Wednesday’s result: Fire 3, Earthquakes 2
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media July 3, 2013 10:20PM
Updated: August 5, 2013 6:47PM
The Fire isn’t giving away any secrets when it says it hesitates to play balls in the air on the offensive end.
The team has one of the smaller lineups in the league and winning balls inside the penalty box often proves difficult against bigger back lines. That disadvantage makes any attempt at an aerial attack an ineffective way to try and score a goal.
So Wednesday when the Fire hosted the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park, the team was diligent switching the ball with strong passes in the Fire’s 3-2 win. All three Fire goals came via passes on the ground through the box.
With the win, the Fire has won five straight games in all competitions and hasn’t lost in nine games. The team’s last loss came on May 18 , a 1-0 setback in Philadelphia.
“The one thing we talked about was obviously looking to attack more out wide, just looking to switch play all the time,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said.
In typical fashion, the Fire (6-7-3, 21 points) found themselves constantly making up for mistakes with highlight-grabbing plays on the offensive end.
A mistimed jump by Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi resulted in the first San Jose goal in the 14th minute. Dilly Duka scored the equalizer in the 36th minute after taking a poor touch on a Mike Magee pass that went into the air. Patrick Nyarko then gave the Fire a 2-1 lead when he one-touched a Duka pass into the net in the 47th
Fire substitute Joel Lindpere scored an own goal in the 72nd minute and striker Chris Rolfe the game-winner in the 84th minute.
The Fire was uncharacteristically poor in its defending, but the offense was as fluid as it has been all season.
Rolfe has scored three goals in the last two games after struggling at the start. It hasn’t been a coincidence that his resurgence has corresponded with the best offensive stretch of the season.
“We liked to make them move a little bit because they were zoning and I guess that worked really well in the end,” Rolfe said.
“Definitely starting to feel a little bit more like a forward. I feel like my runs are coming back a little bit, I’m getting a little bit smarter, my instincts are coming back.”