The Chicago Fire were the hosts of Major League Soccer action tonight as they welcomed the Eastern conference leaders Toronto FC to Toyota Park. The Fire were looking to try and move away from the bottom of the table while Toronto are still looking to finish at the top of the MLS standing when the regular season ends.
Chicago start quickly
The Fire put Toronto under pressure right from the first whistle as they looked to get an early goal against the visitors. Their 4-2-3-1 formation seemed to trouble Toronto and Chicago were using the flanks well to link up with lone striker Luis Solignac. Toronto could not keep ahold of the ball and the Gire tried to make the most of their early dominance.
Solignac and Michael de Leeuw linked up well early in the game to create an opening but TFC's Steven Beitashour was on hand to snuff out the danger quickly. Almost ten minutes later, de Leeuw was involved again as he trapped the ball with his chest but was tripped up before he could get his shot away. John Goossens came onto the loose ball quickly but blasted his effort wide. Another opportunity opened up for Chicago in the 19th minute when Arturo Alvarez' low corner was redirected by defender Razvan Cocis but Toronto got men behind the goal and the shot was cleared away.
Toronto turn things around
As Chicago failed to capitalize on their dominance, Toronto regained their foothold in the match. In the 28th minute, the first real chance of the game almost fell to Jonathan Osorio. Marco Delgado chipped the ball over the Chicago back line to Jozy Altidore who then squared the ball across the goal but Osorio could not quite reach the pass and the ball was eventually kicked away by Chicago. That was a warning sign for the home side and they did not heed it.
Five minutes later, Justin Morrow bombed forward from the back and found Altidore near the top of the penalty area. The US international swerved to one side before placing the ball into the far corner, giving Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson no chance to save it. Toronto would go into half time with the lead but they would stay on top early in the second half as well. in the 52nd minute, Chicago created their own problems when goalkeeper Johnson's throw was intercepted by Altidore. Osorio got the ball and had no problems lifting the ball into an empty net. A poor error by Johnson and one which Toronto punished with ease.
The Fire keep pushing for the win
Funnily enough, that error by Johnson seemed to wake the home side up and when substitute David Accam came on, Chicago came alive. The substitute helped teh Fire pull one back almost immediately in the 58th minute. Accam picked up the ball in midfield and shook off Michael Bradley's attention before slipping the ball to John Goossens who's initial strike was blocked by goalkeeper Alex Bono. Goossens picked up the rebound and lofted it into the area where de Leeuw made no mistake and powered home the goal from six yards out. De Leeuw almost got the equalizer in the 70th minute when a ball over the top from Alvarez found the midfielder alone in the box but Bono stood up strong and made a good save to keep Toronto in front. The tide had clearly turned at this point and Chicago were clearly on the rise.
When the last chance of the match fell to TFC substitute, Jordan Hamilton who could not get by Johnson when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, it was clear that the Fire were not going to be able to find the tying goal and it ended 2-1 to the vistors who continue to chase down FC Dallas in the race for the 2016 MLS Supporters Shield. Chicago stay second from bottom as their awful season continues.