Photo by Jeff Vorva
Michael de Leeuw, shown knocked to the ground in a tie with Los Angeles on Aug. 24, and his Chicago Fire teammates suffered a 6-2 loss at Washington Saturday night. De Leeuw scored to make it 1-1 and the bottom fell out after that.
PHILADELPHIA UNION AT CHICAGO FIRE
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Toyota Park in Bridgeview
FIRE RECORD: 5-12-8
UNION RECORD: 11-9-7
LAST TIME: The Union beat the Fire, 4-3, at Talen Energy Stadium on June 22. Philadelphia owned a 4-1 lead but the Fire tightened things up with a Razvan Cocis goal in the 69th minute and a Khaly Thiam score in the 80th minute.
SEATTLE REIGN AT CHICAGO RED STARS
WHEN: 6 p.m., Sunday
WHERE: Toyota Park, Bridgeview
RED STARS RECORD: 8-4-4
REIGN RECORD: 6-5-5
LAST TIME: The Red Stars beat the Reign, 2-1, on the road May 22. Reign goalie Hope Solo did not play in that match as she was absent due to a family matter.
Nyuk, nyuk – Ex-Fire player Nyarko has last laugh in Washington
Former Chicago Fire player Patrick Nyarko took a few hard hits and knocks in Saturday night’s Major League Soccer game against his former team.
But when he was nailed by Khaly Thiam and Thiam threw the ball at his face in the 34th minute, Nyarko and his D.C. United team had the last laugh. Thiam was ejected after he received a red card with the score knotted at 1-1 and the Fire played a man down and was whipped, 6-2, at RFK Stadium in Washington.
Nyarko had a goal and two assists and Patrick Mullins had a hat trick for United (7-8-11). Michael de Leeuw and Razvan Cocis scored for the Fire, which entered this week with an MLS-worst 5-12-8 mark.
Recently acquired David Arshakyan made his debut in the 56th minute.
“It’s a tough game of course, with the red card so it’s difficult to play your style,” Arshakyan said. “It’s a hard debut but we’ll keep pounding. I’m happy to make my debut no matter what the score.’’
“How much do it think the red card influenced the game? Obviously a lot,” first-year Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “It affected our guys and our game plan.’’
It was the first time the Fire gave up six goals in a match since 2003.
Home still sweet home
In a game neither coach was thrilled about, the Fire and LA Galaxy tied 2-2 at Toyota Park on Aug. 24.
“It was a sloppy game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said multiple times after the game. “It was a game we could have won.’’
The Fire, however, extended its home unbeaten streak to 11 matches including Lamar Hunt battles.
Arturo Alvarez and David Accam helped put the Fire up, 2-1, with goals but L.A.’s Giovani dos Santos came into the game in the 60th minute and scored nine minutes later.
Paunovic wasn’t thrilled with giving up the tying goal but applauded his team’s effort.
"I think we (played) a fantastic game,’’ he said. “I'm feeling very sorry for our guys, they're disappointed that we couldn't get more from this game. I think the performance was fantastic. I think we finally feel we are where we wanted to be all this year, we can finally field a team that can beat anyone in this league. I'm feeling proud of our guys, feeling proud of pushing hard until the end.’’
In the stands
The MLS released average attendance figures and Seattle was first with 42,230. The Fire was second-to-last at 19th with an average of 15,081.
The team drew 16,179 against the Galaxy and, while that wasn’t obviously the 40,000 that Seattle gets, the Fire appreciated the atmosphere the crowd created.
"I think it was great to see how they supported the team,’’ Paunovic said. “Especially in that moment when (recently acquired) Luis Solignac had that great opportunity that he missed. Everyone was disappointed, but the reaction was fantastic, applauding and giving him support. Same thing from the players, I think that's important to see."
"It's huge, it's everything,’’ rookie Brandon Vincent said of the support. “Our confidence on the field comes from the fans, comes from the group, comes from everybody. It's a team effort, the fans are included. They're part of this club, they're part of this team's success, when we have it. We do everything we can to make them proud. We just try to keep fighting, and their support is everything for us."
Red Stars win
After more than a month off because of the National Women’s Soccer League break for the Olympics, the Chicago Red Stars came out with a 3-1 victory over Sky Blue in New Jersey Saturday night.
Stephanie McCaffrey, Christen Press and Sofia Huerta scored for the Red Stars.
Red Stars boss resigns
Although there was nothing on the team website nor a news release from the media relations department over the weekend, Alyse Lahue announced Friday via social media she was leaving as general manager of the Red Stars after this season. She joined the team as an intern in 2008 and was named GM in 2012.
“Obviously, it’s never easy to depart a role you’ve laid your life into,” she wrote in a letter attached to a Tweet. “My departure is not indicative of the status of this club. It’s in the best position it has ever been in.’’
Those fans hoping to show up to Toyota Park on Sunday to razz or boo Hope Solo will be disappointed.
The controversial Seattle Reign goalie, who last week was booted off the United States Women’s National Team for six months for comments she made at the Olympics, has taken a personal leave from the Reign.
Solo called Sweden players “cowards” for their conservative play after the favored United States lost to them on Aug. 12, denying them a shot at a gold medal.