BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (June 8, 2013) – The Chicago Fire (3-7-3, 12 points) earned a hard-fought point against the Portland Timbers (5-1-8, 23 points) at Toyota Park Saturday evening. The visitors went ahead 2-0 courtesy of goals from Diego Valeri and Ben Zemanski but the Men in Red fought back and were led by Mike Magee’s second consecutive MLS goal in a Fire shirt and Daniel Paladini’s bending free kick to earn the 2-2 draw.
Just 30 seconds into the match, Federic Piquionne dribbled into the box and unleashed a low, hard shot on goal. Sean Johnson quickly got down and made the kick save. The ball bounced up and off the cross bar and fell to Diego Valeri. Valeri centered the ball to Diego Chara at the top of the six-yard box but Chara’s shot also dinged off the cross bar and out to safety.
The visitors would again hit the woodwork in the fourth minute when Michael Harrington dribbled down the left and crossed the ball to Will Johnson at the right post. The Timbers captain rose above his defender and snapped his header down out of Johnson’s reach but the ball clanged off the far post and was cleared out by Austin Berry.
The Fire would also get their chances and in the 10th minute, Patrick Nyarko received the ball on the right side of field and centered his pass to Chris Rolfe at the top of the 18-yard box. Rolfe took a quick touch to settle and blasted his right-footed effort on frame but Timbers ‘keeper Milos Kocic was able to get his fingertips on the ball to push it over the bar.
Valeri would put the Timbers ahead in the 33rd minute. Kocic’s long goal kick found Piquionne who flicked his header on for an onrushing Valeri, who dribbled into the box and sent his right footed shot off the left post and in for the opening goal of the match.
The Timbers doubled their lead in the 58th minute when Piquionne received the ball on the right side and centered the ball for Ben Zemanski, whose one-time, right footed shot from distance went just past a diving Johnson to give the Timbers the 2-0 lead.
Magee would cut the Portland lead in half in the 68th minute with his second consecutive MLS goal for the Fire. Alex played a perfectly weighted pass through behind the Timbers defense for Magee. Racing towards goal, Timbers defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and a sliding Kocic collided, causing the ball to pop out of Kocic’s grasp. Magee pounced on the rebound and slotted the ball into the open net to pull the Fire within one.
The Fire would find the equalizer in the 82nd minute. Continuing to press, Nyarko found Magee at the top of the penalty arc. Magee took a touch to settle but was knocked off the ball by Jean-Baptiste, earning a free kick 25 yards from goal. On the ensuing free kick, second half substitute Daniel Paladini whipped his right footed shot over the wall and just inside the post to pull the Fire level 2-2.
With a quick turnaround, the Fire will host the Columbus Crew in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The match will be available via live webcast on www.Chicago-Fire.com. The Men in Red return to MLS action when they host the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. CT (My50/La Ley 107.9). Tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com.
- The Men in Red earned their first point against the Timbers, moving to a 0-3-1 record against the side from the Rose City.
- Mike Magee tallied this third goal in three consecutive competitive matches for the Fire, becoming the first player in club history to do so. Acquired via trade with the LA Galaxy on May 25, Magee scored the first goal of a 2-0 victory over the Charlotte Eagles on May 29 in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and tallied the second goal of a 2-0 victory over D.C. United on June 2.
- Fire captain Logan Pause missed the second consecutive match since suffering a groin strain in the Open Cup match May 29. Jeff Larentowicz wore the captain’s armband in his stead. Larentowicz left the match in the 70th minute, and handed the armband to Magee.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas moves to 6-1-5 all-time in the month of June, and 22-12-13 all-time in regular season matches played from June through October.
Chicago Fire 2 – 2 Portland Timbers
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko, Alex, Jeff Larentowicz © (Daniel Paladini 70’), Dilly Duka (Sherjill MacDonald 70’); Chris Rolfe (Maicon Santos 64’), Mike Magee
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper, Michael Videira, Logan Pause
Portland Timbers: Milos Kocic; Jack Jewsbury, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Pa Modou Kah, Michael Harrington; Will Johnson ©, Darlington Nagbe, Ben Zemanski, Diego Chara; Diego Valeri (Sal Zizzo 67’), Frederic Piquionne (Jose Adolfo Valencia 87’)
Substitutes not used: Jake Gleeson, Kalif Alhassan, Rauwshan McKenzie, Ryan Miller, Michael Nanchoff
POR – Diego Valeri (Federic Piquionne) 33’
POR – Ben Zemanski (Federic Piquionne) 58’
CHI – Mike Magee (unassisted) 68’
CHI – Daniel Paladini (unassisted) 82’
POR – Diego Chara (caution) 45+’
CHI – Mike Magee (caution) 60’
POR – Will Johnson (caution) 83’
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistants: Bill Dittmar, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos