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Fire Defeats Galaxy in Thriller to Earn Playoff Spot

By Todd McClamroch in News on Oct 22, 2007 5:00PM

The Chicago Fire clinched a playoff spot in their final regular season match of the year, defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 in front a record-breaking 21,374 fans at Toyota Park. Right from the start, the Fire was clearly the hungrier squad. They nearly scored in the opening minute and continued to dominate play through the first half with successive shots on Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

A combination of some great saves by Cannon and poor targeting by the Fire kept the Galaxy alive. In the 58th minute Galaxy coach Frank Yallop hoped putting David Beckham in the game would give his team the needed spark to earn the victory. The crowd booed his arrival. Asked if Beckham had been booed at previous games, Cannon said no. "I credit the Chicago fans for knowing what the game means rather than getting caught up in the hype," Cannon said.

Beckham had a few chances to help his team to victory with his legendary free kicks, but each time the Fire defense was able to clear the ball from danger. Then in extra time, the fans--who had been on the edge of their seats for the entire game--erupted when second-half sub John Thorrington became the hero, chipping a ball over Cannon to earn the game winner. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio after the game summed up the game saying, "I'm 46 years old, and after that game I feel like I'm 56 now."

The Fire, the last team to qualify for the playoffs will be the first ones to play when they host D.C. United in the first of a two game series on Thursday night at Toyota Park. D.C. United won the Major League Supporter's Shield for having the best record in the league this year which included a 2-1-0 record against the Chicago Fire. Osorio decided to cancel a day off for his team tomorrow and get them preparing for Thursday night's match. Tickets for the game are on sale at