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Plata, Saborio lead RSL rally in stirring comeback win vs. hapless Fire



After waiting eight weeks for their first win of the season, the Chicago Fire had to feel like that precious first victory was within sight as they held a 2-0 lead on Real Salt Lake 71 minutes into their match on Saturday night.

That sight quickly turned into a nightmare though, as three unanswered goals from Real Salt Lake left the Fire wondering just what went wrong.

Alvaro Saborio and Joao Plata combined for all three goals, include a 90th-minute equalizer from Saborio and 94th-minute winner from Plata to lead RSL past the Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night.

Plata sparked the comeback in the 72nd minute when he collected a Javier Morales pass and quickly placed a low shot past Sean Johnson to make the score 2-1.

Plata had a hand in the equalizer as well, serving up a cross that Saborio bundled home in the 90th minute to tie things up and leave the Fire wobbling.

Plata knocked the Fire over for good just four minutes later when he raced onto a Saborio cross at the back post, volleying home the winner to silence a stunned crowd at Toyota Park and left the Fire struggling for answers on a night when they started so brightly.

The Fire played with real energy to start the match, keeping a slow-starting RSL on the back-foot through the first 20 minutes. Mike Magee opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when he pounced on a rebounded Nick Rimando save of a long-range Harrison Shipp shot.

Chicago made it 2-0 in the 30th minute when Juan Luis Anangono headed home a Greg Cochrane.

RSL woke up after that Anangono goal and started pushing pressure on the Fire defense, but Sean Johnson made a handful of big saves to keep the Fire up 2-0.

Ultimately the Fire couldn’t deal with the quick and slippery Plata, or the strong and efficient Saborio.

The win improved RSL to 0-4-5 and dropped the Fire to 0-2-6. RSL remains the only unbeaten team in the league, while the Fire is one of two teams in MLS without a win (Portland being the other, though leading D.C. United at the moment).

Here are the match highlights:



  1. From an outside perspective, RSL fan, I don’t think the Fire should be too unset about all the draws. In terms of talent, the Fire are definitely in the bottom quarter of MLS. Their finishing in the first half was very impressive, but they were clearly outplayed from the beginning. What I am saying is just don’t get your expectations out of whack. The Fire are not a playoff team on talent unless they bring someone in.

    With that said, Shipp is extremely impressive and seems to be a future star. I think he should be a more traditional #10 and play in the middle but Fire fans should be very excited about him.

  2. Ives, I think you’ve inverted RSL’s record. Also, I didn’t watch the game, but if Juan Luis Anangono headed home Greg Cochrane, I’d imagine Cochrane would be pretty upset. 🙂

  3. The problem Bach Beard is that the Fire are not terrible. They were winning 2-1 in the 89th minute of this game and they had Philadelphia and New England beat before they botched penalties to win.

    If the team were terrible it would be easier to live with the results they have gotten so far. But they should not be losing and drawing the matches they have been. They have more talent than 0 wins in 8 games.

    It’s much more frustrating watching a team that has at least the potential to contend for a playoff spot putting up these results than a team that was just expected to be completely awful go out and be completely awful.

    • They have little talent and potential. You can try to spin it how you want, but the Fire are a terrible team and are worthy of being at the bottom of the league right now. Flubbing PKs in big spots isn’t bad luck. It’s being a terrible team.

      One day Fire fans will realize their owner is the biggest problem and actually try to do something about it.

  4. RSL really dominated possession throughout and looked good. The defensive lapses in the first half are concerning but the two goals were really the only dangerous moments from the Fire except for another terrible defensive mistake that allowed McGee behind but Rimando was huge to tip it off the bar.

    It was nice to see RSL just on full out attack. I think if they played with that kind of urgency all year they would have won 3 more games already. Plata and Saborio are extremely dangerous strikers when they get service and support. For me, the best striking duo in the league.


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