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March 24th, 2012

Fire keeps Union winless with 1-0 win in home opener Goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi records his first shutout in MLS By Joe Cosentino

(Bridgeview, IL) … The Chicago Fire opened its 2012 home season with a 1-0 win over the still winless Philadelphia Union before 18,075 fans on a chilly night in March. The action was furious as both teams needed a win. The Union, coming off two loses to start its season, came out fast, but the Fire turned the action around quickly. “It’s great to be back home after a long off-season,” said Fire Coach Frank Klopas. “We set the tone early with the energy we brought on the field. From the start, I thought we pressed very high, we had a very good forty-five minutes. In the end, I give a lot of credit to my players.” Sebastian Grazzini got things going for the Fire in the 14th minute. Grazzini fired a left-footed shot from the left side of the box following a feed from Patrick Nyarko, but the Union’s 2011 first round draft pick goalkeeper Zac MacMath pushed the shot aside. The Fire peppered MacMath with five shots more before Dominic Oduro broke the game open in the 28th minute. Oduro headed the ball from the centre of the penalty box off a crossing pass from Marco Pappa on the right side into the net to give the Fire a 1-0 lead. “We’ve been working on crossing and finishing during training, hoping it was something we would see in the game,” said Oduro. “Pappa delivered a great ball and I was in the right spot to put it in.” Grazzini and the Fire kept on the attack up for the remainder of the first half. In the 31st minute, he made a long


Photo by Brian Kersey

run to the Union net to setup Oduro again. With MacMath out of position, Chris Albright came up with a big play to stop Oduro and deflect the ball to the left. “It was a full 90 (minutes) that I think I didn’t make any big mistakes like the previous games so I was happy about that,” said MacMath. “It’s still very disappointing with the result.” Late in the second half, the Union’s Keon Daniel got a free kick following a foul charged to Cory Gibbs. Fire rookie goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, playing in his second game in the MLS, was up to the task pushing the ball to the side for his third save of the game. “I’m glad that I was able to come here and help,” said Tornaghi. “I knew when I had the opportunity to play that wanted to help the team win the games.” Tornaghi, a 23 year-old who began his career as a youth with Inter-Milan, made four saves in the game while recording his first win and shutout. “It was very emotional for me coming on the field with all these people and the fireworks. It was very good to start the game in a situation like this,” said Tornaghi His performance gained Tornaghi to be named “Man of the Match”. “I felt pretty comfortable,” said Tornaghi. “I’ve played in preseason and I played last week with the guys – we are a team and I feel like I’m a part of the team now. I know my job on the field and as a team we are there to help each other.” The Fire travel to Colorado on Sunday, April 1, to play the Rapids at 6 p.m. (CST).

Photo by Brian Kersey

Photo by Brian Kersey

3.24.2012 Fire vs Phila