Fire lets late lead slip away, settles for tie
BY SARAH TROTTO For Sun-Times Media September 28, 2013 11:18PM
Troy Perkins, Mike Magee
Updated: October 30, 2013 7:00AM
Much was going right Saturday for the Fire.
It was playing in front of 18,173 fans at Toyota Park. Mike Magee had scored two goals to push his team-leading total to 18. And the team had opportunities, including a penalty kick, to pad its lead.
But the Montreal Impact scored the tying goal in the 87th minute, and the Fire’s playoff hopes suffered a blow in a 2-2 tie.
The Fire (11-12-7) earned one point and trails the Philadelphia Union by two in the battle for the fifth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with four
regular-season games left.
‘‘Tonight’s a game we gotta win,’’ Magee said. ‘‘We move on and get back to work Monday.’’
Magee tied the score 1-1 in the 57th minute, then gave the Fire a 2-1 lead in the 73rd. But his penalty kick deflected off the crossbar in the 79th.
‘‘We have to put them away,’’ Magee said. ‘‘I gotta bury that PK. Then the game’s over.
‘‘You can’t keep expecting the defense to go up and bail you out. We gotta put them away one of these games and take that pressure off the defense.’’
After the Fire nearly padded its lead a couple of times, the Impact (13-9-7) tied the score on Maxim Tissot’s header on a loose ball.
‘‘It’s just tough when you give up a soft goal like that,’’ Fire coach Frank Klopas said. ‘‘You gotta move on and learn from it and get ready for the next match.’’
Magee gave the Fire a 2-1 lead after he stole the ball from Impact goalie Troy Perkins, who tried to dribble out of the box.
‘‘I pounced and grabbed him a little, and [there was] nothing but empty net left,’’ Magee said.
In the 82nd minute, the Fire’s Juan Luis Anangono fired a shot that deflected off Perkins, then off the far post. Magee took another shot, but defender Hassoun Camara kicked the ball off the line.
Marco Di Vaio scored his league-leading 19th goal in the 25th minute to give the Impact a 1-0 lead. The Fire tied it 1-1 after a pass by Alex was deflected but found Magee in the box for his 17th goal.
The Fire has won only one of its last six matches.
‘‘We’re dropping some points in matches where it could have been a different situation,’’ Klopas said. ‘‘It’s crucial because it’s toward the end.’’