Despite man advantage, Fire only get a draw

Written By BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media Posted: 07/03/2014, 02:19am
Array Toronto FC goalie Joseph Bendik makes a save during the second half of an MLS soccer game against the the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Ill., Wednesday, July 2, 2014. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Coach Frank Yallop figured there isn’t much of a difference at this point between losses and ties for the Fire. Entering the night tied for last in MLS, the Fire have tried in vain to turn draws into wins, settling for one point too many times when three were possible.

In that spirit, Yallop sent forward Juan Luis Anangono on for defender Greg Cochrane in the 73rd minute Wednesday against Toronto FC.

Tied at that juncture and facing a team down to 10 men after Luke Moore’s 29th-minute red card, Yallop decided to go for it in the Fire’s first league game in almost a month.

But true to this season, the closest the Fire came to the lead was Bakary Soumare’s goal that was waved off for offside in their 1-1 tie with Toronto FC at Toyota Park.

“I tend to think if we’re tied . . . we need to win games,” Yallop said. “If we lost 2-1, it didn’t really change too much, a point. So we’re trying to get three points.”

To make anything of this season outside of a potential U.S. Open Cup run, the Fire (2-4-9, 15 points) will need to get three points more often.

They had plenty of chances — 20 shots — against a team playing without American midfielder Michael Bradley and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar because of the World Cup.

The only one that got past Joe Bendik was Harry Shipp’s 56th-minute strike, but all that did was cancel out Jackson Gonçalves’ 42nd-minute score that gave Toronto (6-4-3, 21 points) a lead despite being down a man.

“It’s really frustrating,’’ Shipp said. ‘‘It [stinks]. It feels like a loss. We should have scored about four goals in the second half, so we all just need to figure out how [and] what we can do better to not fall behind in the game.”

The Fire are, of course, well behind in bigger matters. They pulled one point ahead of Montreal for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but they need more than draws to rally up to fifth and a playoff spot.

“There’s always a difference [between ties and losses],” captain Jeff Larentowicz said. “There’s always a difference, but if you have so many ties that feel like losses, it’s tough.”

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