Red Bull New York had its six-game unbeaten run snapped on Sunday as it fell to the Chicago Fire, 3-1, at Toyota Park in a crucial Eastern Conference affair.
New York came into the match needing three points to keep pace with D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City after they picked up wins on Saturday. Instead, the Red Bulls faltered for the first time in league play since April 22 when it was crushed by United 4-1 at RFK Stadium.
Patrick Nyarko opened the scoring in Sunday's tilt with his first goal in nine games. New York got back into the match thanks to an equalizer from Dax McCarty, but Chicago earned the win thanks to second-half strikes from Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe.
New York (8-4-2) stays in third place on 26 points this term while Chicago (6-5-3) improves to 21 points to climb to fourth.
Nyarko capped Chicago's bright start with a goal in the fourth minute of play. Sebastian Grazzini was given plenty of time at the corner of the box to collect possession and send in a beautiful chip that was nodded past Ryan Meara with power.
New York staved off some more pressure and grew into the game, but still went into halftime with a one-goal deficit.
The Red Bulls had the better running in the early part of the second half and ultimately claimed a goal for their efforts. Medhi Ballouchy delivered a corner kick into the box and McCarty lost his mark to head it past Sean Johnson at the far post.
Controversy struck in the 64th minute when Dominic Oduro thought he had beaten Meara on a breakaway. His shot slowly made its way toward goal but Wilman Conde tracked back and denied Chicago with a sliding clearance. Replays showed that the ball had narrowly crossed the line, much to the dismay of Fire head coach Frank Klopas and the Toyota Park faithful.
It seemed to energize the Fire though as they grabbed the go-ahead goal just four minutes later. Segares dribbled the ball into the penalty area by way of the left side of the box and slid a pass in front of goal. Meara broke up the play with a save but Segares slammed the rebound into the back of the net with an emphatic finish.
Chicago added a third goal nine minutes from time as Nyarko broke free on the right flank and centered a pass to an unmarked Rolfe. The Fire legend marked his second match back with the club with a goal as he calmly slotted the ball past Meara.
The Fire held on for the remainder of the match to take three points and snap a two-game losing skid.
New York has a short break as it will head to BC Place to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday, while Chicago returns to action Saturday when it hosts the Columbus Crew.