Fire and Toronto split points in must-win game for both.
Nery Castillo played better and went the full 90 minutes for Chicago and had a chance to win the game for the home team on a late free kick, but it was not to be.
For two teams that desperately needed wins to stay in the playoff hunt, both Chicago and Toronto started the game extremely slowly.
Chicago in particular seemed asleep during the first 10 minutes as they appeared content to sit back and defend while the visitors possessed the ball without much creativity. The Fire was forced to sit in even more when CJ Brown left the game for a few minutes because of a cut he suffered from a Nana Attakora high boot.
Despite having much of the ball early in the game, Toronto was unable to create much danger around Sean Johnson’s net, only sending in a few errant shots his way.
Against the run of play in the 14th minute, Collins John nearly put Chicago on the board first. The Dutchman received a great through-ball from Patrick Nyarko, but his shot was saved by a diving Stefan Frei and then cleared before he could put a rebound on goal.
In the 22nd minute Toronto nearly received a penalty kick when Dasan Robinson and Johnson collided in front of the goal going after a Toronto cross. Robinson cleared the ball away but into the hand of CJ Brown and out, but the referee awarded the corner instead of a penalty.
The second part of the first half belonged to the Fire, as they dominated the play but once again struggled to create quality opportunities. Outside of a few free kicks and corners, Chicago was not dangerous in the box.
As the first half ended, Toronto almost got another penalty kick when a ball in the box skipped off of Steven Kinney’s hand inadvertently. Toronto clamored for a penalty, but none was given and the teams went into the locker rooms tied at zero.
With both teams needing the win, the game opened up considerably in the second half, with both teams pushing forward for a goal.
Freddie Ljunberg had a golden opportunity just two minutes into the second half. The Swede slipped behind the Toronto defense and was all alone with Frei, but he couldn't put a shot on goal, and the game remained tied.
Ten minutes later Toronto almost scored a goal off of a throw in. Attakora beat Banner to the ball at the near post and flicked a header just past the far post.
In the 70th minute Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljunberg nearly hooked up on a set piece. Ljunberg took the free kick from the baseline, just outside the box, and laid it back to Castillo. The Mexican’s shot went just wide of the post.
Toronto had their golden opportunity just a few minutes later from a Dan Gargan throw in. Mike Banner was unable to clear the ball successfully and it fell to O'Brian White’s feet inside the six. Sean Johnson made an excellent save from point-blank range to keep the game tied.
Frei made a few quality saves of his own when he denied Nery Castillo twice in a five minute span. First Castillo took a quick shot from the middle of the box off of a Nyarko cross that Frei held onto. Then Castillo nearly caught Frei off guard on a free kick from about 35 yards out, but the Swiss keeper tipped it over the bar.
In the 86th minute Dwayne De Rosario made a great turn on Dasan Robinson at the top of the box, but the Canadian international blasted the ball over the net from the top of the box.
Banner had a strike of his own from distance, but the effort was gobbled up by Frei, who did well not to leave a rebound.
In the 93rd minute Nery Castillo danced through a few defenders and was fouled right at the top of the box for one last effort. Castillo’s free kick bounced into the wall and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
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