MLS- Real Salt Lake

Pappa hat-trick propels Fire past RSL

Marco Pappa (Getty)


The MLS playoff race in the Eastern Conference just became a little more intense, and we can thank the Chicago Fire for that.

Midfielder Marco Pappa snapped a personal three-month scoring drought in dramatic fashion, delivering a hat-trick to help the streaking Fire pulled off a stunning 3-0 victory over 10-man Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night.

The result not only kept Chicago's seemingly slim hopes of making the postseason alive, but also dealt a crippling blow to RSL's chances of winning the Supporters' Shield.

Pappa and the Fire spoiled Javier Morales' return from the ankle injury he suffered in May by handing the hosts their second straight three-goal defeat. Pappa scored twice in the first half, including on a strike nine minutes in, before completing his hat-trick in the second in front of a record crowd of 20,762 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

If Pappa's early goal wasn't bad enough for Real Salt Lake, Kyle Beckerman's ejection in the 11th minute surely was. The RSL captain was given his marching orders for committing a headbutt on Daniel Paladini, who got his first assist on the season by finding Pappa for the opener.

Real Salt Lake tried to find an equalizer and almost came close on a chance from Alvaro Saborio near the half-hour mark.

But Chicago was able to withstand RSL's pressure and doubled it leads in the 36th minute when Pappa curled a shot into the back of the net following a pass from Pavel Pardo.

Pappa finished off his hat-trick 15 minutes from the final whistle with an unassisted effort that seeled the Fire's second road win of the season.

Winner of five of its past six matches, Chicago now has 36 points on the season, pulling within three of the tenth and final playoff position with four matches left to play. The victory also gives the Fire added momentum heading into next Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.

The loss leaves Real Salt Lake 10 points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy in the race for the Supporters' Shield, and three behind Seattle for second place in the Western Conference. RSL travels to California to take on the Galaxy on Saturday.

  • Rainstpub

    What the hell was that? That was that the best game of the year for the Fire. The last 30 minutes was a senior team toying with a junior team.

    3-0. WOW. I will give credit were credit is due but the band aids Frankie has put on this team has worked and they are really starting to gel. Hopefully they can take this to Houston.

    Does anyone want to play the Fire down this last stretch of the season?

    Granted, RSL was playing a man down but teams usually respond much different than that. And what an idiot is Beckerman. Just dumb. He will probably tell you that himself.


  • C-note

    The fact that the playoffs are still possible for the Fire, that makes for a good Cinderella story. If Klopas has to pick one or the other, will he go for the US Cup, or the playoffs?
    I hope it comes down to earning both.
    Who is your daddy? Marco Pappa! It feels good to enjoy watching Fire soccer again.


  • abc

    How can Beckerman, mister RSL captain, be in consideration for either MVP or USMNT call-ups, when he loses his team a crucial home game during the playoff push with a completely idiotic Zidane-style head butt?

    I think Klinsy announces the roster for the upcoming friendlies tomorrow, I hope he scratches Beckerman’s name off, if he was planning to call him in again.

    And this was a huge loss for RSL. Beckerman is behaving like a loose cannon recently, Kreis needs to have a serious one on one talk with him, RSL need to regroup otherwise this promising season may quickly go down the drain.

    Remember when everyone used to get on Michael Bradley’s case for losing his temper and unnecessary cards?


  • Modibo

    “It feels good to enjoy watching Fire soccer again.”

    Amen to that one. I don’t think my kids, all tucked in their beds, understand what my cries of joy mean after months of foul-tempered screaming at the computer.


  • Modibo

    I was shocked by this result, and by the way the Fire played at “Fortress Rio Tinto.” Their smart possession for the end of the first half and much of the second half was bewildering at first – I didn’t know what team I was watching.

    One of the best things was that this hat trick came from someone other than Oduro, who was relatively harmless compared to the last game.

    The fact that RSL played a man down is no one’s fault but B’mans. No RSL player disputed the call, so you can’t blame the ref. Lost cool = lost game. The Fire got under their skin and they couldn’t take it.


