Chicago had a chance to make a big move, potentially pulling ahead of New England and Philadelphia on Saturday, vaulting from seventh in the East (not a playoff spot) all the way up to fifth (a playoff spot).
The men from Toyota Park had a 2-1 lead at home and found themselves at the penalty spot against the visitors from Montreal. So why are we talking tonight about a 2-2 draw in Bridgeview?
Blown opportunities, that’s why.
Mike Magee clanged his penalty kick (and bid for a hat trick) off the cross bar when a successful conversion would have put the game away. It’s hard to pin too much of this one on Magee, who had Chicago’s other two goals. Still, if we’re going to keep Magee in the MVP conversation, well, MVPs need to convert big penalty kicks.
At the other end, a careening clearance attempt (a bit unlucky, perhaps, but also just a bit thoughtless from Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, as his bid for a big, hoofing boot downfield beats off a teammates back and fall neatly for Maxim Tissot’s delicate header) put Montreal in position for the late equalizer.
From the Impact’s end, there was opportunity lost as well. It starts with Troy Perkins’ dallying (as we talked about earlier). And Montreal’s defense looked fairly shaky through the second half.
Impact scorer Marco Di Vaio did his part, striking for the 19th time this year, still good enough to keep ahead of Magee for the league leadership. Montreal was surely far happier with the draw, but safe to say that neither team covered itself in glory on this one.
As you watch the highlights from Toyota Park in Bridgeview just outside Chicago, ask yourself this: Could Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson have done a little better on one or even both of Montreal’s goals?