for this game

Fire extends dominance over Red Bulls

Apr 5, 2009 - 11:02 PM By Nicolino DiBenedetto Stats Writer

BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (STATS) - The Chicago Fire had a starter ejected and were facing heavy winds but it didn't stop them from beating the New York Red Bulls again, 1-0 on Sunday.

Chicago's Marco Pappa connected on a 25-yard shot in the 33rd minute for his first goal of the season on a day that featured 38-degree weather with winds gusting up to 29 mph.

Chicago (2-0-1) was already in a difficult position when Fire midfielder John Thorrington was sent off for tackling New York's Macoumba Kandji from behind on a breakaway in the 14th minute. Kandji left the game with a sprained right ankle, and Thorrington will be suspended for Saturday's contest at San Jose.

But the wind seemed to help Chicago by clearly playing a factor in the goal. The Fire's Wilman Conde lofted a free kick into the box that was slowed in mid-air, causing Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero to come out of his net. A clearing attempt by New York (0-2-1) fell right to Pappa at the top of the box, and his shot went off the left post and into the net while Cepero was left scrambling.

"I think our team showed unbelievable work rate and commitment given the conditions tonight," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "Obviously, going a man down early, we stuck together and kept working and working.

"I'm more proud of that today. It shows the commitment of this team."

The Fire have five goals this season - all scored by different players.

Pappa's goal was his first since joining Chicago on loan from Guatemala's CSD Municipal last summer. The 21-year-old midfielder, considered one of his country's top prospects, has started all three games this season after playing six - three starts - a year ago. He had a team-high four shots against the Red Bulls.

Pappa is capitalizing on extra playing time courtesy of a knee injury that has hampered Cuauhtemoc Blanco. The Mexican playmaker was available off the bench, but didn't see action for the first time this season for the Fire.

Chicago's winning streak over New York is at four games. The run, which includes a 12-3 scoring advantage, has come after coach Juan Carlos Osorio broke his contract with the Fire to take over the Red Bulls before last season.

"Now, it's just another game," Fire midfielder Justin Mapp said. "Three points out there we want to win. He had his time here, and he's moved on. We've put that behind us. He just happens to be the coach."

New York took 11 shots, but only four were on net. Two came in the 79th minute when Juan Pablo Angel and Dominic Oduro had successive point-blank attempts stopped by goalkeeper Jon Busch, who got his first shutout.

Angel is still searching for his first goal of the year after netting 33 in 47 games over the last two years.

"We were one man up right from the beginning and we couldn't make a difference," Angel said. "That is a disappointment. They scored a goal and won the plays against us. They played against (the wind), too. It wasn't an easy game to play, and we should have done better than that."