The Fire entered the weekend four points out of a playoff spot and needed a point to remain at that point Sunday. Going head-to-head with the defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City, who are second place in the Eastern Conference, on the road, picking up that point would prove not to be an easy task.
Fire Head Coach Frank Yallop went with a youth-led lineup for the match, starting rookies Harrison Shipp at forward and Grant Ward and Chris Ritter in the midfield.
Sporting’s Dominic Dwyer opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with an unassisted goal for his twelfth finish of the year. Shipp leads the Fire with six goals – or half of what Dwyer has scored this season. Dwyer was issued a yellow card after celebrating his goal by taking a selfie.
The Fire found an equalizer in the 40th minute when Alex set up forward and reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee’s fifth goal of the year. Magee is now tied with forward Quincy Amarikwa for the second-most goals on the team, following Shipp’s six.
The second half would not see a winner, thanks in large part to Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s eight saves in the match.
The draw marks the Fire’s 16th game of the season, which is just one match away from the half-way point. By the same point in 2013, the Fire had accumulated a 6-7-3 record, good for 21 points. The team is a bit off that pace this year, as they have earned just 16 points and posted a 2-4-10 record. The Fire have struggled to pull out full sets of three points this year, but also have the fewest losses of any team in the Eastern Conference. The Fire’s 10 ties puts them on pace to set a MLS record with 21, leaving just 13 decisions over the course of the year.
The Fire return to action Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup match at the Atlanta Silverbacks of the Division-II North American Soccer League. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. CDT start July 9 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park and will be broadcast live from Chicago-Fire.com.
The Fire’s next regular season match will also come on the road, as the club takes on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts at 6:30 p.m. CDT July 12. The game will be broadcast on My50 Chicago, Time Warner Cable Sports Channel Wisconsin and La Ley 107.9. The Revolution are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, just three points behind Kansas City and five behind conference-leading D.C. United.