Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,
 
Played
July 23, 2011 5:00 PM EDT
 
13′ Cory Gibbs
Wayne Rooney 66′
 
Rafael Silva 76′
 
Nani 82′

Chicago Fire 1-3 Manchester United: Wayne Rooney and the Red Devils extinguish the Fire with a comeback victory

The England international striker sparked an impressive rally against the Chicago Fire, who played a surprisingly competitive match against the English Champions.

By Alex Labidou

Nani, Manchester United, Jon Conway, Chicago Fire, WFC
Jonathhan Daniel
Updated: 8:08 p.m. ET

CHICAGO - For 45 minutes, the Chicago Fire threw caution to the wind and played an entertaining match going ahead 1-0 against English champions Manchester United.

Unfortunately for Chicago, there are 90 minutes in every professional soccer match.

Second-half substitutes Wayne Rooney, Rafael and Nani scored highlight reel quality goals in the second half to give the Red Devils a 3-1 comeback victory.  Manchester United has looked worlds apart from Major League Soccer in its tour of the United States so far, having outscored its competition 14 to two in its first three matches. It’s a stat that doesn’t bode well for the MLS All-Stars in the upcoming match on Wednesday.

Still, the Fire surprisingly gave United a strong outing and outperformed any of its MLS counterparts who have faced Sir Alex Ferguson’s team this year. The 69-year-old complemented the club's tenacity throughout the match.

"Chicago Fire played well, very good on the counter attacks, a lot of pace up front and they gave us some problems," said Ferguson. "They could've scored two or three more so it was a good workout for us."

Fire defender Cory Gibbs immediately made the fans at Chicago’s Soldier Field rise off their seats, giving his a team a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. The 31-year-old beat two of Manchester United’s high profile signings in defense, as he rose past new defender Phil Jones to head the ball past debuting goalkeeper David De Gea. That play would rally the Fire, who have struggled all season int he attack and are currently sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Promising goalkeeper Sean Johnson made two clutch saves on United forward Dmitiar Berbatov in the first half and the team had an advantage in shot attempts, having 11 shots overall before the break.

Yet, reality would creep in the match’s second half as Ferguson brought on several starters after opting to begin the game with some of the team’s younger options. Enter Wayne Rooney.

The England international's ability on the ball was a nightmare for the Fire to cover and United’s midfield and defense took advantage of Chicago being too focused on the 25-year-old.  Defender Rio Ferninand put on some craft footwork dribbling past a Fire midfielder and kicking a perfectly executed long ball to Rooney, who remained on-side. From there it was too easy and the forward lightly chipped the ball past substitute goalkeeper Josip Mikulic.

Ferguson admitted that after Rooney scored the first goal for United, he knew the club would pull away with the win.

"Well we don't like being behind," said Ferguson. "We found ourselves in that situation numerous times. We don't panic, we just keep creating chances and chances until we get our result. It was a excellent ball from Ferdinand, perfectly awaited from Rooney and it takes serious skill to score like that."

He added, "We had to work hard for the victory and I think once we equalized, we were always going to win it."

Once United got its first goal, the floodgates opened.

Rafael came in for Chris Smalling in the 75th minute and a minute later off of his first touch, the right back scored. Almost appearing to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo’s spectacular goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy from a few days ago, the Brazilian dribbled past two Fire defenders in the box and had a powerful precise finish from a tight angle against Chicago.

Finally, Nani sealed the win by continuing United’s theatrics in the 82nd minute. He passed the ball past two Fire defenders, catching a fortunate bounce along the way, caught up with it and scored.  The Portugese winger justly celebrated by jumping up in the air and somersaulting.

After the match, Ferguson reflected on his new signing at goal, David De Gea, making his debut. While the Spanish goalkeeper conceded an early goal, he responded with several key saves through the rest of the match. Ferguson admitted that he was impressed by the awareness shown by the 20-year-old.

"He's technically very good. He saved us on many different occasions," said Ferguson.

Despite the dominance shown by United againt MLS clubs so far, Ferguson hinted that he might play his full starting lineup against the All-Stars this Wednesday for fitness purposes.

"Well we played three games so far and I think player-wise, our players need to play 90 minutes," said Ferguson. "I don't think anyone has done that yet, except Ferdinand and Vidic I think. It was the problem we struggled with last year at the start of the season and we need to improve on that."

David Gubala contributed reporting to this article.

Follow ALEX LABIDOU on

Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!


Chicago Fire

25
Sean Johnson
Goalkeeper
0.00
4
Jalil Anibaba
Defender
0.00
-
Yamith Cuesta
Defender
0.00
17
Cory Gibbs
Defender
13′
0.00
13
Gonzalo Segares
Midfielder
0.00
-
M. Pappa
Midfielder
0.00
12
Logan Pause
Midfielder
0.00
11
Daniel Paladini
Midfielder
0.00
14
0.00
-
C. Nazarit
Striker
0.00
8
Dominic Oduro
Striker
0.00

Manchester United

0.00
1
David de Gea
Goalkeeper
0.00
35
0.00
4
Phil Jones
Defender
0.00
12
0.00
3
Patrice Evra
Midfielder
0.00
23
Tom Cleverley
Midfielder
0.00
16
0.00
25
0.00
39
0.00
19
0.00
9

Substitutes

-
Jon Conway
Goalkeeper
0.00
23
0.00
4
Baggio Husidic
Midfielder
0.00
15
0.00
-
0.00
-
0.00
19
Corben Bone
Midfielder
0.00
24
0.00
-
0.00
18
Mike Banner
Midfielder
0.00
-
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
13
0.00
21
0.00
6
Jonny Evans
Defender
0.00
5
0.00
18
Ashley Young
Midfielder
0.00
11
Ryan Giggs
Midfielder
81′
0.00
13
Ji-Sung Park
Midfielder
0.00
17
Nani
Midfielder
82′
0.00
8
Anderson
Midfielder
0.00
27
0.00
10
0.00
10
0.00
15

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
January Friendlies
Times In EST
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Jonathan Jonathan
Striker
Salzburg
1 1
Marco Reus Marco Reus
Midfielder
Borussia Dortmund
1 1
Robert Lewandowski Robert Lewandowski
Striker
Borussia Dortmund
1 0
Jakub Blaszczykowski Jakub Blaszczykowski
Midfielder
Borussia Dortmund
1 0
Marcel Gaus Marcel Gaus
Striker
Kaiserslautern
1 0