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Early Kansas City goal sinks Chicago Fire

For the second game in a row, the Fire watched a wide-open player overshoot the goal from point-blank range.

But this time it was the Fire that missed what should have been an easy goal.

Chad Barrett's miss in the 40th minute was one of many squandered scoring chances in the Fire's 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday at Toyota Park.

Barrett's shot was similar to that of San Jose's Shea Salinas, who missed from close range in a 1-0 loss to the Fire on April 12.

"That miss said it all," Barrett said. "I should have hit it with my left foot.

"I know I can score, and I know everything is going to be fine. It's just one day. One bad day, and we lose."

Jack Jewsbury put the Wizards on the board in the fourth minute when he received Claudio Lopez's pass in stride and dribbled around Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch for the open goal. The goal marked the first time an opponent had scored against the Fire all season.

After the game, Busch said he mistimed Lopez's pass because he thought the field was wet, which normally gives the ball more bounce.

"[The ball] just sticks as soon as it bounces, and I'm in no-man's land," Busch said. "It's my fault. I take the responsibility, and you know, on another day, when the field's wet, the ball slips through and I catch it cleanly, and we're off playing."

The crowd of 17,121 saw the Fire turn up its attack midway through the first half and continue to pressure in the second half. Shots by Barrett, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Tomasz Frankowski kept Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on his toes, but none got past the 33-year-old keeper.

"There were a few times we were very fortunate not to have one put in the back of the net," Jewsbury said.

Barrett acknowledged the irony in the Fire losing after a solid performance, seeing as how the team had managed to beat the Earthquakes last weekend and tie Real Salt Lake on March 29 after average performances.

"Someone said it best when they told me, 'We got four points out of two bad games and zero points out of a good game,' " Barrett said.

The Fire (2-1-1) dropped to third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the first-place Wizards (3-1-1). The defeat was only the Fire's second to the Wizards at home in 16 games.

"It's great to get three points on the road," Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said. "We've been on the side of a lot of games where we've had the majority of chances throughout. They certainly had more chances, but we found a way to grit it out."

Corner kicksFire forward Chris Rolfe missed his second straight game. Rolfe injured his ankle April 3 against New England. Coach Denis Hamlett said Rolfe likely could have played but was kept out as a precaution. Rolfe is expected to practice Monday. ...

Fire captain C.J. Brown missed his fourth straight game with a hip injury and is expected to miss at least another two to three weeks. Blanco wore the captain's armband. ... Sunday's game marked a reunion of sorts for Blanco and Lopez. They were once teammates on Mexico's Club America. ...

Next up for the Fire is a home game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

larroyave@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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