King lifts Fire over Red BullsSep 7, 2008 - 3:38 AM By Joe Cosentino PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (Ticker) -- Midfielder Steven King scored in the 36th minute to give the Chicago Fire a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
New York's Diego Jimenez saw his clearing pass intercepted by King, who was coming up on the right side of the net. King put the ball in the net from 12 yards out with Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway out of position.
"Chris Rolfe had the ball going toward the net," King said. "The defenders went to him. I just tried to make a run at the box to be open and luckily the happened to come to me. I was in the right place at the right time."
In the second half, Chicago's Brian McBride and Mike Banner had good scoring opportunities in the 69th and 75th minute, respectively. However, McBride's shot went wide and high, and Banner was turned aside by Conway.
"It was a great ball," McBride said. "I hit the ball exactly where I wanted. It just went a little high."
Goalkeeper Jon Busch.made four saves in recording his 10th shutout of the season for Chicago (11-7-5), which moved into a tie for second with New England (11-7-5) in the Eastern Conference. The Revolution dropped a 4-0 decision to the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
"We just work hard," Busch said. "It was evident tonight. We had a great team effort. We talked about that all week. We know going into the playoffs one mistake is going to cost us."
Chicago's offense continues to be sluggish as it has scored 11 goals in its last 14 games. Furthermore, the Fire have not scored more than two goals in a match since a 5-1 win over the Red Bulls on May 25.
"The important thing is we got one in and that's the one that counted," Fire coach Denis Hamlett. said "(New York) was pushing to equalize the game in the second half. I felt that our guys could get some chances on the counter which we did. The key was to get one and let our defense hold up. We had full concentration for 90 minutes."
Losing for the first time in seven matches, the Red Bulls (8-7-8) continue to struggle on the road. They are 0-5-4 on the road since a 2-1 victory at Los Angeles on May 10, and have been outscored 15-5 during that span. New York is 1-6-5 on the road overall.
The Red Bulls also have struggled at Chicago lately, going 0-2-2 there since a 3-0 win on May 14, 2005. The Fire are 6-1-3 in their last 10 home games versus New York.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," King said. "It's an Eastern Conference game. We are all playing for a playoff spot. We knew it was going to be a battle and a physical game and it was."
Following the game, the Fire signed Justin Mapp to a four-year contract extension through 2011 season. Mapp is currently in his sixth season with the team.
"We're glad we were able to keep a good young player like Justin not only with the Fire but in Major League Soccer," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said. "There are more options than ever before for younger players in our league and it's exciting Justin has decided to continue playing with the Fire."
Mapp, 23, is one of two Chicago players - Busch is the other - to have played in all 22 matches, making 21 starts. He has one goal and five assists and his three match-winning assists lead the team.
NY RED BULLS 0
CHICAGO 1 FINAL
Sep 6 10:25 PM
NY RED BULLS 0
CHICAGO 1 HALFTIME
Sep 6 9:22 PM
- MLS UPDATE
NY RED BULLS 0
CHICAGO GOAL: Stephen King in the 36th minute
Red Bulls 0, Fire 1 1st - 36'Sep 6 9:13 PM
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