MONTREAL – Jack McInerney scored on his debut for Montreal, but Quincy Amarikwa's reply gave the Chicago Fire their fifth consecutive tie of the season on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.
The 1-1 finish leaves both Montreal (0-3-3) and Chicago (0-1-5) still winless, but the Fire are one draw away from tying the MLS record of six consecutive draws. Montreal and Chicago also drew 1-1 at the Big O for the Impact’s first-ever MLS home game on March 17, 2012.
McInerney’s opener rescued a thoroughly dire first half. On a quick 43rd-minute transition through the middle initiated by Impact midfielder Felipe, Marco Di Vaio’s one-time pass released an onrushing McInerney behind the Chicago defense. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson got a foot to McInerney’s shot, but it still landed in the net.
Montreal head coach Frank Klopas tried to shake things up at the half, bringing on defender Hassoun Camara and midfielder Patrice Bernier as well as moving McInerney to the left. But four minutes after Di Vaio missed a glorious chance for the second, the Fire equalized in the 54th minute.
A Jeff Larentowicz header off a Harrison Shipp corner bounced off the far post, but the ball fell to Mike Magee who hooked it with his left to Amarikwa. Surrounded by Montreal players, Amarikwa powered home his third goal of the season from six yards out.
Set pieces kept posing Montreal problems throughout the second half, as did the Fire’s transitions. Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins notably had to show safe hands in the 79th minute to save a Patrick Nyarko header, and he stopped Magee in the 86th as the reigning league MVP raced through on the left.
Frank Yallop’s side kept pushing in the late stages, giving a handful to the home side. Montreal made a few attempts to slip their forwards in behind and did threaten in stoppage time, but the Chicago back four held strong, leaving both teams in search of their first win for at least another week.
They will both do so next Saturday, April 19. Chicago open the weekend’s slate of games by welcoming the New England Revolution at Toyota Park, while Montreal play at Sporting Kansas City later that evening.