The Chicago Fire moved a step closer to securing an Eastern Conference playoff berth after a Mike Magee penalty provided the difference in a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday at Toyota Park.
The Fire came in expected to win at home against a struggling TFC side, but the visitors gave Chicago a tougher tested than expected, as Ryan Nelsen went with a young midfield that did well against the Fire.
The victory moved the Fire into fourth place in the East with one game to go. Chicago finished the regular season with a visit to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 27th.
The match was fairly even encounter, and neither side had a truly dangerous chance before referee Edvin Jurisevic called Jonathan Osorio for a handball in the 63rd minute. A Magee free kick appeared to hit Osorio’s raised arm in the penalty area, earning the whistle. Magee calmly converted a Panenka penalty attempt, beating Stefan Frei to make the score 1-0.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made that lead stand up with a stunning diving stop to deny a low Alvaro Rey shot in the 71st minute.
The Fire nearly made it 2-0 in the 81st minute when Juan Luis Anangono blasted a shot off the crossbar that bounced down near the goal line and out.
The victory improves the Fire’s record to 4-1-1 in their past six matches, but they have yet to secure their place in the post-season. There is a good chance they will need a result against the Red Bulls to ensure a place in the playoffs.
Here are the match highlights:
I have to say I’m really happy for Mike Magee. I think he’s been one of the truly under appreciated players in the league, and playing alongside the likes of LD, Beckham, Keane, etc. it’s easy to understand why. At Chicago, he get’s to finally be the marquee player, not just the impact player.
I hope they make the playoff and make a deep run at that.
I will save you the trouble of ever writing another Toronto FC piece. Just run this weekly:
“Toronto lost again last night. Their front office remains in a flux and player turnover is expected. Their fans remain haughty.”
There. Saved you the trouble of working.