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  • March 26, 2011
  • • 4:00 PM
  • • Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
  • Referee: J. Anno
  • • Attendance: 12157

Chicago Fire 3-2 Sporting Kansas City: Omar Bravo Sees Red

Chicago Fire 3-2 Sporting Kansas City: Omar Bravo Sees Red

Jonathan Daniel

Marco Pappa's golazo sees Chicago past 10-man Sporting.

Chicago Fire made proceedings against Sporting Kansas City harder than they had to be, but in the end, the Fire squeaked out a 3-2 victory over 10-man Kansas City.

After scoring two goals last week, Mexican striker Omar Bravo had a game to forget - he was sent off and conceded a penalty in the first half. Diego Chaves converted the penalty, and Gaston Puerari doubled the Fire's lead in the late stages of the first half.

Matt Besler scored a goal early in the second half to pull KC within one goal, before Marco Pappa had a terrific individual effort for the game winning goal. USA striker Teal Bunbury scored to make the final 15 minutes interesting, but Chicago managed to hold on.

First Half

Marco Pappa had the first chance of the game, bouncing a shot just past the far post after a breakdown in the Sporting defense.

But the big talking point of the half came in the 30th minute. A quick throw from Chicago 'keeper Sean Johnson to Pappa allowed Pappa to pump a long ball forward for Gaston Puerari. Puerari's effort was clipped over the bar, but Omar Bravo was adjudged to have fouled the striker in the process. A penalty was given, and after some thought, Bravo was sent off in just his second game in MLS.

Diego Chaves took the penalty, mading no mistake. His thunderous effort sent Jimmy Nielsen the wrong way, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later, Chicago was up 2-0, with Puerari scoring his first goal in MLS. Michael Videria slipped a pass through to Puerari, and Puerari broke behind the Sporting defense to curl an effort around Nielsen for the two-goal advantage.

Sporting's best chance came just before the half. Sean Johnson was forced to make a save after his own teammate, Jalil Anibaba, headed a Sporting free kick on target. But Johnson pushed the unexpected shot over the bar, denying the potential own goal.

Second Half

Sporting brought on Teal Bunbury at half, and a turn of fortune quickly followed, as Matt Besler pulled a goal back for Kansas City in the 51st minute. Following a save by Johnson, Kansas City took a quick corner, which caught Chicago off guard. Johnson fumbled the cross into the box, and the ball fell to the feet of Besler, who made no mistake from five yards out to bring the score to 2-1.

The momentum was short lived for Kansas City, however, as a moment of individual brilliance nine minutes later restored Chicago's two goal advantage. Pappa received the ball in the middle of the field in the Kansas City half, dinking past several defenders with some fantastic close control. Having beaten four defenders, Pappa finally took a shot once he got in the box, and his effort slipped underneath Nielsen, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead.

An errant back pass from Gonzalo Segares allowed Kansas City to again pull within one goal in the 72nd minute. Segares' pass missed his target, and Bunbury was the quickest to react to the loose ball. The striker took one touch to settle the ball before firing a shot under Johnson from the top of the box to make the score 3-2 and set up an anxious final 15 minutes.

Pappa almost restored Chicago's lead three minutes later, but his effort flew just over Nielsen's goal at the near post. Orr Barouch had the best chance to seal Chicago's victory in the 81st minute, but after being played through by Chaves, Barouch was unable to steer his shot around Nielsen.

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