A BRIDGEVIEW TOO FAR
Red Bulls fall at Fire, 3-1, extending their winless streak at Toyota Park
BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. -- Not even an officiating blunder could keep the Red Bulls from walking out of Toyota Park with another bitter taste in their mouths on Sunday.
|Dax McCarty was credited with the Red Bulls' lone goal.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Only four minutes after the Chicago Fire was denied a legitimate goal, the hosts tallied the go-ahead score en route to a 3-1 victory over the Red Bulls.
Costa Rican defender Gonzalo Segares put home his own rebound in the 68th minute, which broke a 1-1 deadlock for the Fire (6-5-3, 21). Second-half sub Chris Rolfe added an insurance goal for the hosts in the 81st minute.
The Red Bulls (8-4-2, 26), who had their six-game unbeaten streak snapped, continued their winless ways in the stadium, falling to 0-6-3. Striker Kenny Cooper also had his four-game goal streak snapped in the Red Bulls' first game after the World Cup qualifying break.
It was during a four-minute span in the second half in which the game reached its highest drama.
Rolfe set up former Red Bulls forward Dominic Oduro with a perfect through ball and the Ghanan raced in on goal in the 64th minute. With rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara out in an attempt to cut down the angle, the ball rolled toward an empty net. Center back Wilman Conde swooped in and tried to clear it out of harm's way. He did -- after the entire ball crossed the goal line. However, none of the four-man officiating crew did not see it and declared no goal, despite the Fire's protests.
In fact, Oduro was slapped with a yellow card by referee Baldomero Toldeo for dissent, even though he was correct.
Fire coach Frank Klopas said that from his view the ball was entirely over the line.
"That kind of lifted the team up," he told the NBC Sports Network afterwards. "It gave us an extra push."
Only four minutes later, however, the soccer gods smiled on the Fire. Meara blocked a shot from an overlapping Segares. The ball came out and the defender had little trouble slotting the ball home for the game-winner.
An unmarked Rolfe gave the hosts some breathing room, slotting home a two-yard shot with nine minutes remaining in regulation, his first goal in his second tenure with the Fire.
After the Oduro "goal" was not counted, Segares said the Fire's emotion was “frustration. It was a very hot day, we put a lot of numbers forward to push for another goal right after they tied it up – our emotions were up and down. The important thing is that we kept fighting and found two other goals."
The Red Bulls played without designated players Thierry Henry, the team's captain and striker, and Rafa Marquez, a midfielder-defender.
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe was able to use two players who had not seen the starting lineup in quite a while -- central defender Wilman Conde, who had missed the last nine MLS matches, and midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli, who sat out the past three games.
Little did their presence help the visitors early on as the Fire struck in the fourth minute. Sebastian Grazzini send a cross from the right flank to Nyarko, who beat left back Roy Miller and headed a six-yard shot into the upper left corner of the net past Meara for a 1-0 lead.
“The first twenty minutes were horrible, conceding an early goal," Backe said. "We didn’t show up the first twenty minutes. I can’t say fatigue or exhausted but there was no power in our actions.
Added Meara: "For whatever reason we came out a little flat and they punished us right away. It’s tough to play when it’s five minutes in and you’re already down a goal. It’s unacceptable to come out flat."
The Red Bulls' opportunities were few and far between in the opening half. Their best chance came in the 23rd minute when Joel Lindpere's attempt sailed over the net after Chicago failed to properly clear a corner kick.
With the first half winding down, Marco Pappa, whose 11th-hour free kick lifted Guatemala to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with the U.S. on Tuesday, fired a 25-yard effort wide of the mark.
As if he read the mind of many Red Bulls fans and media, Backe replaced the strugling Miller with Mehdi Ballouchy, who took on midfield responsibilities while Heath Pearce, who started the game at defensive midfield, moved to left back.
"Medhi did well and made a difference when he came on," Backe said.
Only a minute after Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson did well to knock away Kenny Cooper's 18-yard attempt, the Red Bulls equalized off a corner kick in the 55th minute.
Ballouchy started the scoring sequence, sending in a corner from the right side to McCarty, who managed to break free of his marker. One of the smallest players on the field, McCarty headed in the ball although it appeared center back Marcus Holgersson got a toe on it. However, the official scorer gave the goal to MCCarty. Moreover, the Red Bulls had equalized at 1-1.
"When we got the equalizer, I thought we were able to win the game but we looked too flat,” Backe said.
Added midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli: "When we actually made the equalizer we kind of stopped playing after that."
New York travels to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Wednesday night before returning home to host D.C. United next Sunday.
CHI: Patrick Nyarko 2 (Sebastian Grazzini 4) 4’
NY: Dax McCarty 2 (Mehdi Ballouchy 2) 55’
CHI: Gonzalo Segares 2 (unassisted) 68’
CHI: Chris Rolfe 1 (Patrick Nyarko 3) 81’
CHI: Dan Gargan (caution) 37’
CHI: Dominic Oduro (caution) 65’
CHI: Gonzalo Segares (caution) 79’
NY: Dane Richards (caution) 80’
New York Red Bulls (8-4-2, 26 points) – Ryan Meara (GK), Brandon Barklage (Connor Lade 71’), Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde, Roy Miller (Mehdi Ballouchy 46’), Heath Pearce, Jan Gunnar Solli, Dax McCarty (Victor Palsson 89’), Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Kenny Cooper
Substitutes Not Used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Borrajo, Jhonny Arteaga, Stephen Keel
Chicago Fire (6-5-3, 21 points) – Sean Johnson (GK), Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo, Sebastian Grazzini (Chris Rolfe 61’), Marco Pappa (Hunter Jumper 85’), Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Federico Puppo, Daniel Paladini, Orr Barouch
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
4th Referee: Jorge Luna Hernandez