BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire earned their league-leading 11th draw of the season, coming from behind to tie the New York Red Bulls 1-1 at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.
After Joel Lindpere gave visiting NY the first-half lead, taking advantage of a missed clearance by the Fire's Yamith Cuesta, Chicago capitalized on an error to tie the match. Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, who took over duties from Greg Sutton after the Canadian's struggles in a Thursday loss in Seattle, failed to stop a 58th-minute Marco Pappa shot for the 1-1 equalizer.
After a slow start, the match opened up in the 15th minute. Chicago snuffed out a half chance in their box and launched a counter down the right wing. Winger Marco Pappa played forward Dominic Oduro behind the Red Bull defense, allowing the speedy striker to cut in along the end line and hit a dangerous cross that New York center back Stephen Keel did well to cut out.
While the Fire seemed to rely on rapid counters, RBNY constructed opportunities through more elaborate passing sequences. But Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was there to stop Dane Richards on a shot in the 20th minute and then stopped Lindpere's 30-yard drive six minutes later.
The Fire had a good chance of their own in the 32nd minute. Defender Gonzalo Segares played winger Patrick Nyarko through on the left wing. Nyarko shed his marker and picked out forward Orr Barouch at the back post, but the rookie striker couldn’t keep his six-yard header on target, bouncing it inches wide of the far post.
The Red Bulls captured the lead with an opportunistic goal just five minutes before the halftime whistle. Cuesta flubbed a clearance at the top of the 18, hitting the ball right in the path of Lindpere, who collected and calmly slotted his 15-yard shot past the onrushing Johnson.
Chicago started the second half brightly, nearly equalizing after three minutes. A New York player flicked Chicago midfielder Baggio Husidic’s corner to the back post and Oduro just missed getting on the end of it for what would’ve been a tap-in goal.
Pappa threatened on a 53rd minute free kick which barely missed the target, only to get his fifth goal of the season five minutes later. The Guatemalan took a speculative shot from 30 yards, bouncing a left-footed effort toward the far post. Coundoul got to the ball in plenty of time, but the goalkeeper whiffed on his attempted parry and the ball trickled into the net.
The game settled down a bit after Pappa’s goal, with the next chance not coming until the 75th minute, when Keel narrowly missed the frame with his diving header of a Lindpere corner.
Coundoul redeemed himself with two big plays in a span of two minutes late in the game. He made a very nice stop on substitute forward Diego Cháves’ 15-yard shot, then used his athleticism to swat away an Oduro cross a minute later.
The Fire have now tied six home matches in a row – a MLS record. They play at Rochester in the US Open Cup on Tuesday and return to league play on Saturday at Chivas USA.
The tie keeps New York in second place in the East, two points behind Philadelphia for the top spot. The Red Bulls host FC New York in the Open Cup on Tuesday and travel to San Jose for a league match on Saturday.
NY -- Joel Lindpere 2 (unassisted) 40'
CHI -- Marco Pappa 5 (unassisted) 58'
CHI -- Yamith Cuesta (caution; Reckless Tackle) 14
CHI -- Daniel Paladini (caution; Persistent Infringement) 37
CHI -- Patrick Nyarko (caution; Simulation) 49
NY -- Teemu Tainio (caution; Tactical Foul) 91+
New York Red Bulls -- Bouna Coundoul, Jan Gunnar Solli, Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy (Austin Da Luz 84), Dwayne De Rosario, Thierry Henry.
Substitutes Not Used: Corey Hertzog, Mike Jones, Matt Kassel, John Rooney, Teddy Schneider, Greg Sutton.
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko, Daniel Paladini, Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 69), Marco Pappa (Gabriel Ferrari 82), Orr Barouch (Diego Chaves 58), Dominic Oduro.
Substitutes Not Used: Josip Mikulic, Bratislav Ristic, Michael Videira, Jon Conway.
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Michael Kennedy
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear and 75 degrees