The Chicago Fire and the San Jose Earthquakes were at it again Saturday night, playing to a 2-2 draw in front of 11,926 at Toyota Park just five days after Chicago beat San Jose in a penalty shootout in US Open Cup play at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The teams combined for a wild second half that saw all four of the game’s goals, with Fire veteran defender Cory Gibbs getting the final say on a diving header 10 minutes from time.
San Jose midfielder Ramiro Carrales opened the scoring, putting the Quakes ahead in the 50th minute when he rose above Chicago forward Cristian Nazarit at the top of the six yard box to head home Anthony Ampaipitakwong’s corner kick.
Fire winger Dominic Oduro tied the game up just six minutes later. Nazarit hit a low shot from the top of the box, with the ball deflecting off of Earthquake defender Steven Beitashour and hitting off the left and right posts before rolling into the middle, where Oduro had the easiest of tap-ins.
The sides continued to push after Oduro’s goal, with San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski breaking through in the 74th. Corrales and Ampaipitakwong combined well on the right side, freeing Ampaipitakwong for a cross to the middle. The rookie midfielder expertly picked out Wondolowski, who flicked his header inside the far post from the top of the six-yard box.
Chicago equalized again in the 80th, and this time it was for good. Gibbs got on the end of substitute midfielder Baggio Husidic’s cross, putting his diving header inside the near post from the right corner of the six for his second career MLS goal and first in a Fire uniform.
Both teams pushed for a winner after Gibbs’ equalizer, but neither created any significant chances before the final whistle.
The sides looked a bit sluggish in the first half, playing a bit slowly just five days after Tuesday’s Open Cup marathon match.
The Fire was unlucky not to go ahead in the 6th minute. Forward Diego Chaves collected a loose ball at the top of the box, dribbling into the right side of the area before hitting both the near and far posts with a hard 8-yard shot.
San Jose nearly went ahead in the 25th. Corrales beat Chicago right back Bratislav Ristic just outside the left side of the area, cutting inside before hitting a low cross that just missed lunging forward Steven Lenhart at the back post.
Chicago came close again in the 39th when Oduro crossed to Nazarit at the top of the box. Nazarit, who was making his first-ever league appearance, tried to play left back Gonzalo Segares into space with a neat flick, but couldn’t convert, as San Jose keeper Jon Busch came off his line quickly and smothered the ball before Segares could reach it.
The result moves San Jose to 3-4-4 and Chicago to 1-4-6. The Fire is now winless in their last nine league matches, while the ‘Quakes are undefeated in four. San Jose host Houston at 10 pm ET next Saturday, while Chicago get a visit from Seattle.
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales 1 (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 1) 49
CHI -- Dominic Oduro 3 (Cristian Nazarit 1) 57
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 6 (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 2, Ramiro Corrales 2) 74
CHI -- Cory Gibbs 1 (Baggio Husidic 1, Marco Pappa 2) 80
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Convey, Joey Gjertsen (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 46), Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson (Sam Cronin 68), Ramiro Corrales (Brandon McDonald 87), Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Burling, Ellis McLoughlin, Justin Morrow, Andrew Weber.
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Bratislav Ristic, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Dominic Oduro (Gaston Puerari 81), Daniel Paladini (Baggio Husidic 76), Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 74), Cristian Nazarit.
Substitutes Not Used: Corben Bone, Pari Pantazopoulos, Dasan Robinson, Jon Conway.
CHI -- Cory Gibbs (caution; Shirt Removal) 81
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: -Brian Poeschel; Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Time of Game: 1:51