It was the same song with a different tune for the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
Chicago tied their fourth game in a row, drawing Chivas USA 1-1 at the Home Depot Center. The Fire have now tied seven of their last eight league matches, compiling a total of 12 draws this year, which are two short of the MLS single-season record with 16 games left on their schedule.
Unlike last week, when the Fire tied New York 1-1 at Toyota Park, Chicago took the early lead on Saturday. Attacker Dominic Oduro put the Fire ahead in the 26th minute, collecting a ball on the left wing before racing behind the Chivas defense and into the box, where he beat goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to the far post from a tight angle.
But Oduro, who is now tied for the team lead in goals with five, also missed a pair of golden opportunities, botching two one-on-one chances with Kennedy that — if finished — could’ve given the Fire all three points.
“I want to say that I’m really disappointed in myself,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I created a lot of chances and I probably could’ve done more in terms of putting balls in the back of the net.”
Oduro’s first miss came after eight minutes. Midfielder Baggio Husidic slipped the Ghanaian winger behind the Chivas back four on the right side, but Oduro couldn’t get his chip over Kennedy, who parried the ball away.
He had another golden opportunity three minutes from halftime. Winger Patrick Nyarko played Oduro behind the back four on the left wing but, yet again, he couldn’t beat Kennedy, sending a rushed right-footer directly at the Chivas keeper.
“I think the goalie cut off the angle for me a little bit,” Oduro said. “I just have to put the ball on frame, hopefully it goes in, but he made some great saves. He did a great job and I should’ve done a better job. … Again, he had some great saves so kudos to him, but I think I just need to work on some little stuff and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
Oduro’s misses came back to haunt the Fire in the 46th minute, when Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca equalized for the Goats. LaBrocca received a ball in the final third, turned and smashed a 25-yard half-volley, driving his left-footer off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. Chicago didn’t close down LaBrocca on the play, allowing the veteran center midfielder all the time and space he needed to line up his strike.
The Fire, who were playing their fourth match in 10 days on Saturday, return to Chicago fed up with drawing games.
“We’re really frustrated right now,” Oduro said. “I think we are doing so well defensively and offensively and right now we just want to win games. ... We’re not losing, but a win would be really nice.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.