Fire overcome early deficit for 2-1 win

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mike Magee continued his scoring streak since joining Chicago last month by netting the winner in the 54th minute as the Fire rallied to defeat the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Fire (5-7-3) also got a goal from former Crew midfielder Dilly Duka in the 52nd to counter a seventh-minute penalty kick by Federico Higuain of Columbus.
Everything Magee touches lately seems to wind up in the back of the net, including his unorthodox goal.
Magee got free from defender Josh Williams and took the flighted ball by Joel Lindpere off his left shoulder for his 10th goal of the season. He has scored in all four MLS games and six in a row overall after the trade that sent him to his hometown from Los Angeles for Robbie Rogers in late May.
"(Williams) had a bead on me so I was trying to stay in front of him, hopefully (the ball) hit me somewhere," Magee said. "That was not planned per se, but sometimes you have to be in the right spot and stuff like that happens."
The goal came just after Lindpere found Duka at the far post to tie the score. From there, Sean Johnson was stellar in goal down the stretch to preserve the win.
"Sean makes greats saves for us all the time," Magee said.
Duka, who came to the Fire in February from Columbus for Dominic Oduro and the rights to Rogers, scored his first goal with the Fire and the third in his career.
"I needed my first goal in a Chicago jersey," he said. " I'm happy for that, but it's extra special we got the three points with it. I didn't try to celebrate. I didn't care. I wanted to get these three points."
Crew coach Robert Warzycha lamented the quick strikes from the Fire that ruined a good start before a season-high crowd of 19,624 at Crew Stadium.
"It's concentration. Individual performances," he said. "Two crosses and two goals."
Oduro created the turnover that led to the goal by the Crew (5-6-5).
He stole the ball from defender Austin Berry and raced toward the net. As he reached the box, Johnson came out to the top, but Oduro leaped over and was tripped.
Johnson was cautioned but avoided being red-carded. However, he still had to try and stop Higuain but was unsuccessful in keeping the forward from converting from the spot for the fourth time in five tries this season and his fifth goal overall.
The Fire continued its trend of falling behind but getting a result. Chicago has trailed in the past three MLS matches but has two wins and a tie during the stretch.
Portland had a two-goal lead before the Fire rallied to a 2-2 tie, and in their last outing against Colorado, the Fire won 2-1.
"We've got to break that (habit of) trailing games very early on," Duka said. "It's going to come. We have a newfound confidence in this team."
Fire coach Frank Klopas had faith in his team as well.
"After their first goal, we had good confidence," he said. "We came in at halftime and talked about it. The team never gives up. It was a great team win.
"Even through the slow start and the adversity, there's been a belief in the team because the team is the most important thing in the group."
Chicago won the first meeting with Columbus 1-0 at home on April 20 and also defeated the visiting Crew 2-1 on June 13 in a fourth-round match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
In fact, the Fire has had great success against its rival under Klopas. He has won six of seven games in the series since he took charge in May 2011.
Meanwhile, Warzycha has a 3-8-4 mark against the Fire with the teams playing again in Columbus on Sept. 21.
The Fire next play in MLS action at home against San Jose on July 3.
NOTES: The Fire had to make a change in the 26th minute when captain Logan Pause was removed in favor of midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. Pause missed the past three games because of a groin injury. ... Chicago will play host to the minor-league Orlando City SC at Toyota Park on Wednesday in a quarterfinal match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. ... The Fire won for the first time on the road (1-4-2) after having been outscored 10-2 in the previous six away games. The Fire is 10-7-6 all time in Columbus.