April 7, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (April 7, 2013) - The Chicago Fire (1-3-1; 4 points) defeated Eastern Conference foes New York Red Bulls (1-2-2; 5 points) 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Red Bulls found an early, 17th minute goal from Jamison Olave but the Fire were propelled by a Daniel Paladini equalizer and Maicon Santos brace for their first victory of the 2013 season.
The visitors opened scoring in the 17th minute when Juninho's corner kick found Tim Cahill at the far post. The Australian headed the ball across the goal to Jamison Olave. With his back towards goal, the Colombian defender volleyed the into the side netting to put Red Bull ahead 1-0.
The Fire looked to catch a break in the 24th minute when Jonny Steele was called for handball in the penalty box after Jeff Larentowicz's long-range effort knocked the Northern Irishman's hand. Rolfe lined up the ensuing penalty kick but pushed his effort went wide left of goal.
The Fire found the equalizer minutes before halftime. Hunter Jumper pounced on a weak Red Bulls clearance on the left flank and swung a cross into the six-yard-box. Paladini shook his defender and got on the end of the cross, snapping his header down ahead of Red Bull 'keeper Luis Robles for the 44th minute equalizer.
In the 69th minute, second half substitute Thierry Henry carried the ball to the top of the arc and unleashed a left-footed blast from that rattled the post. Peguy Luyindula was unable to connect with the rebound and the Fire defense cleared the ball out to safety.
The Fire found the game-winner in the 83rd minute. Paladini won the ball in the center circle and played Maicon Santos into the box on the left. The crafty Brazilian received the ball, cut it back losing his defender, and coolly side-footed under Robles into the goal.
Santos completed his brace in the 89th minute. Paladini took the Fire free kick 40 yards from goal and found Larentowicz at the far post. The midfielder headed it across the face of goal to Santos, who tapped it for a final score of 3-1.
The Fire next face two-time MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday, April 14 at 4:00 p.m. CT (UniMas/107.9 La Ley). The Fire return to Toyota Park when they host the Columbus Crew on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com.
* The Fire are 23-12-9 all-time against the New York Red Bulls, and 13-3-6 in matches played on at home. * Sunday marked the 100th career MLS Regular Season appearance for the Fire's Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere and the 150th MLS Regular Season appearance for Fire forward Chris Rolfe.
* Fire captain Logan Pause made his first appearance of the 2013 season. Pause missed the first three matches of the year with a quadriceps injury and was an unused sub in the team's 4-1 defeat to Chivas on March 24.
* Hunter Jumper made the first start of his professional career and assisted on Paladini's 44th minute equalizer.
* Santos' goal in the 83rd minute was the 700th MLS Regular Season goal for the Fire. His 89th minute strike marked the fourth multi-goal game of his MLS career.
* Corben Bone made his first appearance of the 2013 season when he entered the match in the 87th minute for Chris Rolfe
Quotes: Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On getting the first win of the season
"It was important for us obviously and also for the team. For me, more than anything, I never lost belief in the group and neither did our team. The important thing is that we kept working hard. The group is united. There is a belief. It was important not only to play well but to get the win. I give my team a lot of credit. We have a long way to go, but the effort, the attitude, the work goes in every day. I feel great about the team and their effort today. We played good soccer. Again, giving up an early goal and missing some chances was disappointing. Second half we continued to play well and defended well. It was a great win."
On the play of Daniel Paladini
"I would say we had good days from the whole team. I felt Danny [Paladini] and Joel [Lindpere] had good games. But more than anything, the whole group was great, the attitude was good. It's been like that from the beginning. The start was disappointing but we know it's a long season. The things we have to focus on are what we can control, our attitude or work that we put in every day and we did. Danny has been a guy with quality. When we have called on him to step in, he has done it. He's a guy that is pushing because he needs to be on the field and play. You want guys like that whether they are on or off the field, when they get a chance to contribute they do. That's the depth we are trying to create in the team. He had a very good game today."
On the win relieving pressure on the team
"No, I just feel good about the team. Myself, when you are a professional coach you know the situation you are stepping into. For me being with this group every day, we know the quality in this group and what we had shown so far. We feel good because when you win, a lot of things are solved and the pressure is gone. Sometimes you try too hard and I could see with the guys, they really cared. I think sometimes keeping it simple is the most important thing. For me, this organization has been fantastic to me, from the owner to the fans. When I leave, I think what more can I do, because we have a great group and I care a lot of this organization. It feels great but we have a long way to go, this is a stepping stone. We got to take the next step now. This week hopefully we can get everyone healthy and have more competition for the Houston game to see who is going to step on the field. It was great and important, but we have to be on an even keel. When things weren't going our way, nothing changed. I know there was a lot of panic by a lot of people but with us it's even keel. We won one game, now it gives us more energy to work harder. I'm happy about this group. They put a lot into it and they do every day. I feel great. I have a belief in these guys. I think it's one stepping stone and we have the quality to be playing well in every game and put ourselves in a position to win."
