BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire made it back-to-back wins at Toyota Park with a thrilling come-from-behind victory against Toronto FC on Saturday.
Offseason acquisitions Joevin Jones and Shaun Maloney each scored their first goals in Fire uniforms while captain Jeff Larentowicz added the exclamation point with a 68th-minute game-winner off a free kick from 30-yards out. The trio of goals -- and points -- were welcome gifts to head coach Frank Yallop, who celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday.
<b>Frank Yallop Postmatch Reaction</b>
The first golden chance came from Chicago Fire Designated Player David Accam nine minutes into the match. Chris Ritter slipped a through ball past Toronto FC’s back line and directly into the path of a charging Accam. The Ghanaian took a touch, beat a defender in a foot race and then tried to clip a shot toward the far post from a narrow angle, but goalkeeper Joe Bendik was able to knock the attempt out for a corner kick.
Chicago conjured a bit of magic from a pair of offseason acquisitions to find their first goal. Jones won a challenge near the sideline in an advanced position then slid a pass to Maloney. The Scotsman returned the favor with a back-heeled pass to Jones, who then hit a shot with the outside of his left foot while on the run in Toronto FC’s box. The 14th-minute goal was Jones’ first in MLS as well as Maloney’s first assist in the league.
Toronto FC equalized six minutes later thanks to Designated Player Giovinco. Ashtone Morgan found the former Juventus midfielder open in the area and the Italian did well with his chance, firing between the legs of a Fire defender for his first career MLS goal.
Accam continued to flirt with the net in the 36th minute, again finding himself free with only the goalkeeper to beat. Adailton sent a long pass to the midfield line and Accam created space from his defender with an elusive first touch toward goal. Accam again won the race toward goal, but Bendik came off his line to deny Accam's close-range shot.
Toronto took the lead early in the second half after a Fire giveaway near midfield. Benoit Cheyrou was the beneficiary, volleying home a cross from Giovinco.
Two minutes later, the Fire leveled the match once again. Harry Shipp sent a looping cross that found Maloney open near the back post. Maloney cut back and then fired through the defenders legs and into the net for his first goal with Chicago.
Larentowicz capped the scoring with a free kick in the 68th minute. Shipp had the first touch, rolling a pass to Chicago’s captain. Larentowicz took two steps and then curled a shot around the wall and past Bendik’s outstretched arms.
Chicago is now unbeaten in its last 12 matches against Toronto FC, tied for the second-longest active streak in MLS.
The Fire managed to overcome a dose of early adversity, with Michael Stephens forced to exit the match inside of 10 minutes after a harsh tackle by Warren Creavalle. Creavalle would later earn a second yellow card in the 67th minute -- with Larentowicz' goal coming on the ensuing free kick -- as Toronto FC was left to 10 men for the final 23 minutes of the match.
Goalkeeper Jon Busch earned the win for the Fire, stepping up in place of the injured Sean Johnson. It marked Busch's 299th career MLS appearance and 298th career start.
The Men in Red return to action on Saturday, April 18 against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. Kickoff is 2 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (2-3-0, 6 pts.) 3:2 Toronto FC (1-3-0, 3 pts.)
April 4, 2015 – Toyota Park
CHI – Joevin Jones (Shaun Maloney) 14
TOR – Giovinco (Ashtone Morgan) 20
TOR – Benoit Cheyrou (Giovinco) 54
CHI – Shaun Maloney (Harry Shipp) 56
CHI – Jeff Larentowicz (Harry Shipp) 68
TOR – Warren Creavalle (caution) 5
CHI – Adailton (caution) 32
TOR – Warren Creavalle (ejecton) 67
CHI – Eric Gehrig (caution) 73
TOR – Justin Morrow (caution) 90
Chicago Fire: Jon Busch, Eric Gehrig, ©Jeff Larentowicz, Adailton, Joevin Jones, Harry Shipp, Matt Polster (Victor Perez 88), Michael Stephens (Chris Ritter 8), David Accam, Shaun Maloney, Quincy Amarikwa (Kennedy Igboananike 74).
Shots: 14; Shots On Goal: 8; Saves: 1; Fouls: 20; Corner Kicks: 8; Offsides: 8.
Toronto FC: Joe Bendik, Warren Creavalle, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow, Ashtone Morgan (Daniel Lovitz 88), Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio (Bright Dike 81), Robbie Findley, Jozy Altidore.
Shots: 11; Shots On Goal: 3; Saves: 5; Fouls: 10; Corner Kicks: 2; Offsides: 1.