There was reason for disappointment from both teams, as NYCFC saw their impressive three-match winning run come to an end. But Chicago, languishing near the foot of the Eastern Conference, may regret not making the most of having a man advantage for the final 20 minutes after Keaton Parks was shown a second yellow card.
With an injured Bobby Shuttleworth, the Fire were forced to turn to 17-year-old homegrown goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina. The Addison, IL native became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to start a match in Major League Soccer.
The youngster seemed up for the challenge, holding one of the best attacking teams in the East scoreless over 90 minutes.
An in-form NYCFC were stumped by the home side during the first half, with the Fire defense holding strong against their attack. Young Brazilian star Thiago Andrade was electric with his pace, but nothing developed for the guests over the first 45 minutes.
For the Fire, striker Chinoso Offor was outstanding in creating space and splitting the NYCFC defense. The 21-year-old Nigerian had the host's best attempt of the half early on, but the offside flag went up as soon as the ball reached his feet.
Coming out of the halftime break, each team registered a decent opportunity on net. First it was Valentin Castellanos for the guests, as his right-footed strike was saved by Slonina. Then not 60 seconds later, the Fire earned a corner kick but made nothing of it.
Despite their advantage following Parks' 73rd-minute ejection, the Fire couldn't light up their attack during the final stretch of the match and the two sides settled for a draw.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This has to go down as a disappointing result for the Fire, considering that they had a man advantage for the final 20 minutes and held the visitors scoreless. They're on a stretch of three home games, and in a match like this, you feel as if it's two points lost rather than one gained. For NYCFC, they got away with one. They played sloppily and couldn't put away a bottom-of-the-table team. It nearly cost them a point (at minimum) on the road.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Keaton Parks' sending off in the 73rd minute. NYCFC's central midfielder earned a second yellow card and put his team at a disadvantage late on.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Gabriel Slonina. The 17-year-old made his MLS debut and kept a clean sheet against one of the best attacking teams in the East. The Illinois native is now the youngest goalkeeper to ever post a shutout in MLS.