By DAN KARELL
With two of their starting midfielders away on international duty, the Chicago Fire’s two star forwards stepped up their games in a crucial match on the road.
The Fire scored three consecutive goals through the first 52 minutes and despite a late run from FC Dallas, the Fire held on for a 3-2 victory at Toyota Stadium that vaults them into fifth-place in the Eastern Conference standings. With the defeat, FC Dallas are eliminated from playoff contention.
On one of their first attempts on goal, Fire summer signing Juan Luis Anangono headed home a Mike Magee corner kick in the 25th minute to give the visitors the lead. The Fire doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when Alex took advantage of a poor touch from FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges and fired a shot on goal. The shot ricocheted off the body of Magee and went into an open net, with Magee earning the credit for the goal, his 19th of the season.
Fire defender Jalil Anibaba added to the misery of the FC Dallas fans with a stunning curling strike past FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the 52nd minute. Despite a late surge by the hosts that included two goals from forward Kenny Cooper, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson played incredibly well and was credited with three saves on the day in victory. Johnson now heads to Panama to join up with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
The Fire, who have won three of their last five, now sit right in the middle of the race for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Frank Klopas’ side currently have 46 points from 32 games, with a home game against Toronto FC and a visit to the New York Red Bulls the final games left on their schedule.
Head coach Schellas Hyndman and FC Dallas’ season meanwhile end in another slump, having lost four of their last five games and winning just twice since May.
Here are the game highlights: