Early in this fixture it looked as if Chicago might lose again. After going down 1-0 early though, Chicago battled back to a 3-1 win, taking three points away for a good New York Team. With the win, the Fire are granted a massive confidence boost with lots of football still left to play in the season. With this win a collective sigh of relief may be taken by the Chicago faithful, players and coaches.
Chicago went down early but they had a chance to come even in the 24th minute. Veteran Chris Rolfe sent his potentially equalizing penalty kick wide to the left side and relief was definitely not the subtext of the sighs at Toyota Park. After the game Chicago mid fielder Dan Paladini spoke aloud, what most Chicago fans were probably thinking when the ball came off of Rolfe’s foot. “When he missed that, it seemed like ‘that’s kind of our season right now.”
Chicago were lucky enough to equalize late in the first half and take some momentum into the locker room. This goal came off the foot of Paladini, my man of the season so far for Chicago, he described the goal, “I made the run, but he hit a perfect ball and the wind caught it. I knew I was going to get there before the goalie. So… home field advantage.”
Paladini was named man of the match after this week’s game, and rightfully so as he was involved in all three of Chicago’s goals. Coach Klopas agreed saying, “Danny’s got quality and when we’ve called him to step in, he’s done it.”
Chicago had a bit of a scare in the 69th minute when New York’s Thierry Henry sent a wonder blast heavy off the woodwork. This, however, seemed to be his only major chance as Chicago were able to keep him out of dangerous areas for the rest of the game.
Chicago substitute Maicon Santos wasted no time when only 20 minutes after taking the field, he took the lead for Chicago. In the 83rd minute, he put Chicago on top with a beautiful piece of footwork followed by a devilish piece of finishing sliding in the game winning goal. He also tucked home a goal off a set piece 5 minutes later to secure the three points for Chicago.
“It feels nice, not just for me but the whole team,” Santos said, “It feels nice to get three points at home and do that for the win. The two goals are a bonus for me. The team winning is the most important.”
A win like this can often get a team delusional, celebrating and thinking that everything is fixed. Coach Klopas won’t let hat happen.
“It was great and important, but we have to be even keel. When things weren’t going our way, we never changed. There was a lot of panic by a lot of people, but we won our game and its fantastic. Now it gives us the energy to work even harder.”
The team looks to the return of it still missing players. They hope to see the likes of Nyarko, Degares, Duka and Friedrich back as they head to Houston To take on the Dynamo this coming Sunday, April 14th.