Fire sets MLS record with 15th tie
By Len Ziehm Special to the Sun-Times August 18, 2011 10:34PM
D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario leaps in front of the Fire’s Pavel Pardo (17) and Jalil Anibaba during a 1-1 draw Thursday night at Toyota Park. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:25AM
The Fire’s 15th tie of the season Thursday night set a Major League Soccer record, but this one may have hurt more than any of the others.
Josh Wolff, who scored 32 goals for the Fire in its first four seasons (1998-2002), notched the goal that gave D.C. United a 1-1 draw before 15,818 at Toyota Park. Wolff had the only shot on goal for United (7-6-10), and Fire interim coach Frank Klopas didn’t think that one should have counted.
‘‘It’s frustrating because our players came out with a sense of urgency,’’ Klopas said. ‘‘You dominate a game and expect to win, and it comes down to an offside goal that the referees missed.’’
Wolff, who came on as a reserve in the 60th minute, didn’t dispute Klopas’ assessment of the offside call.
‘‘I don’t know, but we’ll take it,’’ said Wolff, who hooked on with D.C. United after Sporting Kansas City opted to not re-sign him. ‘‘It wasn’t our best result of the year, but it was a good result.’’
Wolff was Klopas’ teammate in the Fire’s inaugural season. They helped the Fire sweep the MLS and U.S. Open Cups. That’s a far cry from the 2-7-15 record the Fire will take into the last 10 games of this season. Wolff is third on the Fire’s all-time goal-scoring list behind Ante Razov (76) and Chris Rolfe (36).
He scored his fifth goal of this season in the 73rd minute, banging a shot in off the crossbar after a feed from another player off the bench, Santino Quaranta. That made for a nice homecoming for Wolff, one of only two players from the original Fire team still playing in MLS. Goalkeeper Zach Thornton, now with Chivas USA, is the other.
‘‘We’re the last of the Mohicans, but this is like home. It’s where it started for me,’’ said Wolff, who was with the Fire before the team’s move to Toyota Park. ‘‘There’s great fans, and it was good to come back.’’
The Fire goal came from newly acquired Sebastian Grazzini in the 59th minute. It couldn’t keep the team’s winless streak from growing to 10 games (0-3-7).
The Fire will need to win three times in the last 10 games to avoid a dubious place in MLS history. The lowest win total by any team in MLS’ 16 seasons is four, by the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny (4-21-2 in 2001) and Chivas USA (4-22-6 in 2005).
Thursday’s draw put the Fire in sole possession of an MLS record. FC Dallas had 14 ties last season.