Commentary

Seizing the moment

Fire defender Dasan Robinson ready to make most of chance

Originally Published: August 28, 2009
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Fire defender Dasan Robinson knows all about how opportunity works.

It was opportunity -- someone else's injury -- that propelled him into a starting role as a rookie; it was someone else's opportunity -- Robinson's own injury -- that caused him to lose that starting job last season; and now it's opportunity again -- injuries and the transfer loan of Bakary Soumare -- that has Robinson back in the mix.

[+] EnlargeDasan Robinson
Chicago FireFire defender Dasan Robinson got a shot when Bakary Soumare went to France.
"I definitely believe an opportunity has presented itself," said Robinson, who is in his fourth MLS season. "It's a game of chances and opportunities. The same with Baky [Soumare], as well. Last year, I had hernia surgery before the preseason and wasn't able to come in fit. That was when I was a starter, and I think C.J. [Brown] and [Wilman] Conde were hurt, too, and Baky took his opportunity and ran with it. That's what you're supposed to do. You can't blame anyone for playing well.

"Now, I'm going to do my best and solidify my spot and help the team. Our goal is to win the championship, and I'll do whatever I can in any shape or form."

On Sunday in the Fire's comeback 3-2 comeback win over the Colorado Rapids, the shape of Robinson's opportunity came in that of soccer ball that flew into the 18-yard box from a cross by Justin Mapp. With plenty of room around him, Robinson leaped, snapped his head to the left and delivered the ball in the open left corner of the net for the game winner in stoppage time.

It was the biggest goal in Robinson's professional career, and he celebrated accordingly. He quickly pulled off his jersey and ran toward the home stands to share the moment with the Fire's fans.

"It's just kind of one of the things you hope for, wish for," said Robinson, who was born in Evanston and grew up in Ohio. "God, he allowed me to be in the right position at the right time. It was a feeling you never had before, one of those highs."

The feeling lasted only momentarily. The excessive celebration earned Robinson a yellow card, and with him already having a yellow, he was given a red, which meant ejection from the game and an automatic one-game suspension. He will miss Saturday's home game against D.C. United.

"Obviously, I took my shirt off for the feeling," Robinson said. "You hope to score and do that for a reason. It was a moment that I lost my head. I was in the moment, for sure. I kind of forgot I had a card. You live and learn.

"It was bittersweet. No one wants to get a red card. I know what was to come when I turned around. 'Oh, man. Oh, wow, you're down a man, and there's still room on the clock. Thank God they didn't score."

Robinson was just as grateful to redeem himself after playing poorly against the Los Angeles Galaxy the previous week. It was his miscues, which included being beaten one-on-one, that led to both Galaxy goals in a 2-0 defeat.

"I felt I let my team down," Robinson said. "It was pretty rough for me. I knew I was very remorseful. I thought everything was right. Mentally, I was prepared. Really, I had no distractions Lo and behold, things didn't work as I intended."

Fire coach Denis Hamlett had been asked a few times what the difference in Robinson was between the Galaxy game and his much improved all-around performance against the Rapids, so when asked again, he laughed.

"The guy's a player," Hamlett said. "We have 100 percent confidence in him. Defenders get beaten every game. I put him back on the field. He showed his true professionalism, and he did what he does best. His instincts were spot on."

Opportunity was seized.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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