17 March 2012
Posted in Chicago Fire
In a scene that has become all too familiar to supporters of the Fire, the team walked away from their first meeting with Montreal Impact drawn at 1.
In front of more than 50,000 Impact supporters, the Fire helped Montreal open up their home building as the expansion franchise played its first MLS home match. After losing on the road in Vancouver last week, Montreal looked to get off to a fast start to please the home crowd. The match was pretty uneventful in the first half, with the Fire missing a few decent scoring opportunities, and Sebastian Grazzini picking up his first yellow card of the season.
The two teams headed for the dressing rooms after 45 minutes with neither team on the score sheet, and neither really looking superior to the other.
History was made in the 56th minute as Davy Arnaud scored the first MLS goal in Montreal Impact history. The 15 minutes that followed were painful ones for Fire supporters who must have felt sick watching their team, yet again, go down to an expansion club in their first ever home match.
The feeling didn't last long however, as Dominic Oduro picked up where he left off last year and put the ball in the back of the net off of a brilliant chip pass from Sebastian Grazzini in the 71st minute.
The last 20 minutes was full of some foolish play with 3 more players picking up yellow cards in the final 10, and Montreal almost stole the game just seconds before the whistle, as a shot came from outside the box on a beeline for the back of the net. It slammed off the woodwork and the Fire were able to clear. A few moments later the whistle had blown and the two sides walked away with a point a piece.
With Sean Johnson away at US Olympic camp, boss Frank Klopas had a decision to make, go with the veteran Jay Nolly, or the young Inter-Milan product, Paolo Tornaghi? The common thinking was that Klopas would give Nolly the nod, but Tornaghi started in the net and turned out a pretty decent performance for a youngster in his first MLS match.
Hunter Jumper and Federico Puppo also made their Fire debuts as they came on as substitutes in the second half of the match.
The 1-1 draw is a painful pill to swallow as the Fire wanted to start off 2012 much faster than they started 2011. Fire players and supporters, alike, saw just how hard it could be to dig out of an early season hole, and this year's installment of the Men in Red hopes to avoid duplicating last year's molasses-like start.
Next up: Fire home opener next Saturday night vs. Philadelphia Union
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