weren't taking many shots, Magee and Rolfe were creating them for their team mates. The two of them combined for 5 key passes and an assist.

Juan Luis Anangonó made his presence felt with 3 shots in his short 21 minutes on the field. He had 2 headers off target and one beautiful volley that could have put the Fire up by two if it wasn't for Jimmy Nielsen.

That was a nice display of skill by Anangonó. Overall, I feel like he did much better against Sporting Kansas City. Hopefully he will show more skill like he did in the above highlight as he gets more comfortable with his new team.