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Archive for Sunday, May 20, 2001

Chicago blanks KC, 2-0

May 20, 2001

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— Dema Kovalenko had a goal and an assist, and Peter Nowak scored a goal as the Chicago Fire avenged their MLS Cup loss with a 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night.

Nowak was later ejected, receiving a red card in the 60th minute for violent contact, after he stomped on the foot of Wizards defender Brandon Prideaux.

Chicago leads the MLS in ejections with four.

The victory extended the Fire's unbeaten streak at home to 14 games.

Counting playoff games and U.S. Open Cup matches, Chicago has won 21 straight at Soldier Field.

Led by stingy goalkeeper Tony Meola, the Wizards beat the Fire 1-0 last October to win their first MLS Cup. Chicago outshot Kansas City 22-6, but Meola was outstanding.

The regular-season and MLS Cup MVP made 10 saves, including three in the final 10 minutes.

But Meola wasn't as sharp Saturday. In the 24th minute, Fire midfielder Evan Whitfield took a shot from the right side. Meola grabbed it, and rolled it back to Prideaux to clear it.

But Whitfield cut in front of Prideaux and sent a crossing pass to Kovalenko, who scored on a wide-open shot from about eight yards out.

In the 41st minute, Nowak trapped a pass from Kovalenko around midfield and charged toward the goal.

The 36-year-old outsprinted 22-year-old defender Nick Garcia, drawing Meola out of the goal.

As Meola slid to grab the ball, Nowak took his shot and the ball rolled slowly into the back right corner of the net.

Kovalenko now has a goal and an assist in all three of the Fire's home games this year.

Nowak's ejection came after Prideaux took him down near the Kansas City goal. Nowak was looking for a foul, and when none was called, he stomped on Prideaux's foot.

Nowak, who has gotten two red cards in his MLS career, also will miss next week's game against the San Jose Earthquakes.

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