BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - Facing a two-goal deficit beyond the 70th minute, the Chicago Fire were simply vying to get back into the game. But they did more than just that as they scored three unanswered goals, capped off by a Dasan Robinson tally in second-half stoppage time, as the Fire defeated the Colorado Rapids, 3-2, on Sunday at Toyota Park.
The central defender headed home the game-winner past former Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens several minutes into stoppage time for his first tally of the season.
"It's a blessing," Robinson said. "The ball popped back out to Justin (Mapp) and he put a great ball in and I was able to wait for it and put it in the back of the net. Thank God I got a good head on it."
Robinson's goal came with a price, however. After the goal, he took off his shirt in celebration and was booked his second yellow card of the game, forcing Chicago to play the remainder of stoppage time a man down and without his services for next week against D.C. United.
"He had a little brain fart there at the end. It happens," Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch said. "He was so excited; you have to be excited for him because he doesn't score that often. But he's going to take that Nike bonus that he probably got for scoring a goal and now he's going to pay his red card fine."
"Kind of a bone-headed move, but you live and you learn," Robinson said. "I'll do my best next time to be a little more thoughtful in my actions after I score a goal."
With the win, Chicago improved to 10-5-8, 38 points, while Colorado falls to 8-7-6, 30 points.
The end of the match was a far cry from the start. First off, both teams did not register a shot on goal through the first 45 minutes. And then, it was all Colorado for the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Omar Cummings first scored off a rebound in the 48th minute and then cracked a left-footed strike from above the box in the 58th to give the Rapids a 2-0 lead. That goal prompted Fire head coach Denis Hamlett to bring in Patrick Nyarko, and the game changed for the better from Chicago's standpoint.
"I thought the game changed when we went to two strikers," Hamlett said. "I feel like when we were down 2-0, we wanted to get back into the game and push upfield."
In the 72nd minute, Chicago got on the scoreboard when Cuauhtemoc Blanco capitalized on his penalty kick opportunity to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then in the 85th minute, second-half substitution Mike Banner, who pushed up from his left defensive back position, happened to be at the right place at the right time. He wound up with the ball and struck it past Pickens' left to tie the score at 2-all.
Next up: The Fire wrap up their three-game homestand with D.C. United at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29. The game is televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
SlideTackles.net thoughts: Talk about a game with polar opposites. Colorado and Chicago did not have a single shot on goal in the first half, and for Fire supporters, that should not have sat well considering the team was coming off an entire game against L.A. in which the Fire did not post a shot on goal.
The Fire lived dangerously but stayed poised and thrilled Toyota Park with their best comeback of the season.
Though the game-winner wound up being the big story, on the defensive side, Robinson had a much-improved match compared to Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, in which he was involved in the defensive collapse on two quick L.A. attacks. Robinson read the passing lanes pretty well against Colorado. "I thought tonight his instincts, as far as stepping in and winning balls, I thought he was good at doing that," Hamlett said.
Though his improvement was a plus, his absence will be an obvious negative when D.C. comes to town. This defense is insanely shorthanded to begin with, and with both center backs (C.J. Brown and Wilman Conde) frequently hurt and reports surfacing that Bakary Soumare is headed to play in France, this group cannot afford an absence that should have been prevented.
Aside from Cummings' first goal, the defense as a whole had a steady performance Sunday. Brown and Robinson were frequently battling against Cummings and Conor Casey, and that is one of the best forward tandems in MLS to deal with. The first Cummings goal should have been prevented, but his second goal was simply a beautiful strike that likely could not have been defended better in order to change the outcome.