The Fire finally played the exciting and flowing brand of soccer coach Frank Yallop envisioned. David Accam’s speed from the wings caused Toronto FC trouble all day, and Shaun Maloney used his skill and brain to direct the offense in front of a Toyota Park crowd clearly pleased by what it was seeing.
But maybe the most significant and positive part of the Fire’s 3-2 win Saturday over Toronto was the rally they staged.
Despite the flair and Joevin Jones’ goal that have them a 14th-minute lead, the Fire went down 2-1 in the 54th minute after a score by Toronto’s Benoit Cheyrou. Instead of letting three points get away in what would have been a deflating loss, the Fire tied the game two minutes later when Maloney got his first in MLS, and then they took the lead for good in the 68th minute when captain Jeff Larentowicz scored on a free kick.
“I think with David, Quincy (Amarikwa), Harry (Shipp) and Kennedy (Igboananike), you’ll always see us play attacking football,” Maloney said. “But I think when we go 2-1 down and we manage to turn that around in a victory, I think that shows a real sort of personality trend for the season.”
On Saturday, the Fire (2-3-0, six points) showed the personality they were expected to have.
Perhaps that was because the Fire’s two biggest signings played how they were expected to. Maloney had been quiet during his first three Fire games and missed last Sunday’s win over Philadelphia due to international duty. Accam, meanwhile, had been plagued by a groin problem and had only played 45 minutes this season.
Both looked how Designated Players are supposed to, helping the Fire attempt 14 shots and win their second straight game.
“In the end, very happy with our spirit and our general play,” Yallop said.
Yallop spent much of the offseason talking about what kind of team he was trying to build. At least on Saturday, the Fire were the dangerous group with a resilient spirit he wanted.
Though there’s still plenty of room for improvement, Saturday was a positive for a lot of reasons.
“I wouldn’t get overboard about today,” Maloney said. “I think it was a really good result, really good show from the team.”
NOTE: Victor Perez made his Fire debut, replacing Matt Polster in the 88th minute.