CARSON, Calif. — The Chicago Fire are rapidly closing in on a new record for ties in a season with their 12th of the season in a lively 1-1 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.
The Fire, who extended their unbeaten streak to eight games, got on the board first as forward Dominic Oduro used his speed to beat the Chivas back line and slot home in the 26th minute. Barely a minute into the second half, Chivas USA's Nick LaBrocca, one of the best players on the field on the night, equalized on a spectacular volley which dipped under the crossbar.
Oduro broke away from the Chivas defense time and again during the first half and fired in a shot that forced Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to make a sprawling save in the 8th minute. Just seven minutes later, Oduro again broke free and once again forced Kennedy into a save.
But the Ghanaian forward won his one-on-one battle with Kennedy with a goal in the 26th minute. Oduro's teammate, Patrick Nyarko pass, fed the striker on a run and Oduro was able to beat Kennedy from a difficult angle to give the Fire a 1-0 lead.
Just before the half, the Rojiblancos came alive with a pair of chances within a minute of one another. In the 31st minute, LaBrocca sent in a shot that rattled the crossbar and just a minute later, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson snuffed out a Jorge Flores chance from close range.
But with Chivas USA pressing for an equalizer during the closing moments of the first half, the Fire nearly doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when Oduro forced a save from Kennedy that nearly bounced in if not for a clearance by Michael Umaña.
Chivas found their equalizer just moments into the second half when LaBrocca fired a shot that dipped under the crossbar and beat Johnson for his fourth goal of the season.
The spritely midfielder was a catalyst for the Rojiblancos throughout the half, leading the push for the go-ahead goal. LaBrocca was nearly successful in the 71st minute when he fired a shot that went just over the bar after sailing past Johnson’s outstretched hands.
However, as the match wore on, both teams struggled to generate scoring chances as they looked to preserve a point. It was Chivas USA who had the best chance to break the deadlock when Zarek Valentin sent in a cross that forward Víctor Estupiñán headed into the hands of Johnson.
The tie moves the Fire closer to the FC Dallas record of 14 draws in a single season. With 16 matches remaining in the season, Chicago need just three more draws to set a new mark.
With the result, both teams remain stuck on 18 points apiece in the standings. The Fire will continue their stay in Los Angeles, taking on the LA Galaxy next week, while Chivas USA face a shortened week with a match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.
CHI -- Dominic Oduro 5 (Patrick Nyarko 3) 26
CHV -- Nick LaBrocca 4 (Michael Lahoud 1) 46
CHI -- Marco Pappa (caution; Tactical Foul) 55
CHV -- Michael Lahoud (caution; Tactical Foul) 67
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Yamith Cuesta (Josip Mikulic 62), Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro, Logan Pause, Baggio Husidic, Marco Pappa (Cristian Nazarit 64), Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 74).
Substitutes Not Used: Corben Bone, Bratislav Ristic, Michael Videira, Jon Conway.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 89), Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin, Paulo Nagamura (Ben Zemanski 77), Simon Elliott, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini (Victor Estupinan 64).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Cortez, Blair Gavin, Francisco Mendoza, Zach Thornton.
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees