The Chicago Fire extended their streak of four games without a loss as they gained a point at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC on Sunday night. The Fire drew 0-0 with the hosts and had a good showing on primetime as the game was televised on Fox Sports 1.
Defensive Struggle in the Opening 45
It was a tough first half for both teams as each failed to generate any offense. The Fire started out the game by pressing high and looking to generate turnovers from the pressure. But, pressing high up field has its risks as it leaves the defense exposed at the back. NYCFC certainly had their chances in the first half and tested goalkeeper Matt Lampson. If it wasn't for Lampson, Chicago could have easily lost this game. He made his first big save of the game when he punched David Villa's shot off the post in the 29th minute. The Fire were great in the first meeting between these two teams a few weeks ago when it came to limiting Villa's impact on the game but they gave up some grade A chances to the striker in this one.
Lampson later denied Villa a second time as a corner fell to the former FC Barcelona striker inside the box. But the shot went straight to Lampson and the rebound was shot over the bar by Tommy McNamara. It was all NYCFC when it came to the offensive chances in the first half while Chicago struggled to create anything. Twice the Fire had two close chances that were called back for offside but other than that, they didn't have a shot on target. With David Accam out again with an injury, Chicago struggled to get some good chances on the NYCFC goal.
Second Half Opens Up, Chaos Ensues
In the second half the teams became more relaxed and began to take more chances at either end. The game opened up more and we got to see more and more offense.
Unable to find much offense from open play, Chicago found their best chances from set pieces. They tested NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders for basically the first time off an inswinging freekick which Saunders to come off his line and punch it clear.
Then Chicago had a great chance in the 61st minute when a ball was played in, again off a free kick and Johnathan Campbell found the back of the net for Chicago. After a minute of Fire players celebrating what they had thought was the go ahead goal, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. It turns out someone on Chicago was offside, but it wasn't Campbell. It looked like the wrong call and the protests from the Chicago players was a fair one.
NYCFC wasted no time, and went on to test Lampson again. Yet, once again, they were denied by the keeper who many thought would be a backup this year.
Villa had the best chance for NYCFC again in the second half as he was played through and found himself one on one with Lampson. With Lampson coming off his line quickly, it was clever of Villa to try and shoot early to catch him off guard. But, Lampson jumped up with both hands and somehow caught Villa's shot.
That turned out to be the last major chance of the game as the match played out to a scoreless draw. This was a solid result for both teams as Chicago got their 3rd straight clean sheet and NYCFC picked up their second straight draw.
Chicago is back home against the Montreal Impact next week and NYCFC travels to face the Columbus Crew next Saturday.