March 24, 2012
Kathryn L. Knapp
Fire plays as a unit for 90 minutes
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Just two games into the season, the Fire looks promising. Saturday night, they played together as a unit for 90 minutes, earning a convincing 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. They were solid from front to back and side to side. While there is always room for improvement, it’s fair to say the general consensus was it was a good start.
|Dominic Oduro scored the only goal the Fire needed against Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“The whole team was ready to play,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. “We were sharp from the beginning. With five in the middle, we knew our discipline had to be spot on. The first half we controlled the rhythm in the game. The second half we were sluggish, a bit casual. The momentum changed again. We were disciplined. It was a whole team effort.”
The Fire out shot Philadelphia 15-7, while forcing Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath to make five saves. In the first half, The Fire held Philadelphia to two shots, none of which caused too much concern. Second half, the Union turned up the heat throwing numbers at the net.
“Our game plan was to press from the beginning,” Fire defender Cory Gibbs said. “We were really solid tonight. We stayed focused for 90 minutes.”
The Fire didn’t waste any time pushing for a goal. The team fired four shots toward goal in the first 15 minutes, including two shots on goal, which MacMath saved.
“We clicked pretty well tonight,” Fire captain Logan Pause said. “The first half we were really dangerous. They didn’t have much of anything. As the game went on, we knew they were going to push. Everyone did a great job.”
Philadelphia didn’t give up. They threw everything they had at the Fire as the game was winding down. But Chicago held strong on the backline. Fire newcomer Paolo Tornaghi was tough to beat. Tornaghi grabbed a freekick and then blocked a second potent shot in a three-minute span.
“We were under pressure,” Tornaghi said. “We did a great job defending. We were somewhat lucky, but in this game, you have to have some luck.”
The Fire’s defense stopped the other opportunities, making it difficult for Philadelphia to perform offensively. The Fire didn’t give up on scoring either, pushing until the final minutes of injury time. The Fire didn’t find a second goal, but was able to preserve their 1-0 win.