April 21, 2021

D.C. United Game 20 Recap: Fire strike early, rout United, 4-1

It took less than 2 minutes for D.C. United to fall behind the Chicago Fire – just less than 12 minutes to trail 2-0. By halftime, United trailed, 3-0, and it was 4-0 before there was any kind of response, a nice Luis Silva strike from distance. But as nice as that goal was (and it was a beauty), it was way too little, way too late as the Fire demolished United, 4-1, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

United fell to 2-14-4 (10 points) with the loss, still the worst record among 19 clubs in Major League Soccer. The Fire improved to 7-9-3 (24 points).

The only good news on the night for United was Silva’s goal, which came on an approximately 30-yard shot from the middle of the field that alluded Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, as it would many goalkeepers in MLS. It was Silva’s first goal of the season, and the first for his new club after being acquired from Toronto FC on July 9. Silva had two assists during his time with Toronto this season. Perry Kitchen picked up the assist on Silva’s goal – Kitchen’s first helper of the season.

As uplifting as it had to be for United to score their first non-penalty kick goal in league play since May 19, the match was long since decided at that point. Joel Lindpere scored one of the Fire’s three first-half goals and assisted on the other two – both scored by Chris Rolfe.

The first came just 114 seconds into the match, when Lindpere took a ball near midfield and ran down the left sideline – faster than Sainey Nyassi and Ethan White. He then crossed past Chris Korb, sending a perfect ball into the penalty area toward Rolfe. Rolfe smartly wandered between Daniel Woolard and Taylor Kemp, neither of whom were close to the play. Rolfe volleyed the ball past United goalkeeper Joe Willis to make it 1-0. Willis had come off his line perhaps to intercept the cross, but didn’t get near it, leaving the goal exposed.

Less than 10 minutes later, Chicago doubled its lead with Lindpere earning the spoils for himself this time. Jeff Larentowicz did a lot of the heavy lifting. Running up the right side toward the corner, beating Woolard. He crossed into the penalty area where Lindpere was unmarked in the middle. Korb drifted away from Lindpere as the ball came in, and was too late in trying to scramble back to prevent Lindpere from hitting a left-footed strike into the net to make it 2-0.

Just before halftime, the Fire made it 3-0 through Rolfe. This time, a lead pass from Lindpere and a well-timed run by Rolfe were enough to beat White. Rolfe entered the area in on Willis and beat him with a neat left-footed poke into the side netting 25 seconds into first-half stoppage time. Korb was running with Rolfe until about the time he received the pass, then he stopped. With White beaten by the pass, there was no one to mark Rolfe. Rolfe’s double gave him four goals for the season.

In the 56th minute, Mike Magee scored his sixth goal for the Fire since being acquired from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Robbie Rogers trade earlier this season. This one came from the penalty spot after Woolard was judged to have taken down Quincy Amarikwa from behind. Amarikwa made a long run into the penalty area and was tugged, and maybe tripped, from behind by Woolard.

Magee leads Chicago with six goals despite only being available for about 40 percent of the club’s matches.

Silva scored to get United on the board 2 minutes later, becoming the first United player to score in the league on something other than a penalty since Kyle Porter’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on May 19. United went eight full matches and parts of two others without scoring from open play.

United are 19 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 14 matches left. With Toronto FC getting a scoreless draw vs. the New York Red Bulls today, D.C. are 4 points behind TFC, the second-to-worst team in MLS. United’s 9 goals this season are 8 behind Toronto, who are also second-worst in that department. Only Chivas USA (35) have conceded more goals than United (33).

United return to league action next Saturday at RFK Stadium against the New England Revolution. The Revs (7-7-6, 27 points, 6th East) beat Columbus tonight, 2-0. The teams most recently met in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, with United winning, 3-1. United’s next Open Cup match is a semifinal at the Fire on August 7.

NOTES: Midfielders Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, and Lewis Neal missed the match due to injuries. … Lionard Pajoy did not see any action for United. He is still tied with De Rosario for top scoring honors on the club this season with 2 goals. … Four MLS players, including Magee (when counting his goals for both Chicago and Los Angeles) have scored more goals than United has as a team this season. Vancouver’s Camilo Sanvezzo leads the league with 13 goals; Magee has 12; Montreal’s Marcos Di Vaio has 11; and Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney has 10. As a team, United would be tied with Kansas City’s Claudio Bieler for fifth in the league in individual goal scoring.

Rolfe 2′, 45’+1         Silva 58′
Lindpere 11′
Magee 56′ (PK)

Shots: CHI 15-8 DC
Shots on Goal: CHI 6-3 DC
Corners: CHI 5-6 DC
Fouls: CHI 9-14 DC
Offside: CHI 1-4 DC
Possession: CHI 38.8%-61.2% DC

UNITED (2-14-4): Willis; Kemp, Korb, White (Jakovic 46′), Woolard; Kitchen (1 assist), Silva (1 goal), Thorrington (1 yellow card), DeLeon (Riley 76′), Nyassi (Porter 62′, 1 yellow card); Ruiz.

FIRE (7-9-3): Tornaghi; Segares, Soumaré, Berry (1 yellow card), Anibaba; Larentowicz (1 assist), Alex (Pause 78′), Lindpere (1 goal, 2 assists), Duka (Amarikwa 48′); Rolfe (2 goals, 1 yellow card), Magee (1 goal; Santos 83′).

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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