Fire rue missed chances in record-setting 15th draw
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire broke the all-time MLS record for ties in a single season Thursday night, drawing their 15th match of the season with a disappointing 1-1 result against D.C. United.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
The Fire almost completely outplayed United Thursday night, outshooting their Eastern Conference rivals 14-6 and holding a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal. But Chicago — particularly forward Dominic Oduro — struggled in front of net, missing several gilt-edged opportunities that could’ve given them all three points for just the third time this season.
None of Chicago’s misses were bigger than Oduro’s stunning 42nd-minute misfire. Attacker Patrick Nyarko started the play, finding the feet of a wide open Oduro just two yards from goal. It should’ve been an easy tap-in, but Oduro somehow contrived to miss the entire frame, sending his right-footed stab high and wide of the left post.
Oduro, who also hit the post in the 14th minute, was visibly distraught when discussing the blown sitter after the match.
“As you can see, I’m not happy right now,” he said. “Those chances I should’ve put away. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s part of the game, it happens and I have to keep my head up. I should’ve done better but at the end of the day I can’t do anything else but try to work hard and hopefully get it right. That’s the only thing I can do right now. The game is over and I can’t get it back.”
Oduro’s misses came back to haunt the Fire in the 73rd minute, when former Chicago striker Josh Wolff canceled out Fire midfielder Sebastián Grazzini’s 59th-minute opener with a goal of his own.
Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas thought that Wolff’s strike, which was DC’s only shot on goal, shouldn’t have counted, telling reporters after the match that he thought Wolff was offside. Replays seemed to confirm the coach’s point of view, as Wolff appeared to be a half-step beyond Jalil Anibaba, the last Fire defender.
“It’s just frustrating when you dominate a game and you should win, and unfortunately it comes down to an offside goal that the referees miss,” Klopas said. “We deserved to win this game and unfortunately that’s not what happened. It’s frustrating when you put so much into it — and I never say anything about the refs — and there’s a call like this that’s been missed. It’s disappointing.”
In the end though, the Fire have no one to blame but themselves. They had plenty of opportunities to put the game on ice, but they let DC hang around and paid the price for it.
The result keeps Chicago in last place in the East, 10 points out of the playoffs with just 10 games left. If the postseason hadn’t been out of reach before Thursday night’s record-setter, it surely is now, leaving the Fire with only one thing left to fight for: their jobs.
“We got to be realistic,” Klopas said. “At the point we’re at right now, we’re all playing for jobs for next year.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.