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Chicago Fire 3, DC United 0: First Thoughts

Business as usual for Chicago

MLS: D.C. United at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame Thought: Interesting to me that Drew Conner gets the start tonight. The former Wisconsin Badger has been restored to his signed position of central midfielder, but has been serving as a right back on-and-off so far this season. I’ll be interested to see how the youngster does against a hot team like D.C.

1- And we’re off!

1- The Beard comes up big! Campbell makes a perfectly timed slide tackle at the near post to stop a golden opportunity for Lloyd Sam and D.C. United.

3- This is Campbell’s sixth start of the season. A big change from the 30 that the North Carolina product had last season.

3- Another chance for Lloyd Sam! The winger made a charging run to the top of the box but can’t get enough behind his shot to beat Lampson, who makes the save easily.

5- David Accam goes charging into the box! But his attempted layoff bounces harmlessly towards goal.

8- Conner’s ball finds Luis Solignac at the back post, but the Argentine can only find the side netting. Much better from Chicago going forward now.

10- D.C. plays a teasing ball to the back post, but the Fire manage to clear away the knock down.

13- Nikolic hasn’t had too much to say so far in this one. He ended his goalless streak last time out, but let’s see if he can find some sense of consistency again.

15- Brando Vincent picks up an early yellow card.

16- How did Nikolic miss that.... Hamid makes an outstanding save, but the Hungarian really should be tucking away that squared ball from Accam. The Ghanaian did really well to create a chance there.

17- Hamid comes up big again for D.C.! That’s two saves in two minutes against Nikolic. The Fire’s leading scorer will be frustrated with himself for not scoring either of those chances.

18- Another chance for the Fire is wasted! This time a ball headed back across the face of goal is palmed away by Hamid and just would not fall for a player in red.

19- Broadcast reveals that Hamid is out of contract with D.C. United at the end of the season. I’m sure there’s a few other competitive MLS teams that would be interested in him... cough, cough.

21- Another slew of chances for the Fire! Accam’s shot is blocked and falls to Solignac. The Argentine hits a volley but Sam is able to deflect it behind for a corner.

22- GOOOOOOOAL CHICAGO! Bill Hamid is left dumbfounded as Ian Harkes heads a high, looping throw from Polster into his own goal. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?

26- D.C. has come to life since the goal. They look much sharper going forward and seem as if they won’t be beaten by their own mistakes.

28- Accam plays a cheeky ball from a corner kick to Polster at the top of the box, but the right back’s volley slices wide of the goal.

32- The Fire have lost just one game when scoring first this season.

33- Accam with a brilliant effort! Hamid punched the ball away at the top of the box, and King David hit a volley towards goal from 25 yards out, but pushed it wide of the post.

34- Paunovic looks stressed on the sideline. I’m sure a second goal for the Men in Red would ease some of those feelings.

35- Another save from Hamid! Alvarez’s ball finds Vincent at the back post, and Hamid tips it over the cross bar to prevent a followup chance.

36- Hamid comes up big again! Vincent hits another strike on the ensuing corner and the American goalkeeper is able to get a foot to it.

36- The Fire are really pressing now. McCarty gets his head on Chicago’s third consecutive corner but can only put it over the goal.

38- Arriola squares the ball across the box but can only find Jonathan Campbell. The Beard clears the ball out for a corner comfortably.

40- Sam tries to play Brown through, but Lampson does well to come off his line and clear.

45- Solignac really should have scored! The Argentine finds himself free at the near post and scoops his shot over the goal.

45- There’s the whistle! Chicago leads 1-0 at the break.

Halftime thought: It’s been a decent showing from Chicago so far, but the Fire should really be up by 3 goals. If they don’t come out and put the game to bed early in the second half, they may be disappointed in themselves at the end of the night. D.C. is a plucky team, and if you give them enough time, they’ll grab a goal.

46- The second half is underway!

46- A long strike from Acosta is saved by Lampson.

48- Paunovic has been warned by the official for a second straight match. Looks like he’s trying to get himself suspended.

52- What a save from Lampson! Acosta hits a sharp half-volley and Chicago’s goalkeeper comes up with a big save for the Men and Red.

54- King David with a chance! His strike from inside the box is blocked. Accam is really feeling himself tonight. I expect a goal will come for him.

57- Niko tries a back heel inside the area but no one is on the receiving end of it.

59- Jonathan Campbell steps across to block the ball out for another corner. The Beard is having one of his best performances for the Men in Red to date.

61- Another save from Hamid! Alvarez is able to cut the ball back to his left foot but the American international is able to make another big save!

62- GOOOOOOOOOOOAL CHICAGO FIRE! The pressure pays off for the Men in Red. A beautiful ball from Alvarez finds Vincent at the back post and the Stanford grad scores with a diving header!

65- Niko has dropped deep to receive the ball a lot this match. It’s good to see that his hunger to be on the ball hasn’t gone away.

69- A dangerous free kick coming for D.C. here. Acosta is fouled at the top of the box by Accam and United will have a chance to shoot from here.

70- A big save from Lampson there! A clever free kick leads to a good chance for the visitors. visitors

71- Here’s the first substitution of the game. Joao Meira enters the game for Arturo Alvarez.

72- Things just won’t happen for Solignac tonight! The Argentine steers his shot wide of the goal once again.

75- Sam let’s one fly from a tight angle but he can only find the seats behind the goal.

79- Here’s D.C. United’s first substitution of the game. Zoltan Stieber replaces Steve Birnbaum.

82- Accam is penalized in the attacking third.

83- Joao Meira makes a big tackle in the Fire’s own technical area as Acosta went charging towards goal.

84- D.C. makes a second substitution. 19-year-old Bruno Miranda replaces Paul Arriola.

86- Accam plays Niko into the box! But the Hungarian’s strike finds the side netting. A slight bit of hesitation cost the striker a real shot at his 18th goal of the season there.

89- Penalty! Solignac is brought down in the box.

90- GOOOOAL CHICAGO FIRE! Nikolic steps up and pounds home his 18th goal of the season. That ties Ante Razov’s club record for goals in a season.

91- The Fire make a second substitution. David Arshakyan replaces Nemanja Nikolic.

93- There’s the whistle!

Final Whistle Thought: This is a big result for the Fire. Niko grabbed another goal, and they got back to winning ways at Toyota Park. Their success at home is going to be critical come playoff time, and the Fire should be very satisfied with the result they earned tonight.