August 22, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
Fire streak over with 4-2 loss to DC
WASHINGTON, DC---The ground between the Chicago Fire and the other teams in the hunt for a playoff spot in the MLS East is still shifting. The Fire found that out the hard way Wednesday night, as their three-game winning streak and four-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of DC United 4-2 at R.F.K. Stadium.
|Gonzalo Segares, here robbing DC United's Nick DeLeon of a first-half scoring opportunity, gave the Fire hope with a goal in the 75th minute of Wednesday's 4-2 loss at RFK Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The loss didnít change the Fireís spot in the table, but it put DC just a point back of them in fifth place in the East with a 12-8-4 record and 40 points. Chicago falls to 12-8-5 with 41 points.
Dwayne De Rosario gave DC United the lead in the 19th minute, in his well-known goal poacher fashion. Chris Pontius worked his way to the edge of the Fire penalty area and sent a grass cutter skittering through the area. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson came out to try to cut off the cross, but could not get to it. De Rosario was waiting at the left post ready to poke it in for his sixth goal of the season.
It looked like DC would go into the half with a 1-0 lead, but the Fire managed a nice buildup from midfield with Sherjill MacDonald making a run down the middle of the field and dishing the ball off to Marco Pappa, who was near the edge of the penalty area. Pappa fed the ball to Daniel Paladini for the finish past DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
But the half didnít end in a tie. DC quickly answered just seconds later. Andy Najar controlled the ball down the right wing and sent a beautifully-timed cross to the opposite post, where recently-acquired striker Lionard Pajoy went up for the header and nodded the ball past Johnson for his first DC goal.
United increased their lead to two goals in the 51st minute, following a corner kick. The ball was cleared out of the penalty area, where Chris Korb picked it up some 35 yards out on the left side. He lobbed a soft high ball to the opposite side of the area, and Brandon McDonald turned his head just enough to gently direct it inside the left post.
Chicago didnít give up the fight, and pulled within one in the 75th minute. Pavel Pardo teed up a long free kick from the right side about 35 yards out and sent a ball floating to the far side of the area. As he was falling down, Gonzalo Segares got his head on the ball and sent it to the inside of the right post.
But De Rosario helped put the final nail in the Fireís coffin in the 89th minute, slipping a ball from near the end line on the right side to second half sub Long Tan, who put it past the exasperated Johnson.
The Fireís chances were few and far between, with only two shots in the first half other than the goal, and the only test for Hamid coming in the 39th minute, when the Ďkeeper bobbled a corner kick by Pardo before finally grabbing it.
With the Fire trailing by two, Pappa decided to try from distance in the 54th minute, but his 30-yard blast hit the right post.
DC had the better opportunities in the first half, with their goal scoring trio of De Rosario, Pajoy and Pontius forcing Johnson to stay on his toes as he faced 10 shots in the half.
DC started testing Johnson early. Marcelo Saragosa started it off in the second minute with a 30-yard blast, that the keeper, easily handled. Four minutes later, Pajoy got his toe on a difficult ball into the penalty area, but Johnson handled it easily.
Chicagoís 23-year-old keeper, who just last week was part of Jurgen Klinsmannís squad for the historic win over Mexico, had a momentary miscue in the 16th minute on a ball into the area by Korb, but he managed to control it before Pajoy could get to it,
The Fire defense seemed to have some communications problems and it nearly cost them in the 63rd minute, when DC got in on a breakaway. Johnson was yelling instructions at his defender s as Pontius was getting open in the area. His snap header was grabbed by Johnson.
Johnson came up with two big saves late in the game, stopping a point blank shot by De Rosario in the 76th minute, then doing it again a minute later.
In the 84th minute, Johnson reacted quickly to get a hand on a shot by Pontius, before it was eventually cleared out of the area.