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D.C. United keeps rolling with road win vs. Fire

Conor Doyle D.C. United MLS 06252015 (Getty Images)


D.C. United’s run of impressive form late in their games continued as they defeated Chicago Fire, 1-0, at Toyota Park on Wednesday.

The Fire started the game positively, with most of the possession and a few chances, but seemed unable to find that final ball. A bullet of a strike by United’s Conor Doyle in the second half was all that could beat Sean Johnson, who was arguably the Fire’s best player.

In the 73rd minute, after a foul by the Fire, Doyle played a free kick into the Fire’s box, and after the ball bounced around, Chicago were able to clear their lines, but only just, as the ball came out to Doyle who unleashed an absolutely vicious strike (which took a minor deflection) from about 25 yards out that crashed into Johnson’s upper-right-hand corner.

Doyle’s goal is the 15th out of D.C.’s 23 goals this season to be scored after the 60th minute, and United are starting to gain a reputation as a team who are dangerous late in games.

The Fire’s attack looked decisively impotent, and D.C. United’s defense had little trouble keeping the clean sheet. Attacking midfielder/forward Harry Shipp had to play out on the right wing (he prefers to play centrally) and wasn’t really able to assert himself in the game as he is known to. Forward Kennedy Igboananike made some good runs forward, but his touches near DC’s goal were lacking.

After a couple chances for D.C. early on, which Johnson saved well, the Fire took control of the game, putting some pressure on the D.C. defense and seeing most of the ball in the first half. However, The Fire’s passing in the final third was off on the night, and their crosses and final balls seemed to always avoid the man they were meant to find.

D.C. United could’ve easily had another goal as well, when Bobby Boswell headed a free kick in the 50th minute towards goal, but Johnson got down well to make a fantastic save to keep the stalemate.

A bright spot for the Fire was forward Mike Magee, who came on for Chris Ritter in the 74th minute. Magee had great movement both on and off the ball after coming on, but, like his teammates, he still wasn’t able to convert his chances or find the final pass.

The difference between the two teams is night and day, both in this game, and in the standings, as DC are still at the top of the Eastern Conference, while the Fire are at the bottom.

In their next game the Chicago Fire will play Houston Dynamo at the BBVA Compass Stadium, while D.C. United will play Toronto FC at BMO Field.


    • Yeah, that’s very possible. Here’s the thing about DCU…people watch a game and go “meh…not that impressed.” And they aren’t filled with DPs and big names and a huge roster of glittery big salaries.

      But their body of work over the season is really damn impressive. They are in almost every game. They keep games close. Even when they’ve had extended road trips or schedule congestion or lots of missing bodies at key positions, they compete and they stay in games.

      They haven’t had the most dominant game by a team in MLS this year. They haven’t had the best hot streak by a team in MLS this year. And some people will argue “they’re in the East.” But DCU has arguably played the best overall season so far. And by this, I mean that there are really no low points, no losing streaks, no extended series of bad play, no instances where they lose 1-2 players to cal-ups or injuries or suspensions and suddenly they can’t find a win. They’re the Little Freaking Engine That Could. Don’t know if that’s enough to win an MLS Cup. It it may well be enough to win a SS.

      • You’re right, but also keep in mind that Ben has been constantly rotating a team of about 16-18 players just to keep people fresh. Espindola, Rolfe and Pontius have all been out for multiple games, but the cast of backups (last night vs Chicago, for example) still keeps getting results. The key is the best defense in the league. Boswell, Birbaun, Opare and to a lesser extent Franklin, Kemp and Korb are all having terrific seasons. And we already know about the guy lurking between the posts…

      • As someone who watches a lot of DC United I have to respond here. Franklin has been average at best on defense and a net loss on attack. Kemp has been a net loss on D and good in attack. Korb has been average. If DC could get a good MLS left back they’d be tough to stop.

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