Another Chicago home game, another draw. That's five in a row now, an MLS record. This time it was RSL, currently in a three-game drawing streak, dropping by to share the points.BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - Having to make numerous last-minute lineup changes, the Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake played out to a scoreless draw on a cloudy, Wednesday night at Toyota Park.
In a game where points were at a premium, the draw was nowhere near suitable for both these teams. The Men in Red marked their 10th draw in 16 games, collecting just as many points while RSL is now sitting on 23 points, slowly diminishing their hopes of a Supporters' Shield.
Things didn't go exactly the Fire's way at the start of the half. A third minute Cory Gibbs yellow card was something that could've and should've been avoided.
Possession was key for Chicago when playing a team like Real Salt Lake; however, interim head coach Frank Klopas thought much of that lacked for the Men in Red.
"Obviously it was a game of two different halves," Klopas said. "In the first half, we didn't have a good start to the game. I thought we were a little bit sluggish, not very good off the ball, especially in the middle of the field."
It was Sean Johnson's fourth clean sheet in five games, however, Johnson remained humble by saying that it was more of a collaborative team effort.
"Give credit not just to the backline but to the entire team for a great defensive effort," the Fire goalkeeper said.
RSL's arguably best chance of the night came in the 26th minute when a loose ball slipped right between Collen Warner and Sean Johnson, but the Fire keeper stayed determined and managed to fist away the directed shot.
"I think you always try to stay prepared and ready," Johnson commented on the opportunity. "Other than that, I thought we defensively stayed sharp for the rest of the game."
Fire winger Dominic Oduro had also a solid game on the night. His more notable chance came in the 53rd minute when a pair of interchanging passes with Orr Barouch was followed by a shot from him over the bar.
When asked Oduro whether so many games pushed together was the reason the goals weren't coming, he responded with an appropriate answer.
"It's no excuse," Oduro said. "When you have three or four games a week, you just have to execute the chances given. Any team we play, they always adjust to the way we play so it’s hard for us to score goals."
The 63rd minute saw Orr Barouch receive a yellow card for what was seen to be a penalty for the Fire. His quite inspiring performance had ended seven minutes later and he wasn't too pleased about coming off.
"I just tried to come out and attack right away," Barouch commented on his lively start. "I thought we could've gotten a couple early and we just tried to do everything to score."
"With the anger coming off, I mean you always try to play as much as you can but the coach makes great decisions and I respect that," said the Fire striker.
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman shared much of the common views on the game overall. Sharpness and awareness in front of the goal were pretty much the points both sides admitted to having lacked.
"You know for the most part when you're on the road, a draw is a good result," said Beckerman. "We obviously tried to come out and win but we weren't as sharp in front of the goal as we should've been and we'll just continue to work on that."
The scoreless draw marks Fire's 10th of the season and keeps them unbeaten in six games now. Under interim head coach Frank Klopas, the team is 1-0-3 and continue chasing their playoff spot as they are a mere two points away from ninth in the league.
Real Salt Lake is still sitting fourth in the Western Conference with 23 points and is four games behind leaders LA Galaxy.
RSL continues MLS play on Saturday when it takes on Toronto FC at Rio Tinto while the Men in Red host Eastern leaders New York Red Bulls Sunday afternoon.
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