  • Oog

    Ugly match for RSL. Beckerman’s head butt was embarassing and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get fined for that. Not great reffing, but RSL can only blame themselves. Hopefully they get it together before playoffs.


  • kar

    Going to be a wild ride into the playoffs for almost every team in MLS again.

    The Fire would really boost their playoff odds with a win in Houston, but Frankie (righly so in my mind) has already come out and said he will rest several starters. Have to make choices when it’s 3 games in 6 days, and the Open Cup is a guarenteed shot at a trophy . . .

    And I’ll be extremely dissappointed if Beckerman isn’t handed at least a 3 match suspension. Unbelievable stupidity.


  • Zac

    That’s a bit of an overreaction. The headbutt was stupid, but saying he has been a loose cannon or reckless beyond this incident is naive or a straight lie, depending on where you are coming from.

    Since he is virtually guaranteed to get an additional 1 to 3 games, now may be the perfect time to call him up for the october friendlies; no other commitments in the way.


  • Charles

    Man, I can hardly wait for Tuesday.

    4 time winner vs 2 in a row current champs (and greatest team in the history of soccer )

    It is a great time to be a US soccer fan.

    Go Sounders.


  • Dan

    2 separate points. First, Beckerman owes an apology to those of us in the stands, flat out. Almost across the board the team played a bad, bad game, no excuses, nothing lost us the game but us. Second point, I thought we were playing a team from Chicago Illinois, apparently it was some city named Chicago from, like, El Salvador. How can any Fire fan watch that game and say, man we look awesome, your team spends more time on the ground than an Italian World Cup team. Embarrassing amount of rolling around like you’d been shot with a crossbow, then immediately being miraculously cured as soon as you hit the stripe on the side of the field.


  • RSLer

    I know this is no consolation… but Kyle issued an immediate apology via the interwebs. He knows he screwed up and he let everyone down.

    That being said… man, that was stupid.


  • Frantz Mathieu fan

    Ouch, those grapes are sour. It’s hard to stay on your feet when you’re getting punched and pulled. Espindola REALLY wanted the rest of the evening off but Toledo didn’t accommodate him. And what about Will Johnson running into Gibbs in the penalty area and falling over. Even fooled Dunseth until he saw the replay.


  • hogatroge

    With their recent form, the Fire are actually in good position to challenge for the USOC and make the CCL.

    And, I won’t mind my Dynamo facing the Fire reserves this weekend.


  • KR

    Dan: I think you need to watch the replays on tv, perhaps your seat was too far from the field to get a good look.


  • Ryan

    Almost every soccer team I have ever seen tries to waste time with a lead. RSL has done it too. So if you are trying to say the only team that does it is the Fire, get a clue dude. It was a really physical, chippy game. That equals lots of players on the ground.


  • Dan

    Being on the ground is one thing, pretending that you are injured is another. I don’t defend any team, mine or any other for time wasting. I think the refs should flash more yellows for it. But walking slowly to a ball, or waiting to take a goal kick, or even embellishment to try to get a foul. All different than the pretense that you are incredibly injured, to waste time. It demeans you, your fans, the game, and people who do get legitimately injured.


  • Dan

    I’m not sure what you can be referring to. When you writhe in agony so much that they call the stretcher out (3 times), then you are up on your feet ready to run back on the pitch the moment you cross the side line, replay won’t help that. Thats just ridiculousness.


  • Dan

    Clearly people are missing my point. Chicago’s acting skills had nothing to do with the loss. I’m not blaming the loss on the acting. I’m saying its disgusting. I’m not saying the cards were wrong, I’m not saying the ref favored Chicago, I’m saying the acting was ridiculous. One step above that Brazilian in the Women’s World Cup. And whatever player, on whatever team does it, I think that crap should get a yellow.


  • matt

    Id rather my club act as you say then be a bunch of dirty players who hack and headbutt like RSL was doing all game!


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