On Logan Pause's return and the possibility of Arne Friedrich returning to the pitch
"When guys like that are out it hurts. With Logan, not even having him around, a guy that has been here from the beginning, he knows what an honor it is to put on that Fire jersey and he doesn't take that for granted. You miss his leadership and his ability to communicate. You can just see today my voice is a lot better than it was in previous games because he does a lot of that. Even with Arne and other veteran players we brought in, they got to find their way with the team. It was great to have him back. I think our block in the midfield defended well. There was a moment when we lost our way after a New York substitution, but everyone made it very hard for them to penetrate. I think everything starts from there because we wanted to keep it simple and just little steps. Arne has been training. I think he looks really good unless there are setbacks. With Houston, we will take it a day at a time. [Arne] trained today even with the guys who didn't suit up him, Dilly and Patrick. I'm hoping Tuesday he will be full go with the team."
On Maicon Santos' brace
"I think he always has been considered with our starters. The first game Maicon started over MacDonald. You guys saw that, a lot has to do with games and with what you don't see with the training every day. A lot of the guys that come, they see the competition every day. We take the games and the work that goes in all week, the preparation and the form the guys are in. I had no issue putting in Maicon in the first game. We are trying to build a competitive team and everybody knows that the goals would have meant nothing if we didn't win. I think that is the type of team character that we have. We have that kind of mentality and that's what makes me happy. I feel happy for the team with the win, and sometimes things can be cruel, but things change. It's not always going to be going the wrong way. You just have to focus on the little things and things we can control. I think this group has and is going to continue to do so all the way to the end."
Daniel Paladini, Chicago Fire midfielder
On the result
"We came in with a game plan not to give a goal up, it happened, but I think that we matured as a team today. It was probably the most fun I've had in a long time. It was a great team effort and everyone played well. We've been putting in the effort at practice, it hasn't shown in games but this game went our way. It was a team effort and every one of us played well. We all believe in ourselves and the coaches believe in us. We had a team meeting this week, it was a positive meeting and things have changed for the better. We have a good team here, we might not have the New York superstars, but we have a good, solid team. "
On coming back after the missed PK
"When he [Rolfe] missed the penalty kick, it seemed like that's our season right now. Leading up to that we were dominating, we got that penalty and we thought that it was our opportunity to get back in the game, but fortunately got a goal before halftime and that was a relief. "
On his goal
"I told Hunter [Jumper] that he played a perfect ball, but the only reason I made the run was because the wind caught it and I knew that I was going to get there before the goalie."
Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire Goalkeeper
On the result
"Most importantly, getting a victory is what we set out to do. We came out fighting hard, battling and just doing whatever it took today is what everyone was focused on. To do it in the fashion we did shows that things are coming together both offensively and defensively. It was a great team effort and we did a fantastic job coming out to get three points, which is what we set out to do."
On the missed penalty kick
"In those moments you count on your team to have your back, and everyone had his back. Situations happen in a game that are beyond your control - a goal is scored, a PK is missed, but we stayed focused throughout the 90 minutes and everyone stayed committed to getting the three points and getting the job done. I give a lot of credit to the team for their never say die attitude, that's how we've always been and I think it shows our character. I'm very happy for Maicon [Santos] and Danny [Paladini] for getting some goals, hopefully we can use this going forward to build some momentum to carry on and have a good season."
Hunter Jumper, Chicago Fire Defender
On his assist
"I wanted to whip it in a little bit harder, but I'll take it because I think the wind held it a bit which confused the goalie. Maybe he could have been able to punch it away if it wasn't for the wind. Danny [Paladini] read it perfectly and was able to head it in."
On his start
"It's great to get the start and play with the guys. It's an incredible locker room, everyone makes you feel comfortable, and on the field everyone makes me feel confident so it was an easy transition especially offensively. "
Logan Pause, Chicago Fire Midfielder and Captain
On the result
"It feels really good to be back, but more than anything getting our first win of the year and getting that monkey off our back feels even better. This was a fantastic team effort to get three points against a conference rival at home."
On Paladini's performance
"I think he's a fantastic player; I've said that and I've believed that since he walked in the door. I'm so happy for him that his hard work and determination is really paying off. It's been a tough couple of years trying to get into the lineup and I think he's playing the best soccer of his career right now and producing. "
Maicon Santos, Chicago Fire Forward
On getting the much-needed win
"It's not good for me, it's good for the whole team. It's nice to get three points at home."
On the win taking the pressure off
"We didn't have that much pressure. We just knew we were going to get there. That's why we've been working every day."
On needing a few minutes to pick up a rhythm
"Everyone knows when you enter into the second half- you have to deal with people who are [already] warm. It's kind of hard to come into the second half and compete against people who are warm. It's normal. "
On his second goal
"Yeah, we have practiced that every morning, every day. Sending in crosses from far post and finding people to send it to goal."