Berry's goal lifts Fire to 2-1 victory
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Colorado Rapids forward Edson Buddle, bottom, and Chicago Fire defender Austin Berry battle for the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday night.
Like his team this season, Austin Berry had a long way to go and a lot of making up to do.
Berry made up for a nightmare start Wednesday night with a second-half goal that gave the Fire a 2-1 victory against Colorado at Toyota Park.
The Fire remains unbeaten since acquiring Mike Magee and Bakary Soumare in late May, going 2-0-2 in MLS games plus 2 U.S. Open Cup victories.
"We found a way again to come back from behind," coach Frank Klopas said.
With 20 games to play, the eighth-place Fire (4-7-3, 15 points) is playing from behind in the standings also after a terrible start to the season.
The Fire had to come back Wednesday after Colorado rookie Deshorn Brown stole the ball from Berry in the 17th minute and went in on goalkeeper Sean Johnson 1-on-1, scoring easily.
"I basically passed it into him," Berry said. "I couldn't have helped him out anymore. I was too lazy on the ball. I didn't play it quick enough. He caught me."
"Listen, I used to play center back; I know how that is," veteran midfielder Jeff Larentowicz added. "It's early in the game. Things happen. But we were determined to win the game from the get-go.
"If we went down a goal, we went down a goal. There's nothing you can do. You get the ball out and you start playing again, and we scored."
The Fire tied the game in the 23rd minute, Dilly Duka earning a penalty kick that Magee converted for his fifth goal in five Fire appearances. Magee left the game in the 75th minute with a back injury.
"It's not that bad, but you never know," Klopas said, hoping Magee will be available Saturday night at Columbus. "Tomorrow we'll have a better idea."
Then Berry, a kid who stumbled taking the stage on draft day but became the MLS Rookie of the Year last season, regained his footing again. His 47th-minute header of a Larentowicz cross gave the Fire the lead for good.
"It feels great, especially when you mess up like that," Berry said. "It was a good ball in by Jeff and I kind of lost my mark and I was open on the back post. I just had to get something on it."
Klopas didn't want to relive the Brown goal, only the character Berry and his teammates showed in getting another needed victory as they try to climb back into playoff position.
"I think it was just a whole team effort," Klopas said. "I think Austin is always a guy that is dangerous in the box. We knew that he's very good in the air. But he's a competitor. The kid leaves everything on the field. … Fantastic outing again by him and the whole team."
"Even early in the season we kept a good mindset," Berry said. "We're still focused on the goals at hand. Now we're starting to put in victories; we're starting to put in goals and get the points. It feels good to get rewarded for all that hard work and stay positive."
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