New coach / director of soccer Frank Yallop is starting to see first-hand why Chicago Fire fans have been so frustrated the past few seasons.
Despite a good start to Saturday's game against the visiting Philadelphia Union, the Fire needed a late goal to earn a 2-2 draw at Toyota Park. The Fire had a chance to win on the last play of the game, but Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath saved Mike Magee's penalty kick in extra time.
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It was the fourth consecutive draw for the Fire (0-1-4, 4 points), which shares the MLS record for ties in a season with 16 in 2011.
"I'm still learning about a lot of players, I'm still learning about the squad," Yallop said. "We're unbeaten in four, by the way, so that for me is a good thing for a coach. We haven't won in five, which is not a good thing. I try to look positive. ... We're not far off. We've got to keep going and not worry about not winning because if you start worrying about it you won't play well."
The Fire looked strong in the first 20 minutes. Magee, the 2013 MLS MVP, scored his first goal of the 2014 season in the 16th minute off a Quincy Amarikwa assist.
But that momentum quickly vanished when Philadelphia tied the game in the 32nd minute and took a 2-1 lead in the 39th, the only two shots the Union (1-1-3, 6 points) put on goal.
"I had a talk with the guys at halftime," Yallop said. "I questioned them a little bit about did we really want to win, did we really fancy our chances to come back in this game. I thought we responded well. I thought we showed heart. And that's all I'm asking for and we had a chance to win the game. Disappointed we didn't win it, but all in all maybe our luck will turn in the next game."
The Fire pressed in the waning minutes to equalize, doing it on an 86th-minute goal credited to designated player Juan Luis Anangono, also his first goal of the season. Magee got the assist.
"We can't catch a break, but it's OK," said Fire defender Bakary Soumare, reacquired from Philadelphia last May. "We're working hard, we're showing character and we're fighting. The only thing I'm not very happy about is that we keep conceding weird goals. Defensively, we have to be better, starting with us as a back four. But we'll get there."
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