It was yet another stalemate for the Chicago Fire — their fourth tie in a row — and this one came after a 2-2 result against Toronto FC on Saturday night at BMO Field.
But, unlike in recent matches, which saw Chicago surrender second-half leads and squander goal-scoring chances that could’ve given them three points, the Fire actually came from behind, eliminating a 2-0 deficit with a pair of second-half goals.
“It feels good,” Fire midfielder Corben Bone said of the comeback. “We didn’t get a win, which we were really hoping for, but at the same time we fought back from a 2-0 deficit to get the draw and took a point on the road which is crucial. I think that shows signs of a good team if we can come back and steal a point like that.”
Chicago were outplayed in the first half, going into halftime trailing 1-0. Things got worse two minutes after the break, when ‘keeper Jon Conway let a long distance shot from Maicon Santos go through his legs and into the back of the net.
The Fire looked dead to rights after TFC’s second, but got back into the game in the 64th, when winger Marco Pappa curled a 22-yard free kick into the top right corner. Pappa’s goal galvanized Chicago, who played much better in the second half, creating multiple opportunities and eventually equalizing through rookie forward Orr Barouch in the 74th.
“The first half they kind of took control a little bit,” Bone said. “They got a couple of things going their way and used the fans to their advantage. We started on our heels a little bit but I think as the game went on we kind of settled in and started to play our game a little bit more. We started to possess the ball more, find the gaps in their defense and I think the second half was a little bit easier for us.”
Bone was the key player in Chicago’s comeback. The second-year player, who was making only his third career start, was very solid in the second half, passing well and assisting on Chicago’s 74th-minute equalizer and nearly setting up another goal in the 83rd.
Bone’s assist was particularly well-crafted. He collected a ball in the right side of the box, running at a TFC defender and cutting to the end line before finding Barouch at the back post with a low cross.
“I found myself one-on-one and took the opportunity,” Bone said. “I knew I was going to go to the end line the whole time. I just kind of baited him a little bit and then I took it end line and hit a soft cross. I didn’t know if anyone was going to be there so I didn’t want to over hit it. I hit it a little soft and got a lucky touch from the goalie and Orr hit it and got a goal.”
The assist capped a solid match for Bone, who is hoping to keep his momentum rolling into next week’s match at Philadelphia.
“I’m just feeling more and more comfortable and confident in myself,” Bone said. “I believe in what I can do and think I can play even better the next time, hopefully. I’ve always had the skills I think, I just needed to get a little more comfortable and get the confidence to do it and I think I’m seeing that now.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.