When you've got the two clubs with most draws in MLS facing each other I guess there should really be no surprise that the final score would of course result in, yes, another draw.
That's exactly what happened at Toyota Park tonight as both teams played to a fairly uninspiring 0-0 stalemate. The Fire's 3-5-12 mark leaves them sitting in eighth place and five points behind Columbus for the fifth spot in the East. Vancouver now has 11 draws but their 6 wins gets them to within a point of a spot in the West.
Neither team created very many chances and the Fire did squander a good look or two in the second half. Chicago probably can take some solace in the clean sheet against a decent Vancouver side but every draw must be looked at as a loss at this point in the season. With 20 games gone, the Fire may simply run out of time to make up ground no matter what transpires in the next few days via the transfer window.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Only credited with two saves on the night and didn't get hung out to dry by the usual uncontested looks. In fact, Vancouver didn't have many looks at all. One big moment came in the 49th minute when Erik Hurtado got loose but Johnson rushed out to block his shot before he could really get a clean touch.
D Lovel Palmer (5) - A good long ball for Magee in the 4th minute led to a corner kick. A badly taken shot attempt in the 65th with teammates in the box. Not bad, but like most of the rest of the team, not quite good enough either.
D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - A solid effort in his first meaningful start at center back this season. Limited Mattocks' touches and stepped up well when he had to. A block of a cross into Fernandez in the 34th thwarted Vancouver's best chance up to that point. Larentowicz talks about the draw and the possibility of playing with Jermaine Jones right here.
D Patrick Ianni (6) - May get another look on Saturday as the center back tandem looked good in this match. Ianni started the sequence in the 80th minute that led to the Fire's best chance.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - All in all not a bad night but had some issues with Hurtado resulting in two of the few opportunities the visitors did have.
M Chris Ritter (5) - The Fire seemed to prefer long balls over the top rather than playing through midfield. With Ritter and Ward in the middle there didn't seem to be much choice. The Fire did win the possession battle 53-47 in the first half but it was reversed in the second (44-56).
M Matt Watson (5) - Watson does work and puts in a solid effort but those are the highlights.
M Grant Ward (5) - Difficult for players like Ward to get into the flow with balls flown in over the top at a constant rate.
M Alex (5) - Started off well in combination early as the Fire held possession advantage in the first half. Tailed off in the second. Many of his touches result in "one touch too many" moves as usual.
F Mike Magee (5) - A well taken free kick attempt was just wide of the goal in the 9th minute. A bit more active in this match but still nowhere near his 2013 form. Set up Amarikwa in the 80th for a squandered opportunity.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Fought and worked as usual but his early season magic appears to be wearing away. Missed a golden chance in the 80th minute with a clear look at goal when his shot sailed well over the crossbar with only Ousted in front of him. Created in good chance in the 60th minute by beating two defenders and drawing a yellow card. Passing left something to be desired in this match.
M Razvan Cocis (5) -Made his regular season debut for the Fire in the 61st, entering the match for Ritter. Keeps the ball moving and showed some signs that he could help but forays forward were limited.
M Harry Shipp (5) - Came into the game for Ward in the 61st. A few crosses into the area resulted in little.
F Matt Fondy (5) - An 82nd minute sub for Amarikwa. Didn't get an opportunity to do much.
Jermaine Jones update
As first reported here, the Fire are continuing to pursue Jermaine Jones. ESPN's Alexi Lalas said tonight that the Fire are preparing to sign the USMNT midfielder to a $3 million dollar per year contract. Frank Yallop confirmed that the club is interested in Jones and they have spoken to his agent but no deal has been finalized yet.
A deal appears to be just a matter of when at this point.
A must win game (let's face it - they're all must win from here on out) at home on Saturday night against the Columbus Crew.