BRIDGEVIEW- If there's one thing that the Chicago Fire does better than any other team in Major League Soccer, it's finishing games with a tie. And Sunday the Fire earned their league-leading seventh draw (tied with Portland in this category) by playing the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-1 stalemate. The first half was a complete defensive showdown and both teams had a fair amount of possession time.
The Fire outshot the Galaxy in the first half, while the Galaxy had more corner kicks. Neither team was able to scrape up a goal as we had a scoreless tie at halftime. The second half is where the action finally picked up. Both teams were more aggressive on offense, loosened up on defense and were finally able to put some points on the board.
The scoring began in the 68th minute when Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz scored on a penalty kick to take a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later (73rd minute), Galaxy striker and former Team USA leader Landon Donovan took a pass from reserve midfielder Robbie Rogers to tie the game. Both teams would continue to take desperation shots for the remainder of the game but to no avail.
The Fire (2-3-7, 13 points) had many chances to win today as they out-shot Los Angeles 11-5, forced L.A. goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to make three saves and pressured their defense all day. The Galaxy (4-3-4, 16 points) took five shots but all of them were off target. Fire goalie Sean Johnson didn't collect any saves but he deflected a few shots. The Fire will hit the road for their next game when they travel to Seattle to play the always-difficult Sounders on Wednesday.
Getting that illusive second victory will not be easy as the first place Sounders own the best record in MLS (9-3-2, 29 points). Here is the box score from Sunday's match.
NOTES: Fire forward Mike Magee was out of the lineup with a calf injury. Donovan's goal was his third since being left off Team USA's World Cup roster, perhaps he is playing with a chip on his shoulder. And the Fire have now gone 0-1-1 with one point since winning back-to-back games over New York and Sporting Kansas City two weeks ago.
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