When is a point on the road in MLS not enough? When we’re past the three-quarter mark of the campaign, you’re on the road in Toronto, and you’re trying to track down two teams to claim a playoff spot.
That’s exactly the situation Chicago found themselves in prior to kickoff at BMO tonight, and at the onset, thinks looked good. A looking cross from Dilly Duka found its way into the back of the net after Mike Magee threw off Joe Bednik, giving the Fire a 1-0 lead. Hold on to the result, and Chicago would sit fifth in the East at night’s end, vaulting New England and Houston to temporarily occupy the conference’s last playoff spot.
Against a team with only four wins this season, you’d think their odds were good, especially with the expectations of a playoff race sure to be on Chicago’s minds. But Toronto’s also managed to get 10 draws out of the season, and before halftime, thanks to some help from the Fire defense, they equalized. Robert Earnshaw saw a ball played through Bakary Soumaré to him in the right of Sean Johnson’s area. Cutting back across goal as Gonzalo Segares’s block slide aside, Earnshaw left Johnson little chance to prevent the equalizer.
It was also the last goal of the match. Though Chicago slowly brought on more attack-minded players and Ryan Nelsen, while making up for Earnshaw’s early exist, looked to counter Frank Klopas’s moves, neither side could distinguished itself from the other. The match ended 1-1.
For Toronto, it was their 11th draw of the year, one that saw newly acquired Bright Dike make his Reds debut. But it was also nothing different from what we’ve seen all year from Toronto. The team just can’t score enough goals to find the win column.
For Chicago, the result has to be a disappointment, particularly given they were up after 20 minutes. Unfortunately, they can’t really claim they deserved much better. Against one of the league’s struggling teams, they failed to show themselves better. As a result, they remain in seventh in the East.
You can see Duka’s 20th minute opener, above. Earnshaw’s 23rd minute response is here: