COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – They certainly didn’t look like prize fighters, but the backup-riddled lineups of the Chicago Fire and the Colorado Rapids appeared to size each other up as such on gloomy Wednesday night in Colorado.
With most of the starters on the bench, however, a knockout punch wasn’t coming.
Each team chose to rest a number of starters in the second to last game before the World Cup break and nobody could provide the golden foot in a 0-0 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After a rather anemic offensive performance in the first half from both sides, the Fire sent back in starter Lovel Palmer at the start of the second half and the Rapids put in regulars Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers and Dillon Serna midway through the latter half - but it was too late.
Brown, who scored two goals in a 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, and Powers, who had two assists Sunday, had a couple chances in the waning minutes but Chicago keeper Sean Johnson made enough stops to give the Fire their second straight one-point result.
Serna also had a chance in the final seconds, but was called offside as he hit the crossbar.
The Rapids, who won their past two games with a combined seven goals, were the better offensive team on Wednesday with had triple the chances of Chicago, but they probably did not have the best one on the night.
In the 76th minute, Fire striker Juan Luis Anangono ran down a long-kicked bouncing ball in the Rapids’ zone, but his header looped over backup keeper John Berner at the top of the box and rolled just left of the net. The Ecuadoran DP stood in disbelief after the chance, knowing chances were few and far apart in this game.
Earlier, Johnson robbed Rapids midfielder Charles Eloundou in the 37th minute, when the 25-year-old laid out to his left to push aside the first half’s only shot. Eloundou, one of seven substitutes starting for Colorado on Wednesday, easily grouped in a deflection off of Steven Kinney, before his right-footed blast was pushed just wide.
Eloundou set up the Rapids’ first good chance as well, with a great ball to John Neeskens on the right flank in the 14th minute, but Neeskens paused for just a moment and hit the right side of the net.
Danny Mwanga and Nick LaBrocca also missed point-blank shots in the first half for Colorado to round out the list of missed opportunities Wednesday night.
Saturday, the Rapids will travel to FC Dallas while the Fire will host the Seattle Sounders in both team’s final game before the World Cup.