Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CAITLIN MURRAY
For 83 minutes on Saturday, the FC Dallas’ 10-game unbeaten run looked like it might withstand a measured effort from the Chicago Fire in front of 16,824 fans at Toyota Park.
A late Robert Earnshaw goal — his second goal in as many games — changed things though, helping give the Fire just enough to hold on for a 1-0 victory, a result that ended FC Dallas’ 10-game unbeaten streak, a run that stretched over three full months.
With the score 0-0 in the 83rd minute, Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz dribbled into the corner after collecting the rebound from a failed corner kick. He spotted out Earnshaw in the middle of the box, cut past Matt Hedges and sent a laser of a cross to the head of Earnshaw, who redirected it toward the far post.
With the win, the Fire sit within four points of the Columbus Crew for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings (a position the Red Bulls could take over with a win vs. D.C. United on Sunday). FC Dallas sits six points behind West leaders Seattle Sounders, dropping to fourth place with the loss and Real Salt Lake’s 1-1 tie vs. San Jose.
It was a fairly even match that started slowly, with both sides having their share of possession, but few great looks on goal. The Fire recorded four shots on target to FCD’s two.
FC Dallas’ closest chance came in the 52nd minute. Jair Benitez knocked a floating cross into the box that Tesho Akindele settled with a touch and left for Ryan Hollingshead. On a one-time shot, Hollingshead blasted it off the crossbar and over the goal, having had goalkeeper Sean Johnson beat.
Lovel Palmer created a chance early for the Fire in the first half, sending a skipping ball toward goal from well outside the box. Goalkeeper Raúl Fernández was unable to control it but defender Zach Loyd beat the Fire to the rebound.
Fire’s Quincy Amarikwa nearly punished lackadaisical defending in the 71st minute to almost put his side up. He stepped in front of a pass by Hedges and chased the loose ball toward the box. Fernández did well to come out and slide tackle the ball away, even as he couldn’t use his hands on the edge of the box.
Earnshaw tried to double the lead in the 91st minute, chasing down a through ball from Amarikwa, but Fernández came out of net and positioned himself accordingly to cut off the angle.
Next Saturday, FC Dallas heads west to face Real Salt Lake. A day later, the Fire will face the New England Revolution for the first time since the Fire lost out on Jermaine Jones to the Revs.
Here are the match highlights:
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