Ching's hat trick sinks the Fire in Houston

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Ching's hat trick sinks the Fire in Houston

Saturday, Aug. 21, 201010:23 PM

Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP)Brian Ching scored the last of his three goals in the 85th minute to help the Houston Dynamo win for the first time in 11 games with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.

After Wilman Condes equalizer for Chicago in the 81st minute, the Hawaiian-born forward secured the win for Houston when he headed a corner kick by Richard Mulrooney just inside the right post four minutes later.
HOUSTON - AUGUST 21: Goalkeeper Sean Johnson 25 of the Chicago Fire goes up over Brian Ching 25 of the Houston Dynamo for a save in the first half at Robertson Stadium on August 21, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Johnson lost control of the ball when he came down and Ching put the ball in the back of the net for a goal.

Lovel Palmer scored his second goal of the season and Mulrooney was involved in all four goals for the Dynamo, whose last win was 2-0 over D.C. United on May 22.

Ching recorded his first hat trick since the franchises first game in April 2006 and now has six MLS goals in 2010.

Ching used a left-footed shot to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute after Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson dropped a corner kick by Mulrooney. That gave the Dynamo its first lead since July 1 at Toronto.

Palmer extended Houstons lead to 2-0 in the 50th minute, when the Dynamo scored on yet another set piece. But the Fire made it 2-1 when Calen Carr powered a shot by Pat Onstad in the 55th minute.

Ching scored a pretty bicycle-kick goal four minutes later to give Houston a 3-1 lead. Bobby Boswell hit the crossbar, but the rebound ended up just outside the goalkeeper box. With his back toward the net, Ching jumped and scored his second goal of the night in the 59th minute.

The Fire got within a goal in the 59th minute when Boswell rolled an own goal by Onstad to make it 3-2.

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Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

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USA TODAY

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

The Chicago Fire drafted three players in the first two rounds of the MLS draft on Friday and added another two players in the draft's final two rounds on Tuesday.

The Fire selected two players out of Charlotte in the final two rounds. Midfielder Brandt Bronico went with the third pick in the third round, No. 47 overall, and defender Matej Dekovic was picked with the third pick in the fourth round, No. 69 overall.

Bronico was a key cog all four years at Charlotte. He was a three-time First-Team Conference USA selection and Conference USA Player of the Year as a senior. He totaled 25 goals and 23 assists in four years, including nine goals and five assists in 18 matches as a senior. He had eight goals and 10 assists as a junior.

Bronico also scored an eye-catching goal on the final day of the MLS Combine.

Dekovic is a defender born in Zagreb, Croatia. He was a First-Team Conference USA pick this fall while playing at left back. The Fire don't have much depth currently at outside back, but Dekovic's status as an international player will give him an uphill battle to make the team.

The Fire open preseason camp in six days on Monday, Jan. 23.

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

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USA TODAY

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

Midfield has been an area of focus this offseason for Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and another new addition to that group was added on Monday.

The Fire have traded $400,000 in general allocation money in return for midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Paul Tenorio of Four Four Two first reported the trade.

McCarty was an All-Star in 2015 and part of the league's Best XI that season when he had eight assists to go with a goal. Last season he made 26 starts for the Red Bulls and totaled three goals and had five assists.

"Since the middle of 2016, we made acquiring Dax our No. 1 priority," Rodríguez said in the club's press release. "We believe adding his character and leadership in the locker room, as well as his exceptional soccer abilities on the field, dramatically improves our team."

The last time McCarty played at Toyota Park was a 2-2 draw on July 31 when a Khaly Thiam tackle caused a fractured tibia, which forced McCarty to sit out a month.

McCarty got married on Saturday, which delayed his arrival to the current U.S. national team camp. McCarty's participation in national team camp means he will join the Fire's preseason already in progress. The final match of the camp is on Feb. 3 while the Fire are set to start preseason on January 23.

McCarty, 29, has spent the past five and a half seasons with the Red Bulls. He began his career by playing five seasons for FC Dallas and was with D.C. United for part of the 2011 campaign before being traded to the Red Bulls. As an 11-year league veteran and the Red Bulls' captain, McCarty adds leadership and experience which Rodriguez has prioritized this offseason.

The Fire already added a former MLS All-Star in midfield this offseason in Juninho. The pair could line up next to each other in the preferred 4-2-3-1 coach Veljko Paunovic used for most of last season. This also could potentially put Matt Polster's role with the team in question. As the roster stands now, the third-year midfielder would be competing for two veteran All-Star caliber midfielders who were brought in at a high price.

Not to suggest a position move is in the works for Polster, but he did split time between midfield and right back with the Fire in 2015 under coach Frank Yallop and played there for the U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying. Right back remains a position of need by Rodriguez's own admission.

The trade also adds further context to the Fire trading the No. 3 pick in the draft on Friday. The Fire swapped the pick for $250,000 in general allocation money from New York City FC and Tenorio is reporting the Fire will send $400,000 to the Red Bulls for McCarty. To add those two moves together, the Fire dealt the No. 3 overall pick and $150,000 of allocation money for McCarty.