PORTLAND, Ore. (July 5, 2017) – The Chicago Fire finished level with the Portland Timbers in a 2-2 result Wednesday night at Providence Park. The road point pushed the club’s current unbeaten streak to 11 consecutive matches heading into Major League Soccer’s upcoming break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Timbers forward Fanendo Adi opened things up in the 24th minute, converting from the penalty spot to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Portland was awarded the penalty after Juninho clipped the ball with his hand while attempting to defend a cross inside the Portland box. Ali’s finish marked the first time the Fire had trailed since their April 29 match at the New York Red Bulls. That streak of 924 minutes without trailing is a new club record, breaking the previous streak of 543 minutes, set from June 28 to Aug 9, 2008 (via Elias Sports Bureau).
Ten minutes later, the Fire pulled level when Arturo Alvarez sent in a shot from the right wing. Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic ran onto the ball in an effort to redirect toward net, but the ball went untouched past goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, knotting the score at one and giving Alvarez his third goal of 2017.
The game opened up even further after halftime, and Chicago’s Brandon Vincent emphatically provided the Fire the lead in the 61st minute. The second-year defender bagged the first goal of his career, connecting on service from Arturo Alvarez across the Portland box and sending the ball off the underside of the crossbar and in to make it 2-1.
The hosts, however, weren’t finished scoring. Diego Valeri slipped a ball through to midfielder Sebastian Blanco in the 70th minute, and the Argentine was able to place a low shot past ‘keeper Matt Lampson to level the score at 2-2.
Nikolic nearly got the winner in the 84th minute, attempting a rare shot from outside the 18 that was struck well at Gleeson’s frame. The Timbers ‘keeper was up to the challenge, however, tipping the hard shot just high of the bar. Portland also looked close to a winner when Adi headed a cross past Lampson, but the goal was disallowed when Adi was ruled to have pushed off of Fire defender Joao Meira.
Despite a late timbers offensive flurry, the Fire defensive unit held firm to protect the draw and escape Portland with a point on the road.
The point combined with a Toronto FC (11-3-5, 38 pts.) win on Wednesday night drew Chicago (11-3-5, 38 pts.) level in first place in the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings heading into the Gold Cup break. The Fire (+18) hold the advantage over Toronto (+15) in goal differential.
The Fire are next in action on Saturday, July 22, when they resume MLS play on the road at Eastern Conference contenders New York City FC. The afternoon contest kicks off from Yankee Stadium at 1 p.m. CT on CSN Chicago Plus.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (11-3-5, 38 pts.) 2:2 Portland Timbers (7-7-6, 27 pts.)
July 5, 2017 – Providence Park
POR – Fanendo Adi (PK) 24’
CHI – Arturo Alvarez (Juninho) 34’
CHI – Brandon Vincent (Arturo Alvarez, David Accam) 61’
POR – Sebastian Blanco (Diego Valeri) 70'
CHI – Matt Lampson (caution)
POR – Sebastian Blanco (caution)
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Matt Polster (Drew Conner 34’), Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent, Juninho ©, Arturo Alvarez, David Accam (Djordje Mihailovic 81’), Luis Solignac (Jonathan Campbell 65’), Michael de Leeuw, Nemanja Nikolic.
Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Michael Harrington, Brandt Bronico, Daniel Johnson.
Shots: 6; Shots On-Goal: 3; Saves: 7; Fouls: 11; Corners: 1; Offsides: 1
Portland Timbers: Jake Gleeson, Zarek Valentin, Lawrence Olum, Roy Miller, Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Marco Farfan 87’), Ben Zemanski (Victor Arboleda 87’), Darlington Nagbe, Dairon Asprilla, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, Fanendo Adi.
Subs not used: Jeff Attinella, Chance Myers, Rennico Clarke, Jeremy Ebobisse.
Shots: 24; Shots On-Goal: 9; Saves: 1; Fouls: 15; Corners: 8; Offsides: 7