Chicago Fire Win First Match of 2013 in 3-1 Victory Over New York
By Kim Tate
Chicago gave a stadium of 12,557 fans something to cheer about - sealing their first victory of the 2013 season. Daniel Paladini opened scoring for Chicago and found Maicon Santos twice in the second half to secure three points for the Fire in a 3-1 home win over the visiting New York Red Bulls.
The Fire played with no sense of urgency in the entire first half, not seeming to even know what to do with the ball. They found themselves down a goal in the 17th minute when a Juninho corner kick landed at the feet of Tim Cahill and Brandon Barklage to keep the ball in play. Jamison Olave eventually gained possession and aerobatically looped the ball into Sean Johnson's goal with an impressive backward kick. It was the defender's second goal of the season.
In the 24th minute, Jeff Larentowicz's shot hit the arm of Jonny Steele in the box, and the ref whistled for a handball which gave the Fire a chance to equalize. Sending New York 'keeper Luis Robles the wrong way, Chris Rolfe's shot went well wide.
New York almost got their second goal ten minutes later when Dax McCarty sent a solid header toward goal but Johnson made a diving save, denying New York of a 2-0 lead.
Right before halftime, Paladini's set of crosses into the box went unanswered by his teammates, but in the 44th minute he capitalized off a high cross from Hunter Jumper and headed the ball in from close range, putting a point on the board for Chicago.
Chicago seemed to handle the ball with much more savvy during the second half, and were particularly stronger and better on the counter attack. Their first second half chance came from Joel Lindpere, who almost gave Chicago their first lead of the season, when he dribbled his way through Olave and Heath Pearce before shooting, but his shot went barely wide of Robles.
In the 69th minute after subbing on for Jonny Steele, Theirry Henry shot powerfully and had Johnson beat, but the ball hit the post and bounced out. Peguy Luyindula was there for the rebound but couldn't seal the deal with a follow-up attempt.
In the final six minutes of the game, Daniel Paladini and Maicon Santos teamed up to give Chicago their second goal. Paladini passed to Santos, who faked his shot and cut back, losing Olave and finding his way into the box before a soft finish to beat Robles.
Five minutes later and just before the full time whistle, Larentowicz headed down a free kick to Paladini who connected with Santos again. The Brazilian finished with a far post goal to give the hosts a 3-1 lead and an eventual first victory of the season.
The Fire are now 1-3-1 ahead of traveling to Houston on Sunday, April 14th, where they face Houston Dynamo. They return to Toyota park on Saturday, April 20th to host Columbus Crew.
New York are now 1-3-2, and travel to face DC United on Saturday, April 13th before returning home to host Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, April 17th.
-Now in all 44 meetings between the two sides, Chicago boasts 22 wins and 71 goals, while New York has 12 wins and 49 goals. Both have tied nine times.
-In 22 meetings at Chicago, Fire have 13 wins and 40 goals; New York have three wins and 20 goals, six ties.
Kim Tate is a sports publicist and correspondent for Football.com. She covers MLS, US Soccer Men's and Women's National Teams, and writes various featured pieces. Follow on Twitter @KimTateSports