BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls are still searching for their first wins of the season after a 1-1 tie at Toyota Park on Sunday.
Chicago's Jeff Larentowicz and New York's Dax McCarty exchanged first-half, set-piece goals in an absorbing 90 minutes in the Fire's season opener at home in sunny, but chilly, conditions.
The hosts got off to a dream start when captain Larentowicz headed home Harry Shipp’s right-wing corner in the sixth minute, rising highest to thunder the ball into the top right corner of the net guarded by netminder Luis Robles.
The visitors had gone close to opening the scoring two minutes earlier when Tim Cahill released Jonny Steele on the left, his cross finding Loyd Sam unmarked at the back post, but the winger could only steer his header into the side netting.
Both sides enjoyed decent spells of possession and chances, with Quincy Amarikwa and Thierry Henry exchanging shots before New York deservedly struck for an equalizer in the 21st minute, as McCarty reacted quickest to slot home in a crowded penalty area following a corner from the right.
The Fire sought the immediate response and went close three minutes later when Shipp’s dangerous free-kick from the left was inadvertently headed by Cahill at his own goal, but Robles made the spectacular reflex save to tip the ball over the bar.
Robles came up with another big save early in the second half, getting down low to his left to turn Alex’s low drive around his left post.
Both sides made attack-minded substitutions -- the Fire brought on Designated Player Juan Luis Anangono and New York introduced Peguy Luyindula -- but the back lines were on top of their game with chances were restricted to a minimum.
But NY's Henry, who operated mainly in midfield, came up with only last opportunity with just minutes left on the clock, whipping in a corner kick from the left that was swatted away by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
The Fire hit the road to face DC United next Saturday (4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), while the Red Bulls head home to welcome Chivas USA (3 pm ET, UniMas).