March 29, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire
CHICAGO, Ill. (March 29, 2013) - Following a scoreless first half, the Chicago Fire were edged by Minnesota United FC 1-0 Friday morning on the Toyota Park Practice Field. Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas employed his first choice side to begin the game. Klopas made wholesale changes in the second half as 19 different Fire players saw the field in the friendly and Miguel Ibarra's goal in the 73rd minute proved the difference.
The Fire saw their closest scoring chance in the 17th minute. Wells Thompson won the ball on the right flank, muscled off his defender and swung a cross over to Sherjill MacDonald on the left side of the pitch. MacDonald took a touch and played a square ball to Maicon Santos at the top of the 6-yard box but the Brazilian's volley clanged off the crossbar.
The Fire continued to press and in the 21st minute, Corben Bone stole the ball inside the center circle and turned towards goal. The fourth-year midfielder sliced through the Minnesota defense and unleashed a shot from just inside the 18-yard box that curved wide.
Maintaining the lion's share of possession throughout the half, the Men in Red again threatened in the 35th minute. Thompson won the ball on the right flank and played the ball up the line to Patrick Nyarko. The fleet-footed Ghanaian found Santos at the top of the box. Santos laid the ball off to Rolfe but his shot went just wide of the post.
Following halftime, the Fire came out strong as they continued to search for the opening goal. In the 52nd minute, Thompson found MacDonald in the center of the pitch. The Dutchman played the ball in to the path of 2013 MLS SuperDraft pick Yazid Atouba, who was streaking down the touchline. Atouba drove in a cross to Santos at the top of the six yard box but his header was just off frame.
The visitors notched the only goal of the match in the 72nd minute when Miguel Ibarra pounced on a loose ball, dribbled into the Fire's 18-yard box and slipped the ball under Fire 'keeper Alec Kann.
In the 93rd minute, Fire trialist Leo Lelis was shown a red card for a tactical foul on the Minnesota United FC's Miguel Ibarra who was heading in towards goal.
The Men in Red return to MLS action when they host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m. CT (ESPN2/La Ley 107.9). Chicago Fire tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-Fire, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club's official website at Chicago-Fire.com.