Young Fire Lineup Earns Point at Timbers
FT: Portland Timbers 1 – 1 Chicago Fire
Portland Timbers forward Gastón Fernández tipped in a rebound off of Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 79th minute, tying the game the Fire had led for 59 minutes at one goal a piece.
Without Mike Magee in the lineup for the second straight week, youngsters such as Notre Dame product Harrison Shipp and Santos Laguna import Benji Joya found their way into the starting lineup for the first times in their respective MLS careers. Despite holding just 35.5% of the possession in the match and being out-shot 21-14 in front of a large crowd in Portland, it was the visiting side that struck first. After Quincy Amarikwa was fouled within the limits of the penalty area in the 19th minute, captain Jeff Larentowicz buried the penalty kick in the back of net, beating Portland keeper Donovan Ricketts.
As the Timbers peppered the Chicago net with 21 shots, it was only a matter of time before the home side converted. With Fernández’s equalizer standing for the 1-1 draw, Portland continued their undefeated run over the Fire, going back to its inaugural season in 2011.
Midfielder Patrick Nyarko drew his second yellow car of the match in the 86th minute of play, resulting in an automatic red card and a one-game suspension rendering him ineligible to play in the home opener against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, March 23.
The draw improved the Fire’s record in the young season to 0-1-1, good enough for 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.