Another missed PK, another tie for Fire
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media April 19, 2014 11:34PM
Updated: May 21, 2014 6:22AM
Jeff Larentowicz and MVP Mike Magee were available. But instead of the Fire’s leader or its best player taking the penalty kick in the 90th minute, substitute Juan Luis Anangonó stood over the ball.
His shot was stopped by New England Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, and the Fire made league history with its 1-1 tie Saturday.
The tie was the sixth in a row for the Fire (0-1-6), which matched a record for consecutive draws last set by the 2011 Colorado Rapids.
The Fire had 17 shots and 52.2 percent possession, but the team extended its season-opening winless streak to seven games, the longest to start a season in franchise history.
“Taking a penalty kick late in the game is part of winning, and you’ve got to be able to do that,” coach Frank Yallop said.
The inability to convert a late penalty is not a new problem, and it has cost the Fire four points over the last two home games. On April 5 against the Philadelphia Union, the Fire had a chance for a stoppage-time penalty-kick winner, but Magee was denied.
The Fire was given the chance to win after a scramble in front of the Revolution goal ended with a hand ball by defender Kevin Alston, and Anangonó grabbed the ball instead of Magee or Larentowicz, who scored on a penalty March 16 in Portland.
“Juan steps up and grabs the ball, and that’s just what happened. As captain, as the one who has made a penalty this year, I should take the ball and take the penalty, but I didn’t,” Larentowicz said. “That’s on me, not Juan.”
Through a translator, Anangonó said “the decision was his own” to take the kick.
But it might not have come to him if Quincy Amarikwa, who scored the Fire’s goal, hadn’t been sent off for two yellow cards and suspended for the game against Real Salt Lake on May 3.
With or without Amarikwa, the Fire has two weeks until its next chance to win.
“It’s bizarre,” Larentowicz said. “To see that once is tough, but twice is even worse.”