BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. — Chris Rolfe scored the lone goal to lead the Chicago Fire to a 1-0 playoff victory over D.C. United on Thursday night.
The physical match included four yellow cards -- two for each team -- and 41 fouls.
Rolfe scored in the 14th minute when he sent a loose ball into the net for his first career playoff goal. The Fire had only five shots on goal.
"I was anticipating the ball coming may way," Rolfe said. "Luckily I was able to get it in. We knew we had to score at least one goal tonight."
Christian Gomez had the United's only first-half shot on goal in the 22nd minute, which Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens handled easily.
"It was an easy night for me," Pickens said. "We played great team defense. We limited them to very few chances."
Seconds later, D.C. United's Brian Carroll tripped up Chicago star and Mexican national team member Cuauhtemoc Blanco, getting a yellow card.
D.C. United's Luciano Emilio led the league with 20 goals, but did not enter the match until the 78th minute because of an injury.
The final game of the aggregate-goal series is Nov. 1 at RFK Stadium.