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Chicago Fire 0, Colorado Rapids 1 | MLS Match Recap

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – One minute was all the Colorado Rapids needed to extract a crucial three points from their Saturday night match against host Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.

Colorado front men Kevin Doyle and Gabriel Torres ignited a first-minute counterattack and supplied Dillon Serna the cross for a cleanly taken back-post finish 51 seconds into the match.

That strike would prove to be enough for the visitors despite the Fire controlling much of the action for the remainder of the match. 

The full three points to break a three-game losing streak breathed a stitch of life into the Rapids’ fading playoff hopes (6-9-9, 27 points); they remain in the basement of the Western Conference, eight points out of the sixth and final playoff spot.

Chicago (6-13-5, 23 points), meanwhile, remain entrenched at the bottom of the East with only a five-point difference to make up to enter the playoff field.

Both teams made a quartet of changes, with Fire head coach Frank Yallop handing starts to Matt Polster, Matt Watson and Harry Shipp, who replaced Lovel Palmer, Razvan Cocis and Jason Johnson, respectively. David Accam, meanwhile, stood in for Shaun Maloney, who is expected to seal a move to English Championship outfit Hull City early next week.

For the Rapids, Pablo Mastroeni inserted Nick LaBrocca in for the suspended Sam Cronin and Jared Watts made way for Marcelo Sarvas in the midfield, while Torres and Serna flanked Doyle up front.

Despite gifting the visitors a lead, it was the Fire who maintained the tempo, with Colorado sitting back and protecting their advantage. Efforts from Accam and Jeff Larentowicz kept Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin on his guard and he met each and every one of the three attempts that came his way in the opening 45 minutes.

With only 34 percent of possession and one shot on target in the first half, Colorado’s mindset in the second half did not change: The Rapids focused on defending astutely and snuffing out any and all opportunities that the hosts presented.

But the Rapids did threaten to double their lead on two chances. In the 62nd minute, a header from Doyle following a Serna corner kick whistled by Sean Johnson’s post in the 62nd minute. That was followed by a volley from Torres in the 74th minute.

In the dying moments, second-half substitute and newly acquired Chicago Fire forward Gilberto clanged an effort from close range off the post in stoppage time. But the Rapids’ clinical finish in the opening minute – their first of just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes – backed by a stout defensive performance helped secure a vital win in an impressive away display.

The Fire were left licking their wounds after failing to convert any of their 18 shots.

Next up for both teams is a pair of midweek fixtures, with the Fire playing host to high-flying New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night at Toyota Park (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), and the Rapids welcoming the Houston Dynamo to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on the same night (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

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