Match Recap: Chicago Fire 2, Portland Timbers 2
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Portland Timbers controlled the first 60 minutes on their way to a two-goal lead against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, but the last 30 belonged to the Fire, who used goals from Mike Magee and Daniel Paladini to pull out a 2-2 tie.
The tie extended Portland's unbeaten streak to 12 games, while the Fire nabbed points for the third game in a row.
The Timbers put the Fire on their heels early, hitting the woodwork three times in the first four minutes.
Less than a minute in, Frederic Piquionne received a long ball from Pa Modou Kah and ran past defender Austin Berry, cut back, and had his shot parried off the cross bar by Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson. Diego Valeri collected the rebound and dished a pass to Diego Chara, who hit the bar from just outside the six-yard box.
Will Johnson found more woodwork three minutes later when his high header hit the opposite post after he received the first of several accurate crosses from left back Michael Harrington.
Valeri finally broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when he collected a flick-on by Piquionne at the top of the box, then carved out some space and beat Sean Johnson from 22 yards for his fourth goal of the season.
The Fire had a few chances of their own in the first half, but they weren’t able to seriously challenge goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
It looked like the Timbers would run away from it in the 58th when Zemanski scored his first goal of the season, finishing off a nice team movement with a blast from 23 yards for the 2-0 lead.
But thanks in large part to Magee, who was instrumental in both Chicago goals, the Fire weren't done.
In the 68th minute, Fire midfielder Alex played a through ball to Magee in the box, which was missed by both Kocic and defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, giving Magee an easy tap-in goal.
Fourteen minutes later, after some sustained Chicago pressure, Magee earned a free kick that Paladini bent in for the equalizer as Kocic was busy setting up his wall.
The Fire take a four-game unbeaten streak in all competitions into Wednesday's US Open Cup game against Columbus before taking on Colorado one week later to close out a four-game homestand.
Portland, who remained undefeated on the road, will take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday in Open Cup play before hosting FC Dallas three days later.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Valeri||Valeri does all the things you notice - the great goals, the pretty passes. But his ability to always support his fellow midfielders in possession is probably his most valuable skill. Portland wilted when he was subbed out.|
|2||Alex||Tends to overdribble at time, but he's both fearless and skilled on the ball. Was oftentimes a one-man release valve away from Portland's pressure, and is starting to make special plays moving forward.|
|3||Mike Magee||Magee has been everything any sane fan could have hoped for since his acquisition. Obviously his goalscoring is the key, but he contributes greatly to possession and does good work as the first line of defense as well.|