August 21, 2012
Four-game streak, four-point edge on the line for Fire against DC on Wednesday
The Chicago Fire put their four-game unbeaten streak on the line Wednesday night when they head into the nation's capital for a game against Eastern Division rival DC United (6:30 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago).
|Marco Pappa and the Fire take on DC United Wednesday night at RFK Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The clubs are separated now by four points in the East, the Fire holding the edge and third place in the standings, ahead of fifth-place United. The Fire have won three games in a row to move ahead, coming off a 2-1 home win at the weekend vs. New England, while United are coming off a contentious 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia Union that snapped their seven-game RFK Stadium winning streak.
The Fire are coming off back-to-back wins in which Chris Rolfe contributed, first with a pair of goals against the Philadelphia Union, and then with a penalty kick after he was tackled in the area by New England defender AJ Soares this past Sunday.
For Rolfe, who re-joined the team in June after three years in Denmark, the increased playing time seems to be paying off.
“I talk to him all the time," said teammate Patrick Nyarko. "In the first couple weeks, he kept saying that he needed to get his feet under him. In three years, he had not played a lot. I thought he looked great in training. He didn’t think he was at his best. Having played consecutive games and getting back in game shape, now he seems to find the right spots. We know what he can do when he is in the right spots.”
Guatemalan playmaker Marco Pappa also is expected to play a larger role against DC than he did against the Revolution, when he saw limited duty after midweek national team commitments.
Because of MLS' unbalanced schedule, this is the first of only two meetings between the two squads this season.
The Fire went 1-0-1 against D.C. United in 2011. A 59th minute goal from Sebastian Grazzini was undone by Josh Wolff’s 73rd minute equalizer at Toyota Park on Aug. 18. Grazzini and Diego Chaves scored in stoppage time to snatch the 2-1 victory at RFK Stadium on Oct. 15. The Fire will close out the regular season against United on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Toyota Park.
D.C. United enter the match after a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium and will be without the services of Branko Boskovic and Emiliano Dudar on Wednesday after both players were ejected from Sunday's match. Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius spearhead the DC attack, and the team recently picked up Colombian striker Lionard Pajoy from Philadelphia.
United has not fallen at RFK Stadium since March 10, 2012, a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.