Coming into Saturday’s game just a win away from reclaiming a playoff spot, the Fire battled the Montreal Impact to a 2-2 draw in front of a regular season high 18,173 fans at Toyota Park. The Fire fell behind in the first half on Marco Di Vaio’s twenty-fifth minute goal, but responded in the second with a Mike Magee brace before Maxim Tissot tied the game for Montreal in the eighty-seventh minute.
The game marked the first time in the 2013 regular season that the Fire did not use all three allotted substitutions. Both changes the Fire did make came at half-time, when Alex and Chris Rolfe entered the match in place of Logan Pause and Dilly Duka, respectively.
Fire head coach Frank Klopas pointed to the first half yellow card shown to Pause, a defensively-minded midfielder, suggesting that the substitution was necessary for the Fire to push forward in the second half, already down a goal.
Magee’s pair of goals, scored in the fifty-seventh and seventy-third minutes, left him within one goal of Di Vaio in the Golden Boot Race. Magee had a golden opportunity to turn his first Fire brace into his second hat trick of the season, the first coming against the Fire as a member of the LA Galaxy, but hit the crossbar on the shot, keeping the Impact within one goal. Magee’s first goal was due in large part to the play of half-time substitutes Rolfe and Alex. Magee would steal the ball from Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins and bury it into the back of the net on his second goal.
Despite the offensively-minded substitutions, the Fire defense played well enough, limiting the Impact to just two shots on target. Unfortunately, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson did not record a save in the match. Magee alone put three shots on target as part of a nine shot performance. Magee would be shown a yellow card just minutes before Maxim Tissot finished the scoring with an equalizer that appeared to have come on an offside play.
Houston equalized late in New England to hold the Revolution to just a one point lead over the Fire for sixth place. After defeating Sporting Kansas City, Philadelphia occupies the final playoff spot with forty-two points, just one more than New England and two more than the Fire.
The Fire, with just one home game remaining on the schedule – October 19 against Toronto FC – will play their next match on the road against D.C. United on Friday, October 4. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 Central start time and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network. Spanish radio coverage will be available on La Ley 107.9 FM.