The Portland Timbers hit the woodwork twice in the first minute, opened the scoring in the 34th minute, and doubled their lead just after halftime. Given that, the comeback by the Chicago Fire is a huge boost in confidence.
Mike Magee brought the Fire one back 11 minutes after the Timbers had taken their 2-goal lead, and substitute Daniel Paladini salvaged a point with his stunning free-kick 8 minutes before the final whistle.
The problem is, they fell 2-0 down in the first place.
Having only picked up a point, the Fire remain in 8th place in the East, 5 points behind Columbus in 7th and 9 points back of a playoff spot.
The Timbers are no easy opponent, sitting in third place in the West and having lost only once on the season and now undefeated in 12 matches. But given the way the Fire finished the match, what could have been will dominate their minds.
A top-level win at home would be exactly what this squad needed to boost their run for a playoff spot with a blistering second half. Instead, it’s just a single point that leaves the squad wondering what could have been.
The Fire blasted 19 shots on goal to Portland’s 13. Chicago had NINE corner kicks to Portland’s NONE.
And the Timbers committed 16 fouls, giving Chicago chances that they finally took on Paladini’s equalizer.
Frank Klopas’s men got something they can build on, but it could have been so much more.