The New York Red Bulls have worried about slow starts all season, so when they managed to keep the Chicago Fire off the scoreboard in the first half on Saturday, there was hope for a team that had consistently struggled to take control of matches.
The Red Bulls didn't lose control of the match early on Saturday. They lost control in the second half as the Fire capitalized on their chances, with Sherjill MacDonald punishing the Red Bulls for a pair of goals to lead the Fire to a 2-0 victory at Red Bull Arena.
The victory helped the Fire return to second place in the East, while the Red Bulls' second home loss in three matches dropped them into fourth place with two matches remaining.
The Fire started the match well, controlling the action, but neither they or the Red Bulls could produce truly dangerous chances. The Red Bulls did a good job of pressuring the Fire in the first half, but could not translate into chances.
The Fire grabbed the lead in the 65th minute when Rolfe played in a perfect pass to MacDonald, who slipped in behind the Red Bulls defense to open the scoring. MacDonald added his second just 13 minutes later when Daniel Paladini played him through on a goal that looked close to being offside.
The Red Bulls never could mount a serious challenge to the Fire defense late in the match, and finished the day with just one shot on goal.
Both teams will be off until Oct. 20th, when the Red Bulls play host to first-place Sporting Kansas City, while the Fire take on struggling New England.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Fire's performance in the second half? Starting to wonder if the Red Bulls can avoid the wild card game? Think there's any doubt Hans Backe is gone at the end of the season?
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