Sean Johnson and Fire knock off Galaxy, 3-2

Bolstered by an impressive debut performance in goal by Sean Johnson, the Chicago Fire stunned the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday, 3-2.

Johnson wrestled away the starting spot from first-year regular starter Andrew Dykstra, who has battled bouts of inconsistency throughout the season. The 51st overall pick in the 2010 SuperDraft, Johnson’s only conceded goals came from a pair of penalty kicks by Landon Donovan.

After the first of a handful of outstanding saves by Johnson, the Men in Red worked a devastating counter attack to take the lead in the fourth minute. Baggio Husidic fed Marco Pappa on a great run into the box to set up the score. Less than a minute later, Dasan Robinson fed a streaking Collins John on the right side and rifled home a shot in between LA keeper Donovan Ricketts and the near post to go up 2-0.

The storm seemingly subsided until the 19th minute as Pappa unleashed one of his trademark 20+ yard blasts from outside the box. Ricketts made a great diving save on the ball, but Mike Banner hammered home the rebound to go up 3-0.

Chicago fell back into a defensive stance for the rest of the game, and LA would waste no time generating opportunities. After a sliding Buddle narrowly missed a shot on goal in the 35th minute, Todd Dunivant was brought down on the edge of the box a minute later to set up a Donovan score off a penalty kick.

The second half would present more of the same action for the Galaxy.

Another outstanding save by Johnson on Buddle in the 50th minute maintained the 3-1 scoreline, but an inadvertent handball in the box by Krystof Krol in the 81st minute set up the second Donovan score from the penalty spot.

The play of the night came in the 85th minute as Johnson used all of his six-foot-four frame and completely extended to make the win-preserving save on an Alan Gordon header in the box.

New signing Freddie Ljungberg debuted for the Fire, coming on for Pappa in the second half, but was largely ineffectual as Chicago mostly abandoned playing offense for much of the half.

The Fire will now return home to take on Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls next Sunday at Toyota Park.

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