For the third straight game to start the season, the Chicago Fire failed to score, coming out of their Saturday afternoon clash with Sporting Kansas City with a 0-0 draw.
Furthermore, the Fire were outpossessed 73% to 27% and outshot 20-7.
But the lack of offensive production was a sidenote for Chicago, because earning their first point of the season -- and on the road, no less -- was positive enough.
“We were pretty frustrated and put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “To come out and get a point today definitely feels pretty good. Especially defensively, it was a great team effort and it's definitely going to help us to build up for next week.”
Despite the continued absence of Arne Friedrich, the Fire have improved defensively with each game. After a 4-0 disaster in Los Angeles to open the season, the Chicago back line only had one costly error in their 1-0 loss to New England last week. Against Sporting, the back line held solid.
This was even more encouraging, because they didn't give up a late goal despite losing fourth-choice right back Michael Videira in the 84th minute after suffering a blow to the head.
“It's tough, because we're thin in the back,” Segares said. “Having another guy get hurt, it definitely is tough, especially at that point in the game. To have a guy who didn't have much time to warm up, it's always tough. I think Wells [Thompson] came in and did an excellent job.”
But the Fire eked out a point, and almost stole two more points when Chris Rolfe played Daniel Paladini through on goal in the 90th minute. Paladini's touch, like the Fire offense, was a bit off, so the Fire happily settled for a point.
“Today was great, not only the back four but everybody, from the guys up top, everybody was committed to defending,” Segares said. “It's definitely tough not scoring a goal, but we're getting chances. They were putting a lot of pressure on us, and they had most of the possession. But they definitely gave us chances. I think it's just a matter of time. We're not clicking yet, but little by little, if we keep working this week, we're sure it's going to get to the point where we want to be.”