Professional Soccer

Chicago Fire Snaps FC Dallas’ Five-Game Winning Streak with 2-0 Result at Toyota Park

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire snapped Western Conference power FC Dallas’ five-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Designated Players David Accam and Shaun Maloney on Sunday at Toyota Park.

FC Dallas entered the match with the most points-per-game of any MLS side, but the Fire scored early in the first half and doubled their lead late in the second to pick up three points as they continued to push back into the Eastern Conference MLS Cup Playoff race.

Accam netted his sixth goal of the season just four minutes into the match. The Ghanaian Designated Player ran onto a pass from strike partner Jason Johnson, beat an FC Dallas defender and then slotted his shot between goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s legs.

Chicago had a chance to add to its lead in the 77th minute. Matt Polster laid a pass off for Razvan Cocis inside the 18-yard box and the Romanian midfielder crushed a shot toward the upper corner. If not for a leaping save from Kennedy, the Fire would have increased their lead sooner than the 85th minute.

The game changed moments later after Matthew Watson was given a straight red card for a hard challenge near midfield, reducing the Fire to 10 men.

Despite the disadvantage, Chicago pushed its lead to 2-0 thanks to a penalty-kick goal from Maloney. Accam carried the ball into the FC Dallas area on a counter attack before getting dispossessed heading toward goal. However, Kennedy Igboananike was first to the deflection and won the penalty after an FC Dallas defender tripped him while lunging for the ball. Kennedy guessed right, but Maloney’s shot sailed wide of the goalkeeper’s fingertips and into the net for his third goal of the season.

With the win, Chicago retains the Brimstone Cup – a trophy awarded to the winner of the Fire and FC Dallas series each season. With the two teams facing each other just once in 2015, the trophy was awarded to Chicago following the match.

The Men in Red return to action on Friday, Aug. 6 against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Kickoff is 10 p.m. CT on UniMas.

Highlights: http://bit.ly/1N3aBRH

Quotes:

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

Thoughts on the match

“Obviously, fantastic win for us. I think in the end to get a clean sheet was important. Under a little bit of pressure at the end from a very good team, they’ve won five in a row so coming in here was going to be tough but I thought we did enough to win the game. Possession wise, it doesn’t always mean everything, they had a pretty good possession game going but I felt we were pretty dangerous on the break and could of scored more. Just happy with the 2-0 win over a good side.”

On the importance of the clean sheet

“Anytime you can have a bit of adversity and come through it you feel good about yourself. I haven’t spoken to them, just sort of congratulated them individually, but collectively against a good side that pushing, with great players on the field for them, we got it done. Sean made some good saves at the right time, some great blocks from our defenders, great tracking from midfield to try and stop their attacks, and to be honest they gave us chances to see off the game earlier but we didn’t. Overall, very happy for the guys getting through that and hopefully that will help us moving into the rest of the season.”

On if the team could have had this type of performance earlier in the year

“I’ve said many times that when we have our team we’re pretty good, and tonight you saw our guys. Whether you like it or not, they’re our difference makers, David, Shaun, Jeff to a certain extent. He’s not one of the top guys but he’s very good at his job. I think once you have them all on the field and you can start to get a bit of a rhythm you see the team. We’ve had a lot of the guys out for a lot of extended time, and they’re out together. The last thing I do is make excuses, its realism though. I feel comfortable with this team against anybody, yeah we rolled with the punches tonight against a good team that’s going to attack us and open us up, but I thought we could have scored five goals on the break, should of, so that’s good. So, it is what it is through the season, yeah we haven’t won enough games, but I know why. I think we proved tonight we aren’t a bad side, against a very good team in Dallas. I thought we deserved to win.”

On keeping the pressure on during the second half

“Yeah, probably not to go back to the players again, but when David is on the field it’s a little scary for the opposition so they never really venture too far forward and leave him 1 v 1 because he’s gonna score. So they always leave 2 or 3 back, it doesn’t always push us right to the limit when they attack, so I think just having the personnel on the field to do that and the belief. David is a very confident guy, when you speak to him he knows he’s good, and he says it, which is good, because that’s what makes him good. Shaun is the same, quietly, but he knows he’s a good soccer player. In that moment, Shaun took the penalty kick and scored it when we needed it. If he would have missed it I think we could have been in trouble, they could have gotten back in it, but we got the penalty kick and he scored it and saw it through. So I think personnel, belief, and when we have our guys on the field we’re a decent side. I’m not saying we’re great, but we’re not bad and I think that’s important to know.”

On the return of Lovel Palmer as right back and if the performance of the defense affects the team’s desire to add a defender before the transfer window closes

“I thought the back four and even the four midfielders in front of them were excellent. We worked a lot on shape, working on getting in the right spots and staying with runners, especially against a team like Dallas, who have tons of pace and tons of ability and very inventive around the goal. I thought we did a fantastic job, maybe up to the last 15 minutes when we were down a man and they started to really press, I thought we did a good job. Especially first half we were staying with runners and doing a really good job. Yeah, the transfer window is closing we are still looking at some options but again it is not easy to sign guys right now. Big thing for us we are still looking and still trying to improve the team and if we can we will, we will look at that. I thought we defended very well tonight as a group, especially back four and goalkeeper.”

On Matthew Watson’s red card

“He probably had a red. Hopefully, he doesn’t get an extra game, which I don’t think he deserves. He was going for the ball and doesn’t quite clip the fellow but exposes the bottom of his foot and you cannot do that anymore. Like I said to him, I like that you didn’t pull out of it and you tried to win the ball and maybe went in a little hard and a little high but you know he was trying to the right thing. Matt is an honest kid and he felt bad after but we got through it and so be it. He is okay but I think it was a red card, yeah.”

