Ante Razov won't be on the Korea-bound plane Thursday, but he put on a display worthy of a national team striker Sunday at CMGI Stadium.
Razov collected his second career hat trick as the Fire easily outpaced the New England Revolution 3-1.
Razov finished the day with 51 Major League Soccer goals after scoring in the 34th, 54th and 73rd minutes to enable the Fire (4-3-1, 13 points) to move clear of the pack atop the Eastern Conference.
The goals came too late to impress national team coach Bruce Arena, whose United States team had opened the doubleheader with a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands before 36,778 fans.
"It's not an issue anymore because the decision has been made," Razov said. "I was very disappointed, hoping I would get another shot at it. Now I just have to concentrate on helping this team."
Coach Bob Bradley said that's exactly what Razov is doing.
"He's matured in every way," Bradley said. "He's worked very hard, moved very well and played really well in the last weeks. I know he's disappointed, but I also really respect what he has done. He has become a real team player."
New England (2-3-1, 7 points) lost for the first time at its new home, which was christened just last week. Rookie Tim Twellman got the lone New England goal in the 64th minute, his fifth in four starts.
Razov opened the scoring with a fine strike in the 34th minute, running down Kelly Gray's precise pass to the top left of the penalty area and then slotting a difficult ball to the low, far right corner as goalkeeper Juergen Sommer dived to attempt to reach the finely angled shot.
He made it 2-0 some 20 minutes later with help from Sommer, who did not get down quickly enough to stop Razov's shot from 8 yards off a Dema Kovalenko cross. The ball went between Sommer's hands and through his legs.
Twellman replied 10 minutes later, but Razov restored the Fire's two-goal lead when he collected a pass from Peter Nowak, bore down on Sommer's left and shot to the opposite corner.
New England coach Fernando Clavijo blamed the loss on his team's lack of enthusiasm.
"We didn't show up," he said. "The idea was to pressure Chicago, but we never did that."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun