BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Major League Soccer’s draw kings were at it again on Wednesday night, with the Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps FC playing to a lackluster scoreless draw at Toyota Park.
Chicago now leads MLS with a remarkable 12 draws in 20 games. Vancouver isn’t far behind, with Wednesday’s result giving the ‘Caps 11 ties through 21 matches. The league record for draws in a season is 16, set by the Fire in 2010.
The Fire made several changes to the lineup that started their 5-1 defeat at San Jose last week, with center back pairing Bakary Soumare and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado benched, and midfielder Harry Shipp also rested. Grant Ward came in for Shipp, captain Jeff Larentowicz dropped from center midfield to pair Patrick Ianni at center back and Chris Ritter entered at center mid.
The visitors were unchanged from their 2-2 tie with FC Dallas last Sunday.
Chicago’s Mike Magee had one of the game’s few chances in the ninth minute, when he buzzed a free kick just wide of the right post from 25 yards. Vancouver midfielder Pedro Morales had a look two minutes later, blazing an effort over the bar in the 11th.
Larentowicz snuffed out a Vancouver chance in the 34th minute, producing a timely tackle to deny Sebastian Fernandez from six yards. Larentowicz had an opportunity of his own in the 38th, when he headed a Magee corner high and wide.
Vancouver had the best chance of the match in the 49th minute, when midfielder Erik Hurtado was denied by a superb Sean Johnson kick save after the Whitecaps forward broke through for 1-v-1 in the right side of the area.
Both sides made double substitutions around the hour mark, with Romanian international midfielder Razvan Cocis entering for his MLS debut after signing with the Fire earlier this month, but he couldn't provide the difference.
Next up for the Fire is a home clash with the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park on Saturday. Vancouver has a bit of time off before its next match, taking this weekend off before returning to action with a home match against Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 10.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jeff Larentowicz||Looked comfortable in an unfamiliar center back role. Now the question: Will he remain there for the foreseeable future?|
|2||Sean Johnson||Denied Vancouver’s Erik Hurtado on a point-blank opportunity early in the second half en route to securing his third shutout of the year.|
|3||Matias Laba||Made seven tackles to increase his league-leading total to 101 on the season.|