BY JEFFREY KRAUSE
The Chicago Fire went into Wednesday night's match against Real Salt Lake hoping to build on their dramatic road victory against Chivas USA, but they wound up settling for a draw as their offense couldn't match the play of their organized defense.
Chicago failed to really test back-up RSL goalkeeper Kyle Reynish as the visitors from Utah left Toyota Park with a road point in Wednesday night's 0-0 tie.
“I thought we had a good start to the game," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Throughout the game we lost a little momentum. We forced the ball at times. I think that we didn’t have the ability to be quick in transition and switch the point of attack.
"As a team, we didn’t give anything away and we were good defensively," Klopas said. "You have one or two opportunities that you have to put away against a very good team, and that’s what the game comes down to.”
Dominic Oduro nearly gave the home side the lead in the 4th minute on a header off a Patrick Nyarko cross. Oduro was wide open in front of goal, but blasted his header off the crossbar.
Chicago continued to press early, as Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Segares combined to free up Pappa with a great chance, bur Reynish stopped Pappa's 10th-minute shot.
Real Salt Lake came close to scoring in the 16th minute, when Paulo Junior pounced on a sloppy turnover before sending a shot wide of goal. RSL created another scoring chance in the 24th minute, this time off a nice chip from Javier Morales that found Alvaro Saborio, who sent the ball just wide.
The rest of the match was a back-and-forth affair, with neither side being able to take control. The teams combined for just four shots on goal, none of the truly dangerous variety.
The Fire defense played well in posting their second shutout of the season. Their first clean sheet in five matches.
“The whole backline has done really well communicating and I thought this was a good game," said Fire defender Austin Berry. "We did our part and got the shutout this time, so I thought it was a really good showing by us.”
Chicago must now focus on Saturday's showdown vs. Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City. Sporting KC will be coming in on full rest, but have dropped two straight matches after starting the season with an eight-match winning streak.
Real Salt Lake will take on Seattle on Saturday in a showdown between the top two teams in the Western Conference.