Both teams were desperate for three points but a strong header from American International Omar Gonzalez proved decisive for Los Angeles. Chicago falls to last in the East.
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The Chicago Fire were handed a third straight defeat as the Los Angeles Galaxy were victorious in a 2-1 win. On a chilly but sunny Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park, there were plenty of changes in both squads but in the end Bruce Arena’s men were victorious off of a header from Omar Gonzalez.
The match had an electric start to it as both teams were desperately hungry for three points. The Galaxy were coming off of a 0-0 draw in Toronto and the Fire returned home from two straight losses.
The opening minutes of the match were back and forth with attacking plays from both sides. The relentless action didn’t result into anything dangerous until the 17th minute when the Galaxy tested debuting goalie Jon Conway from outside the box. Immediately following that, Chicago’s Gaston Puerari landed a golden one-on-one opportunity against Los Angeles’ Donovan Ricketts but the pressure eventually got to him, as he was unable to slot it past the Jamaican international goalie.
The Fire would continue their momentum as Marco Pappa tested the Galaxy’s defense with some stellar crosses. Five minutes later, the Fire would have another one on one opportunity that they couldn’t capitalize off of, this time it was Gonzalo Segares missing off the post.
Galaxy coach Arena might have had reason to be frustrated as a questionable offside call forced a 36th minute strike to be called off. Yet in the 42nd minute, the Galaxy finally got their reward. Forward Chad Barrett slotted it past the Conway for a 1-0 lead just three minutes before halftime.
The second half started off similarly to the first. Both teams started off the first 10 minutes with intense play.
The uninspired Fire defensive performance continued on much of the second half. The left Galaxy wingers went after Gonzalo Segares and he was beaten easily on defense and showed little time in recovering.
The Galaxy earned their second goal off of a corner kick in the 72nd minute when Omar Gonzalez was left unmarked and beat Jon Conway.
After a run of a couple good counter attacks, the Chicago Fire found their long awaited goal when substitute Dominic Oduro finished off a well orchestrated, direct effort past Ricketts.
Tensions rose towards the end of the match when Conway pushed all the way up in search of a Fire second goal on a corner kick. The Galaxy could’ve easily put the game away in the bag when a Chicago net was left unattended but unfortunately the open Sean Franklin was unaware of the occasion.
Fire coach Carlos De Los Cobos in the post match press conference addressed his team’s performance saying that he was impressed with their performance despite their loss,
“I think we gave in a 100% performance and I have nothing to complain about what the team did,” said De Los Cobos.
The coach made it clear that the team’s loss is his responsibility and was pleased how the team reacted to Cory Gibbs’s injury.
“I liked the personality in our players and how we didn’t surrender. We recovered and adjusted to whatever happened on the field,” said De Los Cobos. De Los Cobos refused to put any blame on his players. He repeatedly stated that “Soccer is soccer” and it was just an unlucky day.
On the other side, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was pleased how his team performed on the road, especially since they were without Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
“At this point of the season we’re in a position where we’ve dealt with injuries, weather conditions, and all kinds of problems so it’s critical we double our efforts,” said Arena.
He complemented Michael Stephens and his recent exceptional at central midfield.
“Mike (Stephens) has been good for us and made it easy to play without Landon (Donovan) and David (Beckham). “
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