Fire reserves wake up in second half to earn 2-2 tie
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media September 8, 2012 11:38PM
The Fire’s Tony Walls (left) battles Ramirez Candido during Saturday’s friendly against Santos Laguna. | Tasos Katopodis~Getty Images
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:33AM
For the entire first half of the Fire’s friendly against Mexican Primera side Santos Laguna at Toyota Park on Saturday, it looked like it would be a lopsided contest.
With coach Frank Klopas started mostly reserves, the only semblance of offense came when forward Sherjill MacDonald hit a post in the early stages of the game. From that point on, the Fire was outclassed for the remainder of the half. But knowing that they were playing for spots on the 18-man dress list in the Fire’s eight remaining MLS games, the reserves came out aggressive in the second half and rallied to earn a 2-2 tie.
“You always want to give the coaching staff hard decisions as players and it makes the team better,” midfielder Corben Bone said.
In the first five minutes, the Mexican side jumped out to a 2-0 lead and looked on its way to a rout. Forward Benjamin Joya beat Fire goalie Paolo Tornaghi with a left-footed shot from just inside the 18-yard line in the 24th minute and Daniel Luduena scored in the 29th.
The momentum changed early in the second half.
From the kickoff, the Fire was more aggressive in the offensive end, unlike the first half where it looked to sit back and play defensively against a technically sound Santos Laguna team.
Center back Michael Videira scored on a corner kick from Alex in the 48th minute. Then, Bone tied the game in the 63rd minute when he one-timed a pass from Dominic Oduro into the net.
“It’s a good confidence boost and it’s good for me as a player going forward and hopefully that shows the coaching staff that I can score goals in a spot that you have to perform and score goals like that,” Bone said. “It was huge for my game.”
The decision to start mostly reserves was out of a need to get players like Bone minutes.
“I wanted to get certain things out of the game and you walk away and the good thing is that a lot of guys got some valuable minutes, which is good,” Klopas said. “It showed me where a lot of guys are at this point.”