Led by Mike Magee, the Fire carries a two-game winning streak into a key match against Toronto FC. The Fire then will finish the regular season on the road against the Red Bulls. | AP
Updated: October 27, 2013 10:08PM
The excitement was intense; the subsequent fall proved hard and deep.
Forward Mike Magee buried a rebound into the bottom right corner in the sixth minute Sunday against the New York Red Bulls. The Fire highlights abruptly ended there.
Red Bulls star forward Thierry Henry answered in the 24th minute, and the Fire surrendered a season-high five goals in a 5-2 loss in Harrison, N.J., that left it out of the playoffs.
The Fire (14-13-7, 49 points) started the day with a chance to snare third place and an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals after Toronto FC upset the Montreal Impact 1-0 on Saturday night.
Instead, the nightmare scenario played out.
Needing only a draw to qualify for the playoffs, the Fire tumbled into sixth place and out of the postseason for the third time in four years.
The Red Bulls captured the Supporters’ Shield for top point total in the league and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs
The New England Revolution and the Houston Dynamo won Sunday to claim the third- and fourth-place slots in the East.
The Fire had the same point total as the Impact but lost out on the tiebreaker.
Magee (21 goals) came up short in the race for the Golden Boot for top individual scorer. Forward Camilo Sanvezzo had a hat trick in the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids to finish with a league-best 22 goals.
“This is going to hurt for a while,” Magee said.
“It’s cool to score goals and all, but you play the game to lift the trophy and to kind of come that close after so much work just to get ourselves back in a spot to have a chance at making the playoffs — to be honest, it’s heartbreaking.”
Fire keeper Sean Johnson had four saves, but he was under siege.
Forward Peguy Luyindula had three assists for the Red Bulls.
New York defender Ibrahim Sekagya scored on a set piece in the 49th minute to break the 1-1 tie.
Midfielder Lloyd Sam drilled a left-footer from outside the box seven minutes later to give the Red Bulls a 3-1 lead.
Midfielder Quincy Amarikwa blasted in a header on a cross from Joel Lindpere in extra time for the Fire’s other goal.
“We had some chances, and if we could have gotten the second goal, that could’ve changed things a little bit,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said.
“In the first half, we definitely had our chances to score another goal. In the second half, when we had possession, we just turned it over in bad spots, and once they went two, three up, we knew the score. We knew the results of the other games, and we had to push the game.”