The Fire showed some fight in coming back from down a goal twice but the days of being satisfied with single points on the road are long past. Some solace can be taken in the effort against a competitive squad that outclassed Chicago for most of the first seventy minutes or so. That effort, however won't disguise the fact that the season is likely to end in ten games without a playoff appearance for fourth time in the last five seasons. "Every team I manage I want them to fight hard,' said Frank Yallop after the match. "We’ve been in almost every game but we just don’t have quite enough quality in all our positions to really dominate and take games over. We do have the fighting spirit and once we add some pieces I think we’ll be okay, so it’s a building process but I’m happy with the overall commitment from everybody.”
After the insertion of newcomer Robert Earnshaw and midfielder Grant Ward in the second half, things picked up for the visitors. The lift was just enough to earn yet another draw. The 14th such outcome this season for the Fire as they steamroll toward breaking their own record for draws in a season. The two goal outburst marked the first time since June 7 that Chicago has scored more than once in a match.
At this point in the season draws are just about the equivalent of losses particularly with New York, Columbus, and New England all victorious this weekend. The Fire aren't making the playoffs, unless several teams suffer through monumental collapses while Chicago goes on an unprecedented roll. The effort was commendable but there's been no indication that this club as constituted is capable of such a run. Earnshaw and the potential addition of Jermaine Jones this week may provide some talking points but you can probably make other plans for November.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Only one save and two more goals allowed although (once again) you can't fault him too much on either score. He did get caught out of position following a corner kick in the 30th but Gilberto fortunately missed his attempt on goal.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Creditable game against the speedy Dominic Oduro although he did pick up an undeserved yellow card due to the former Fire forward's play acting. Not involved much in support.
D Jeff Larentowicz (5) - Back at centerback after a brief return to midfield last weekend. Outraced by Gilberto for the second goal as Luke Moore found a gap between the half backs on a counter attack chance.
D Bakary Soumare (4) - A cross that should have been cleared in the 3rd minute ended up in the back of the net for an own goal. The entire back line was caught high on the second goal.
D Lovel Palmer (5) - His cross in the 90th minute found Amarikwa at the far post for the equalizer. Palmer has probably been the Fire's most consistent defender.
M Alex (5) - A steal in the 33rd led to a chance for Amarikwa. Started a right mid and moved to the left once Ward entered the match. Once again, just not enough from a midfield position.
M Matt Watson (6) - Continues to provide good effort and some of that paid off this time. Involved in the play leading to the Fire's first goal and very active for most of the match.
M Razvan Cocis (5) - Didn't provide much more than what the Fire have gotten from central midfielders this season, and that's not a whole lot. Wasn't bad but the Fire lost the possession battle yet again (54-46).
M Sanna Nyassi (5) - An early shot in the 2nd minute was probably the highlight. Moved into a forward spot briefly before leaving the match in the 65th.
F Harry Shipp (5) - Very few touches and little involvement as the midfield continues to struggle and teams mark him tighter and more physically. Shipp will need to learn how to work off the ball if he's going to eventually evolve into a central playmaker who isn't marked out of the match.
F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - A clinical finish in the 90th minute earned the draw. Active in the first half but disappeared in the second until the goal opportunity arose.
M Grant Ward (6) - Entered the match in the 58th for Shipp. Provided a spark with several excellent crosses. His pass found Earnshaw for the first score in the 70th and two others in the 73rd and 86th were dangerous.
F Robert Earnshaw (6) - Came on in the 65th minute for Nyassi and scored a goal against his 2013 club. Set up Cocis for a chance in the 78th but his shot was blocked leading to the counter which resulted in TFC's second goal. Earnshaw is several steps up in quality from Matt Fondy and should help in the final 10 games.
At home next Saturday against a red hot FC Dallas club missing several players including Mauro Diaz, Michel, and Blas Perez.
- Mike Magee was a late scratch due to a calf injury. Magee has been playing with the knock for several weeks but up until now has not missed time.
- The Fire are still waiting for a resolution from MLS on Jermaine Jones' final destination. Jones had agreed to a contract with the league but declined to sign on the dotted line when MLS couldn't decide on whether he'd go to Chicago or New England. Jones prefers to play in Chicago but will consider New England but only if the Revolution increases the package that had already been agreed to. The mess and the waiting continues.