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Fire Sun Apr 11 2010

Heartbreaking Loss in Fire Home Opener

Fans were out early enjoying the warm spring weather. The smell of charcoal and grilled meat filled the parking lots, as beer flowed freely among the crowds that gathered in celebration of the first game of the season. Everyone adorned themselves with bright red apparel before entering the stadium. The excitement in the air was palpable as the national anthem was sung and the players took the field. The charged crowd chanted in support as the Chicago Fire took on the San Jose Earthquakes in last night's home opener at Toyota Park. But spirits left a little lower after a game full of thrills and heartbreaks.

The match began on a high note with a record crowd of 20,276 in attendance. Prior to kickoff, fans offered a touching moment of silence for the tragedy in Poland, and Polish flags were raised in honor of the late president. Then a motivating and uplifting video montage of last season's highlights and cheering fans displayed on the big screen, welcoming the Fire back home for the new season. As fireworks pierced the sky, everyone was fired up.

The first half was a battle of missed opportunities, mostly for the Fire. Within the first few minutes, Patrick Nyarko delivered two seemingly perfect crosses The first was missed by Brian McBride as he attempted to drive in a header. The second reached Collins John, but was deflected just left of the goal. The half ended scoreless, but the crowd was still energized for the next half.

But the second half did not begin well. In the 49th minute, San Jose forward Arturo Alvarez took advantage of a misstep by Fire goalie Andrew Dykstra. As he rushed out to make a save, he tangled with teammate C.J. Brown, leaving the net wide open for Alvarez. Luckily, three minutes later, Fire midfielder Marco Pappa lined up a shot that rocketed into the upper right corner of the goal. With the score even, fans grew hopeful. But the Fire could not seem to surge ahead, despite more chances. The killer came in the 81st minute, when San Jose defender Ike Opara headed in the ball for a game winning shot. Even with four minutes of stoppage time, the Fire were unable to dominate.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Fire and the crowd. Now 0-2-1, the Fire head to Washington D.C. to take on D.C. United next Saturday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. It will be a tough match up, but if the Fire can propel themselves past last night's loss and work on their consistency, they could come away with a win.

 
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