The Fire finally played the exciting, flowing soccer that coach Frank Yallop envisioned.
David Accam’s speed from the wings caused trouble for Toronto FC, and Shaun Maloney used his skill and vision to direct the offense in front of a clearly pleased Toyota Park crowd.
But the rally they staged might’ve been the most significant aspect of the Fire’s 3-2 victory Saturday.
Despite all their flair and Joevin Jones’ goal that gave them a 14th-minute lead, the Fire went down 2-1 in the 54th minute after a goal by Benoit Cheyrou. Instead of letting three points get away in what would’ve been a deflating loss, the Fire tied the game two minutes later when Maloney scored his first goal in MLS. They took the lead for good in the 68th minute, when captain Jeff Larentowicz scored on a free kick.
“With David, Quincy [Amarikwa], Harry [Shipp] and Kennedy [Igboananike], you’ll always see us play attacking [soccer],” Maloney said. “But when we go down 2-1 and we turn that around, that shows a real sort of personality trend for the season.”
Shaun Maloney discusses Saturday's Fire win. #cf97 pic.twitter.com/2z3B5SiZUf— Brian Sandalow (@BrianSandalow) April 5, 2015
Maloney and Accam, the Fire’s biggest signings, were responsible for that injection of personality. Maloney had been quiet during his first three games and missed the 1-0 victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Union because of international duty. Accam, meanwhile, had been plagued by a groin problem and only had played 45 minutes.
Both lived up to their Designated Player status as the Fire took 14 shots in their second consecutive victory.
“In the end, [I’m] very happy with our spirit and our general play,” Yallop said.
Yallop spent much of the offseason talking about what kind of squad he was trying to build. Against Toronto FC, the Fire were the resilient, dangerous team he wanted.
There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but the comeback victory was a huge positive.
“I wouldn’t go overboard about today,” Maloney said. “It was a really good result, really good show from the team.’’
NOTE: Midfielder Victor Perez made his Fire debut, replacing Matt Polster in the 88th minute.