The Chicago Fire didn't lose to the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at Toyota Park. It just felt that way.
Adam Moffat's 10-yard blast in the 90th minute gave Houston a 1-1 draw in front of 17,808 and denied the Fire (10-10-5, 35 points) a chance to leap past the Dynamo (10-8-7, 37) into the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We created a lot of opportunities," Fire coach Frank Klopas said of his team's 21 shots. "It's a shame we didn't put the game away. It feels tough the way you lose in the last minute, but that's how sometimes it is.
"It's disappointing, we feel, dropping points at home after we felt we had the game and we created chances to put it away. We've got to make sure we play all the way to the end.
"Obviously, this hurts right now, dropping these 2 points at home. … All the points really count now toward the end, so we've got to find a way to pick them up somewhere else."
The seventh-place Fire's path to the playoffs became much more difficult when Moffat's shot struck the back of the net. With nine games to play, just three at home, the Fire needs to either pick up points on the road or see a team or two in front of them, like Houston, go into a nose-dive.
The Fire, just 2-6-3 on the road, heads to Seattle on Saturday to play the Sounders on artificial turf, a surface that has not been friendly to the Chicagoans.
"In the end it feels like we lost some points," said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz in a funereal postgame locker room. "It's a tough game, tough team. For the remainder of the year we've got to look to be getting max points at home, and tonight we let a couple slip."
The Fire took a 1-0 lead when Dynamo center back Bobby Boswell headed a corner kick past goalkeeper Tally Hall for an own goal. It wasn't the only time Hall was tested; just the only time he was beaten.
He made 7 saves, including a diving save of a Jalil Anibaba header just minutes after Moffat's goal. Hall also got help from the left post of his goal, which stopped a Mike Magee shot in the 73rd minute that would have given the Fire a 2-goal lead.
Magee, so vital in turning around the Fire's season with his 8 goals for the Fire in MLS play, hasn't scored since Aug. 3 at Philadelphia, a stretch of five games. The Fire is 2-2-1 in that stretch.
"It's tough, you know?" veteran forward Chris Rolfe said. "We put a lot into that game. We prepared for it. I thought we played pretty well, we worked hard, and to give up a goal in the 90th minute is always tough to swallow."
•Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz