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(Reuters) - Chicago Fire clinched one of the big upsets of the Major League Soccer season when they beat Dallas FC 2-0 at home on Sunday.
An early goal by Ghanaian international David Accam and a late penalty by Scottish international Shaun Maloney earned the Fire just their sixth win of the season after they entered the match with the worst record in the league.
Accam’s goal, his sixth of the season, came after only three minutes when he nutmegged Dallas keeper Dan Kennedy from a tight angle.
Dallas needed a win to go back atop the Western Conference and they had their chances, most notably one that fell to Victor Ulloa, who sent a shot whistling inches wide of the far post in the 26th minute.
And Dallas could not take advantage of a one-man advantage after Chicago substitute Matt Watson was given a straight red card in the 79th minute for a studs-up challenge on Rolando Escobar.
Instead, it was the Fire who scored, with Maloney converting from the spot in the 85th minute after Kellyn Acosta was adjusted to have fouled Kennedy Igboananike just inside the penalty area.
"We’re at the bottom of the table and to score early I think took a big bit of pressure off us and I think we played reasonably well on the counterattack," Maloney told Fox Sports after a result that lifted the Fire off the bottom of the Eastern Conference, with 22 points from 21 matches.
A day after 39 goals were notched in eight Saturday games, scoring dried up in the two Sunday matches, with San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers drawing 0-0 in the other game.
A draw did not do much good for the Earthquakes, second-bottom in the West, but they were fortunate to pick up even one point after Portland twice hit the woodwork.
A fierce strike by Fanendo Adi struck the post in the 47th minute, though there was more than a hint of offside in the pass that put him on track to goal.
Later, Argentine Diego Valeri missed a penalty for Portland in the 75th minute when his strike thundered against the crossbar.
Portland coach Caleb Porter was moderately pleased with a draw, given that his team had conceded 12 goals in their three previous away games.
“What I’m most pleased about, outside the result, is the fact we defended well," he told ESPN.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine