Put a pin in this date: Friday, April 24, 2015. An ordinary Friday in Chicagoland, by all reports; a little chilly, a little wet, but ... April 24. De riguer. Maybe you have a little scrap of paper. Maybe you write on that paper something like 'David Accam Day.'
You're not wrong.
The Fire's latest quicksilver Ghanaian burst into the limelight Friday, crackling into existence somewhere 2 feet beyond what the nearest defender thought possible. He scored the only goal, sure, but more than that, he demoralized and undermined a defense that had no answer to his lightning-bolt forays. Being a son of Zeus has its advantages.
The decider was a bit of nothing. New York keeper Ryan Meara - otherwise above reproach on an evening when he'd see a lot of work - tried to save his team a corner kick, scrambling out of goal to grab a ball on his right endline. Crucially, he didn't allow for the insane time-shifting nature of Accam's speed; at one moment he's here, about to grab a ball to keep it in play ... and then there's Accam, sort of blurring in, and it suddenly seems that there's just no time. He fluffs it, and Accam's there (naturally, freakin' teleporters), and it's a simple matter to stroke it home. 20 minutes in, and the Fire have a 1-0 lead; perhaps more importantly, they've got the advantage in Sons of Zeus, 1-0.
The stadium is very full, and Section 8 is in full throat. The Fire are on top. One of their number has been revealed as a demigod. Meanwhile, all around the men in sky blue, the opposite is true: They have this; we do not; there is no solution, and no recourse. 70 minutes remain.
It's hard to blame those who choose a simpler end. A bare 90 seconds after the goal celebrations ended, there was Accam, again, exploding with supernatural alacrity onto a loose ball, again. Who can blame the New York defense for what transpired? Someone had to do it; someone had to hack him down. The job fell to Andrew Jacobson. He did not fail. He did not play further. 23 minutes in, the Fire were up a man and a goal, all thanks to the lightning lord Accam.
Given this situation and this time, the Fire made a grand, frustrating spectacle of it. Meara was astonishing when needed, and the Fire profligate with the avalanche of chances and half-chances they created. The creative axis of Harrison Shipp and Shaun Maloney have found a comfortable partnership, with the American enganche occupying the deep left channel and the Scot spraying out wide right to find space; combined with the terrifying slashing of Accam and the canny hold-up play of Guly do Prado, the Fire were able to summon decent looks on goal again and again against a short-handed and reeling New York defense.
The visitors' best chance of the game was a rasping 22-yard drive from Mix Diskerud that Sean Johnson tipped over the Fire goal. A few forays forward showed promise - particularly Patrick Mullins' beautiful chest-trap sombrero over Jeff Larentowicz just after halftime - but the finish of that sequence was typical, the shot sailing yards high and wide of the goal. Meanwhile, the Fire kept the ball, probing patiently and creating chance after chance, kept out by Meara's brilliance, uninspired finishing and simple fate.
Chicago (3-3-0) has now won three in a row, and visits Sporting Kansas City on next Sunday, May 3, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. CDT. New York City (1-4-3) hosts Seattle the same day; kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.