PHOTO BY ISIPHOTOS.COM
BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif — The Chicago Fire earned their MLS' leading 12th draw of the season in a thrilling 1-1 draw against Chivas USA.
Speedy Ghanaian forward Dominic Oduro opened the scoring in the first half for the Fire and midfielder Nick LaBrocca equalized just seconds into the first half in a lively draw. The Fire extended their unbeaten streak to eight games while Chivas USA snapped a three game unbeaten streak.
Although his team was able to extend their unbeaten streak, the Fire were less than pleased with their performance.
“A tale of two different halves, obviously. For the first half we had a very good forty-five minutes. We had four clear opportunities to maybe put the game away, and we didn’t," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "The second half was a different game. We came out, we gave up the fast goal; we didn’t start quick enough. I just think in the second half they pushed us, they were the better team and in the end it’s a fair result.”
Despite their frustration, it was the Fire who were the initial aggressors in the match. Early on, Oduro caused a great deal of danger in the Chivas USA back line forcing goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to make several key saves. However, Oduro broke through in the 26th minute of play once again using his blinding speed to beat the Rojiblancos defense before sending in a shot from a difficult angle that scored the goal.
The Rojiblancos began to pressure towards the end of halftime with LaBrocca striking the cross bar in the 31st minute. LaBrocca found the equalizer for Chivas USA just 56 seconds into the second half firing a shot from 20 yards out that rattled the cross bar and then went over the line. As Chivas USA pushed for the go-ahead goal, LaBrocca was the catalyst consistently helping to lead runs in the Rojiblancos ultimately futile attempt at a victory. Although the victory didn't come, there were positives for Chivas USA to take from the match.
“I think we need to talk about where we are today and what we’re doing and keep working with these things and get better and better and more precise," said head coach Robin Fraser. "I thought we created a few decent chances tonight and maybe could’ve done better with but for us it’s a continual work in progress.”
The Fire will return to Southern California next weekend to take on the LA Galaxy while Chivas USA face a short week and will take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday. For Klopas and the Fire — as well as Fraser and Chivas USA — the team remains a work in progress under his stewardship.
I think you can see certain things that have gotten better, but you need to still keep working in the final third, getting opportunities and it’s easy to say, but [we have to] finish more of the chances we get," said Klopas. "We make it hard on ourselves sometimes, but we limit opposing teams to one goal, and with the chances we had, we have to be able to put some of those away and get three points."