The Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake looked like two teams on a quick turnaround Wednesday night, playing to a lackluster 0-0 draw in front of 14,972 at Toyota Park just four days after each side’s last match.
The first half was fast paced, but devoid of chances. The first opportunity didn’t come until the 13th minute, when Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave headed midfielder Collen Warner’s corner kick over the bar from the penalty spot.
Chicago controlled most of the next 15 minutes, but RSL had the next chance. Defender Robbie Russell hit a low cross from the right wing to an unmarked Warner in the middle of the box in the 28th minute. Warner couldn’t beat Fire goalie Sean Johnson, who parried the midfielder’s eight-yard effort over the bar.
The second half was much livelier, with both teams creating numerous chances as they searched for a winner.
Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko had a good look at goal in the 62nd. The speedy winger beat Russell to midfielder Daniel Paladini’s ball in the left corner, rounding the sliding RSL defender and heading into the box. But Nyarko failed to challenge Salt Lake goalie Nick Rimando with his shot, toe-poking a weak effort right at the veteran keeper.
Chicago had a good chance in the 77th minute. Substitute winger Marco Pappa, who was making his first appearance since returning from Gold Cup duty, collected a bouncing ball in the box, hitting a low shot from 12 yards that Rimando did well to keep out.
RSL hit back with a chance of their own in the 80th. Forward Luis Gil ran onto a long ball in the final third, controlling the lofted pass with his chest and running into the right side of the box before hitting a 15-yard shot that rolled about a foot wide of the far post.
Fire defender Gonzalo Segares almost put Chicago ahead in the 82nd minute. The left back hit a shot from distance that deflected off of a Salt Lake player and sailed just over the bar.
Segares’ chance was the last of the match, as the game sputtered out from there.
The tie is Chicago’s fifth in a row at home, a league record. The sixth-place Fire will look to end that streak at home against New York on Sunday.
RSL has now tied three matches in a row. The fourth-place side will host Toronto on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Collen Warner (Nelson Gonzalez 84), Will Johnson, Fabian Espindola (Luis Gil 7), Artur Aghasyan (Andy Williams 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Donny Toia, Kyle Reynish.
Chicago Fire - Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Dominic Oduro, Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 80), Daniel Paladini, Patrick Nyarko, Diego Chaves (Gabriel Ferrari 86), Orr Barouch (Marco Pappa 70).
Substitutes Not Used: Josip Mikulic, Bratislav Ristic, Michael Videira, Jon Conway.
CHI - Cory Gibbs (caution; Reckless Tackle) 3
RSL - Will Johnson (caution; Reckless Foul) 47+
RSL - Robbie Russell (caution; Reckless Foul) 49
CHI - Orr Barouch (caution; Simulation) 64
Referee: Juan Guzman
Referee's Assistants: -Fabio Tovar; Frank Anderson
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:51