BRIDGEVIEW, IL - Returning home for the Chicago Fire turned out to be a good remedy for finding a victory. It was the first home appearance for Welsh forward Robert Earnshaw, who in a couple of games has come off the bench and scored a couple of goals, including the game-winner on Saturday night as the Chicago Fire stopped the 10-game unbeaten streak of FC Dallas with a 1-0 victory at Toyota Park.
"I'm confident, now I have to pay tribute to my team," Earnshaw said after the match. "It's good that I've come on the last two weeks and scored. The team has done a lot of hard work just to get to that point, where it allows to get in front and score a goal. You can see a good team worth effort in the last two weeks."
Earnshaw made his way on the field in the 63rd minute of play. He made a couple moves towards the goal, but finally got involved with a scoring opportunity in the 83rd minute. It started with a Harry Shipp corner kick out to Jeff Larentowicz, who misplayed the ball at first. Then he took it in control towards the left side of the box and he sent it to the middle. Earnshaw followed and head-flicked it inside the back post.
"For me I'm 5-foot-6, so my advantage, I have to use my brain," said Earnshaw with his second header in two games. "I've got to use my timing and see what's around me. I have to be aware of the space. If I can get the space, then obviously I can get the headers. That's the key, if I can make my movement right and the ball the comes in at the right time. I've been able to get two headers."
Chcago (5-6-14, 29 points) nearly added another in the 90th minute, as Quincy Amarikwa found Earnshaw on the move towards the goal, who kicked a shot that was saved and cleared away by FC Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez. Just about a minute later, Earnshaw again was on the loose from midfield with FC Dallas players in chase. He tried to chip it over Fernandez and sent it over the crossbar.
"Every time you make a signing, you hope it works out very quickly," said Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop regarding Earnshaw's play. "The big thing for Robbie (Earnshaw) was that I've seen him and that he's been in the league. He get's the travel, he gets the game and knows what it's all about. Impactwise, he's been very key to us."
FC Dallas (12-8-6, 42 points) had one last chance to tie, as Fabian Castillo had a shot from up top of the box and sent it off the mark in the 93rd minute. FC Dallas lost for the first time since May 31 against San Jose.
"The best part of the game we couldn't find the net," said FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja against the Chicago Fire. "We didn't concentrate enough and then we give up. I was delighted to see some of the young players. I can be happier seeing this club get younger and them getting into games."
It took until the 15th minute, when FC Dallas with the first good opportunity. Ryan Hollingshead shot from 12 yards with a low shot right at Fire keeper Sean Johnson.
A minute later, Chicago had its chance as Razvan Cocis moved towards the goal and had the ball go right by him and past the far post. Cocis had another shot in the 20th minute and sent a shot form 20 yards up and over the crossbar.
But, In the 22nd minute, with FC Dallas pushing forward with some numbers, Hollingshead from a tough angle lifted a shot past over the corner.
"I think we came out a little lackadaisical," Hollingshead said. "We had out game plan set out and knew what we had to do offensively. It wasn't as much as (Chicago) stopping us, more than us stopping ourselves and not executing well. We would get into the final third and miss the last pass."
The Fire's Grant Ward was left open from 30 yards sent a shot wide of the post for the Fire in the 28th minute. Cocis nearly found a goal off a header from a Sanna Nyassi corner kick in the 37th minute.
In the second half, FC Dallas' Castillo, in the midst of the Fire defense, lifted a ball over the bar from 15-yards out in the 52nd minute.
But, In the 55th minute, Grant Ward low-lined shot hit off a FC Dallas defender and over the end line. Amarikwa had a head ball go past the post in the 68th minute for the Fire. Once again, Amarikwa nearly found a goal for the Fire in the 72nd minute, forcing the issue of FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges. Amarikwa won the ball and was left one-on-one with keeper Fernandez. but Amarikwa's touch was taken away on the slide by Fernandez and cleared away at the top of the box.
Chicago is making a push forward towards the playoffs with nine matches remaining, and now hits the road to play the Revolution on September 7 in New England. FC Dallas travels to Real Salt Lake on September 6.