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Fire's 2-0 Win Over Toronto Snaps Record Setting Tie Streak

By Kim Bellware in News on Aug 22, 2011 9:00PM

Image Credit: Chicago Fire
The Chicago Fire breathed a sigh of relief after last night's jubilant 2-0 win over Eastern Conference counterparts Toronto FC. Coming into the match, the Fire had just set the unenviable league record of 15 ties in a season, drawing 1-1 with D.C. United last Thursday. Prior to Sunday's win at Toyota Park, the Men in Red trailed in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Sunday's game marked a turning point in the Fire's play this year, with the team quickly establishing a rhythm and playing with an organization -- and passion -- that had been absent for much of the season. After botching an easy shot in the last match, striker Dominic Oduro cranked up the speed to beat Toronto's defense to a ball cross sent by teammate Gonzalo Segares. Oduro's laser-like precision sent the ball past Toronto's Milos Kocic to notch the first goal in the 16th minute.

Chicago built another quick play in the 24th minute, this time with Oduro's shot squarely blocked by Kocic. The team regrouped with patience, cycling through offensive plays while the defense handily dismantled Toronto's attacks on goal. Cory Gibb's 30th minute shot on goal sent groans through the park when his near post shot sailed high of the crossbar.

Possession stayed with the Fire for most of the first half, though the team had a close call shortly after Gibbs' miss when a Toronto shot narrowly missed the goal, instead rattling off the post.

Shortly after half, the still-hungry Fire continued to thwart Toronto's offense but failed to create another scoring opportunity. The next break came when the increasingly frustrated Toronto team was set back in the 69th minute when defender Dan Gargan's caught a deflected corner kick and smashed a surprise header toward the far post. The stunned Toronto defense watched as Gargan--who had been traded from Toronto just three weeks prior--share an emotional celebration with his new squad.

Looking to make it on the board, Toronto capitalized on the quickness of their strikers, breaking Chicago's defense near the 75-minute mark. Instead, the close call turned into a miss when Toronto's Ryan Johnson snapped a header toward Chicago's goal, only to see it fire off the goalpost.

Up two goals, the Fire played confidently and comfortably the rest of the match with an impatient Toronto seeing few opportunities after Johnson's miss.

With ten matches left to improve their record, the shutout of D.C. United bumped the Fire to seventh place in the conference standings.

The Fire is back in action Saturday August 27 for a home match against the Colorado Rockies, 7 p.m. at Toyota Park.