Pappa, John lead Fire to win over Galaxy

Pappa, John lead Fire to win over Galaxy

Sunday, August 1, 2010
11:35 PM

Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. (AP)Marco Pappa and Collins John scored about a minute apart early in the first half to lead the Chicago Fire to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night.

Mike Banner also scored for the Fire (5-5-5), which won its second consecutive game after losing five straight in all competitions. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made four saves for his first Major League Soccer victory in his first start.

Were just a lot more confident, Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic said of his teams recent improvement. Were a lot sharper and a lot more disciplined.

Johnson added: Were finishing our chances and eliminating our mistakes. Its massive for us.

Landon Donovan scored both goals for the Galaxy (12-3-4), which lost its first home league game and is 1-4-1 in its past six games. Donovans first goal was the 100th of his MLS career.

Our execution was poor, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. It could be complacency. I think thats been the case with a number of players when they look at the league standings and see that were out in front.

Pappa gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute with a 13-yard shot inside the left post for his seventh goal.

John followed one minute later by firing a 6-yard shot between goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and the right post after making a solo run along the right flank.

We have to address the first 10 minutes of games, Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter said. Were not relaxed and doing our jobs. Were thinking too much, maybe. Were a little bit tense, maybe.

Banner made it 3-0 in the 19th minute with his first of the season. Ricketts dove to deflect Pappas 19-yard line drive with his left hand but Banner volleyed the rebound from seven yards.

We came out firing where we usually come out slow, Johnson said. Coming at a team aggressively and not sitting back has helped us for the past couple of games.

Donovan converted penalty kicks in the 37th and 81st minutes for his fourth and fifth goals and tied Taylor Twellman for fifth place in MLS career goal-scoring with 101.

We should have been scoring goals off the run of play, Arena said. We couldve scored five goals. There was failure on both ends of the field, no question about it.

Johnson kept Los Angeles from scoring the tying goal in the 85th minute when he dove to his right to block Alan Gordons 10-yard header with his right hand.

I couldnt aske for more, Johnson said of his first MLS start. I tried to keep myself calm going into it. I didnt really have time to be nervous. I had to made a save early and I think that was good for me to get a touch on the ball.

The Fires Freddie Ljungberg, acquired from Seattle on July 30, made his team debut when he replaced Pappa in the 58th minute. Nery Castillo, whom the Fire signed Aug. 1, did not make the trip.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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