BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – With seven regular starters sitting out, the Chicago Fire hung with defending Mexican champs Santos Laguna in a 2-2 exhibition draw at Toyota Park on Saturday.
The team made up mostly of Fire reserves created little offense in the first half before Michael Videira and Corben Bone leveled the score in the second half.
In an otherwise lackluster first half, the Fire almost struck first. Forward Sherjill MacDonald’s 11th-minute shot beat goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez to the near post, but struck the outside of the post.
Santos took the lead in the 24th minute, however, when US Under-20 midfielder Benji Joya cut across the box and beat goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi to the near post.
The visitors doubled the lead just five minutes later, as forward Daniel Ludueña collected a misplayed back pass from center back Michael Videira, and easily scored with a wide-open shot.
The Fire had just one shot on goal in the first half, but a different-looking team came out in the second.
Homegrown player Victor Pineda, who made his first start for the Fire, pushed up alongside Corben Bone to give the Fire extra offensive firepower.
Early in the second half, Videira made amends for his mistake, beating Sánchez with a volley off of a corner kick from midfielder Alex.
The Fire then leveled the score when Dominic Oduro took control of a loose ball and found Corben Bone on the right side of the penalty area.
Dan Gargan almost put the Fire ahead in the 65th minute when Daniel Paladini found him on a free kick cross, but goalkeeper Miguel Becerra tipped his header over the crossbar.
After a nine-day break from competitive play, the Fire will head to Toronto on Wednesday, where they’ll try to extend their run of four wins in five MLS games.