On having David Accam tucked underneath a target striker

“Yeah, we worked with the coaching staff, we felt Dallas plays there full back very high and we wanted to get him in to the play. So the plan was to have David hovering around underneath with Sean on the left and we they would burst out to goal, I think it worked with three. We could spread and bring him and then he was off, so it is another position David can play and he has played there in Sweden. He is better on the left, I think for us or that underneath striker in those two spots. Just in tactics for tonight I felt like that was the correct move for us to move him there and Sean is a hard working kid who is going to do his thing. I just think we give up possession to catch him on the break and it worked.”

On the return of Jeff Larentowicz after a long layoff

“Jeff has trained probably for three days full and in four or five weeks he has been out, something like that. Fantastic a captain performance, it looks like he hasn’t lost and he steps right in and plays the game. Good players can do that, Jeff is a fit kid who works hard and he has worked very hard with our fitness coach and you get into this level to go against a team who is pretty good. And he did very well tonight; Eric Gehrig is done really well next to him. They stood well together and didn’t want to get beat.”

Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire defender

On the importance of closing out the game

“It was good. All week, we talked about team shape. Dallas are a good team; they have a lot of movement, a lot of speed, and can make tricky plays that put players in behind you. But we did well as a team, even as Matt [Watson] got sent off, we kept those blocks of four tight, and did well to close out the game.”

On returning from injury

“I felt good. I could have played a few weeks ago, but I feel good.”

On his work with fellow centerback Eric Gehrig

“Good, good, we’re buddies off the field. We’ve got a good relationship, we can say anything to each other, and we can work well with each other. I thought today was really good from him.”

On beating a top side in MLS play

“I put that maybe [top] 5 on the list. For us, these two weeks were huge for us. It was a home game that we needed to win. It’s another game that makes it a couple games unbeaten in the league, now we have to keep going. They’re a really good team. Like I said, we prepared for them, so we’re happy with the win; but closing out a game like that, pushing at the end, having a shutout, a lot of good things we did.”

On getting confidence from this match

“From sitting out and watching games, I see a lot of good stuff from our guys. When you don’t get the results, you feel like you’re not playing well, but over the course of a game, we do a lot of good things. It’s good, I think that we can build on it for sure. There’s certainly things we need to improve, but I think we felt well, we stuck together, a lot of things that whether you play good or bad, you can usually get a result.”

On the importance of a shutout

“At halftime, our coach said, ‘we get a shutout, we win the game, how many times have I said that this year?’ It’s been a couple, and I think we followed it through. There was a bit of adversity with Matt being sent off, but like I said, we filled in those blocks of four, and we were tough to break down. It’s certainly something we can continue to do.”��/span>

David Accam, Chicago Fire midfielder

On gaining momentum

“It felt great. For me, I know we have a good team. We needed to cut in behind their back four, and that’s what we did. We started the game really well, and it paid off.”

On the team gelling together

“For me, we have a lot of quality and talent in this team. We just need to get our things right and keep working hard. I think this win can push us to great things.”

On his speed and technique

“I need to do my part for my team, and if I need to use my speed or anything else, I’ll use it for my team.”

On playing a different role than the wing

“I don’t know, I love to play different positions, and I’m good at playing different positions. When the coach told me, I said yes. If I have to do it for the team, why not?”

On playing with forward Jason Johnson

“I know JJ is a really good player, he’s strong, got a good left foot, so it felt good playing with him. We did the same in Columbus, and it almost paid off, so I’m happy it paid off today.”

On the opening goal

“To be fair, when I got the ball, I was trying to find our player, but there was no one around me. One needs to be positive, and I took the shot.”

On new Fire signee Gilberto

“To be fair, I don’t really know him, but I’ve seen video and highlights of him. He loves this, and of course, we need help, so it’s good that we have a new player coming to us.”

MLS Regular Season

Chicago Fire (6-11-4, 22 pts.) 2:0 FC Dallas (11-6-5, 36 pts.)

Aug. 2, 2015 – Toyota Park

Attendance: 14,209

Scoring Summary:
CHI – David Accam (Jason Johnson) 4′
CHI – Shaun Maloney (penalty kick) 85′

Misconduct Summary:
DAL – Mauro Diaz (caution) 35′
DAL – Tesho Akindele (caution) 48′
DAL – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 76
CHI – Matt Watson (ejection) 79′

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson, Lovel Palmer (Matthew Watson 68′), Eric Gehrig, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Joevin Jones, Harry Shipp, Razvan Cocis, Matt Polster, Shaun Maloney, David Accam (Patrick Nyarko 88′), Jason Johnson (Kennedy Igboananike 66′).

Subs not used: Jon Busch, Greg Cochrane, Adailton, Michael Stephens

Shots: 11; Shots On Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Fouls: 16; Corner Kicks: 5; Offsides: 4.

FC Dallas: Dan Kennedy, Atiba Harris, Zach Loyd, ©Matt Hedges, Ryan Hollingshead (Moises Hernandez 82′), Fabian Castillo, Victor Ulloa (Rolando Escobar 58′), Kellyn Acosta, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, David Texeira (Tesho Akindele 46′).  

Subs not used: Chris Seitz, Michel, Alex Zendejas, Walker Zimmerman

Shots: 13; Shots On Goal: 3; Saves: 4; Fouls: 11; Corner Kicks: 7; Offsides: 1.

ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
Founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club continues its 18th Major League Soccer season with six major domestic championship titles including the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 U. S. Soccer Open Cup, and 2003 Supporters Shield. Anchoring Chicago’s growing soccer fan base, the Fire play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., located 15 miles from Chicago’s Loop.  www.Chicago-Fire.com.