Sherjill MacDonald’s brace lifts Fire past Red Bulls
Harrison, NJ, United States (4E Sports) – Sherjill MacDonald notched two goals as the Chicago Fire put a postseason berth within reach with a 2-0 triumph over New York in a crucial Eastern Conference duel Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
The victory snapped the Fire’s two-game losing streak and put them one step closer to reaching the playoffs. Chicago is second in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind playoff qualifier Sporting City Kansas.
For the Red Bulls, the loss dropped them to fourth in the East standings, four points ahead of the Houston Dynamo. Houston is ahead of the Columbus Crew by a point for the fifth and last playoff spot.
The Fire controlled the match early but failed to create goal-scoring opportunities aside from a 20-yard shot by Chris Rolfe that goalkeeper Luis Robles blocked with his body.
New York dominated the first half with 58.9 percent and had several chances to break the ice, including a volley from Dax McCarty from outside the penalty area that went wide.
Chicago finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute when MacDonald eluded the Red Bulls defense and booted a shot past Robles.
MacDonald beat Robles again to double the Fire’s lead in the 78th minute from an assist by Daniel Paladini.
New York’s announced crowd of 21,157 was quiet until the end of the match when it booed the Red Bulls while leaving the field.
Both teams now head into the international break before returning to action Oct. 20 with the Fire visiting the New England Revolution while the Red Bulls host Sporting Kansas City.