Krol Dallas

Disappointed In Draw

Sitting at his locker with his head in his hands, a dejected C.J. Brown put into words what so many Fire players, coaches and fans must have been feeling after Thursday night’s 1-1 draw against FC Dallas at Toyota Park.

“One point isn’t acceptable against Dallas at home,” said the veteran center back. “I expect a little more from this group and we’re not getting it right now.”

Thursday’s draw is the latest disappointment in what has been a miserable May for Brown and his teammates. The Fire are now 0-3-3 in all competitions this month, still searching for a victory that has eluded head coach Carlos de los Cobos and his charges since they defeated Houston on April 24.


The story behind Thursday’s draw was a familiar one for the Fire. The club missed golden opportunities in the attacking third, struggled to find the right combination of players on the field and got punished by a sloppy play in the back.

“A lot needs to change,” Brown said. “You can’t keep relying on saying that there [are] good moments in the game. We’re not finishing. We’re not winning games. We’re out there and it’s not what it should be.”

One of the Fire’s most glaring errors came in the 35th minute. Midfielder Justin Mapp and forward Brian McBride combined beautifully on the left edge of Dallas’ box, with McBride slipping the onrushing Mapp behind the defense.

The play gave Mapp enough room to hit a low ball across the face of the goal and towards midfielderMike Banner at the back post. With Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman on the opposite side of the net, Banner inexplicably hit his sliding shot over the bar, missing an opportunity to tie the game for Chicago.

“That was a sitter,” Banner said. “I missed it [and it] should have been a goal. I really don’t know what happened. [The ball] hopped up on me and [I sent it] over the goal.”

Plays like Banner’s miscue have become all too typical for the Fire this season. Despite boasting some of the bigger attacking names in MLS, Chicago haven’t been able to find the net too often, only scoring 12 goals in nine games.

Not helping the Fire attack is de los Cobos’ seemingly constant tinkering with the lineup. The Fire boss again shifted his starting 11 Thursday night, playing usual right wing Patrick Nyarko at forward for much of the match and benching midfielder Marco Pappa for the first 68 minutes.

But the most puzzling decision from the Fire’s head man was pulling Mapp from the game in the 58th minute. Mapp looked electric for the Fire in his return to MLS action (he missed two league matches with a hamstring injury), assisting on Chicago’s lone tally and coming close to a second with his aforementioned pass to Banner.

De los Cobos said he pulled the midfielder because he appeared fatigued. Mapp agreed that he was tiring, but said that he could have gone on.

“Yeah, [I was] maybe a little fatigued,” Mapp said. “I felt like I could’ve kept going, but [it was] just a change coach wanted to make so, you know, got to do what he says.”

Chicago will host Italian giants AC Milan in a friendly match this Sunday. Expect de los Cobos to give his regulars a break against the Rossoneri, as they have been worked hard with six games in the last four weeks.

The Fire play their next league match on June 5, when they’ll host the expansion Philadelphia Union. De los Cobos and his players will undoubtedly expect a win against Philly, who currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with four points through their first seven matches.