Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - The Chicago Fire earned their third
straight win in improbable fashion, claiming a 1-0 victory over Sporting
Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park on Friday.
With Chicago carrying a 2-4-1 road record into Friday's tilt and Sporting
losing just once at home all season, the home side looked like a strong bet to
take maximum points in the crucial Eastern Conference clash.
But Marco Pappa's strike in the 58th minute saw the Fire claim a third win on
the bounce while dooming Sporting to a second successive loss. The two sides
are separated by just two points as Sporting sits third in the East on 29
points, followed closely by Chicago on 27 points.
Sporting had the majority of the possession in the opening period but
struggled to create many clear-cut scoring chances.
Chicago made the home side pay for its inefficiency in front of goal as Pappa
notched the lone goal of the match on the counter-attack.
The Guatemalan collected a clearance from the Fire defense and immediately
began his march up the pitch. Pappa found Chris Rolfe on the left side of the
penalty area but got the ball back instantly, slotting a one-time effort past
Jimmy Nielsen for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Sporting's best chance of the night came 14 minutes from time when Kei Kamara
ghosted into the center of the box to get on the end of a pinpoint delivery.
Kamara's effort looked destined for the back of the net but Sean Johnson
pulled off a sprawling one-handed save to tip the ball out for a corner.
It proved to be a massive save as the Fire staved off some late pressure
to preserve the clean sheet to claim all three points.
In its last two league matches, Sporting (9-5-2) has lost by a combined score
of 5-0 after a disappointing road thumping at the hands of the Philadelphia
Union. Chicago (8-5-3) has scored six goals across its three-game winning
streak, conceding just two in the process.
Both clubs hit the road for their next league encounters as Chicago heads to
BBVA Compass Stadium to face the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday while Sporting
takes on the Montreal Impact at the Stade Saputo on Wednesday.