Work in Sports
CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The defending MLS Cup champion Chicago Fire stayed alive in the postseason with a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Burn as midfielder Peter Nowak scored a goal and assisted on another.
The Fire kept league scoring champion Jason Kreis of Dallas scoreless in six career contests at Soldier Field and knotted the best-of-three Western Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.
The loss was the second-worst in MLS playoff history and the Burn owns both. Dallas suffered a 6-1 loss to Los Angeles in the 1998 Western Conference semifinals.
Dallas fell to 0-10 this season when allowing the first goal and hosts Game Three on Wednesday night. The Burn are 14-3 at the Cotton Bowl, with one of the losses to the Fire.
Following an unsettled first 10 minutes, Chicago seized control with a relentless attack that produced three first-half goals. The Fire outshot the Burn, 9-1, in the opening 45 minutes.
After a poor clearance of a corner kick in the 18th minute, Nowak intercepted Diego Gutierrez's shot and beat goalkeeper Matt Jordan from six yards out.
In the 36th minute, Chicago's Roman Kosecki tracked down a loose ball deep in Burn territory and launched a shot that deflected off defender Brandon Pollard and into the goal.
Just six minutes later, forward Ante Razov took Jesse Marsch's long ball, turned on Pollard and hit a 20-yard shot that caught Jordan off his line.
Reserve 'keeper Mark Dodd started the second half but it took just two minutes for the Fire to strike with a substitute of their own. Nowak dribbled into the left side of the penalty box and flicked a left-footed chip that glanced off Kosecki and to the feet of rookie Dema Kovalenko, who juked Dodd and scored.
The Fire improved to 5-1 all-time vs. Dallas at Soldier Field.