Chicago Fire 2, Toronto FC 2 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
The Chicago Fire showcased in one afternoon many of the foibles that have hamstrung their entire 2019 season, as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit only to blow a 2-1 lead and settle for a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC in their MLS swan song at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday.
The result helped seal Chicago's postseason doom, with the Fire needing a win over TFC to have any chance of staying alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. New England's home win over New York City FC meant that the Men in Red were eliminated regardless of the final score in Bridgeview.
After a scoreless first half, Jozy Altidore shrugged off Francisco Calvo and nutmegged Kenneth Kronholm to open the scoring just shy of the hour mark. Aleksandar Katai rose from the bench to lift the home side, however, striking for the equalizer less than 10 minutes later.
It looked like the Fire had handled their side of things when another sub, Fabian Herbers, flicked home a Nico Gaitan delivery to take the lead. Yet mere moments later Omar Gonzalez elevated to thump home a leveling header off a Toronto corner kick, and the road Reds kept hold of the draw to help their own hopes of improved postseason seeding.
- 59' – TOR – Jozy Altidore | WATCH
- 68' – CHI – Aleksandar Katai | WATCH
- 77' – CHI – Fabian Herbers | WATCH
- 80' – TOR – Omar Gonzalez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: In some respects the Fire were MLS's most disappointing team this year, as they routinely underperformed their expected goal stats and other key data points despite a talented roster, and this game was more of the same. They can now pivot toward a fresh start at Soldier Field in 2020, while TFC march on toward the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, their league unbeaten run now stretching to nine matches.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Few players in MLS boast as obvious a set-piece threat as the hulking Gonzalez, and no one in red could stop him on the game-deciding play...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Aleksandar Katai was a live wire from the moment he entered the match, and carved out several of the Fire's best chances at a late winner. Will the Serbian winger return to the Windy City next season?