If you had told me yesterday afternoon that tonight's game would end with the Chicago Fire getting a point at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC, I would have been thrilled. Not because that I didn't believe that the Fire couldn't win. But because every game on that field, more so then anywhere else in the league is a crapshoot. It's absurdly small. Remember the minor league park the Kansas City Wiz used to play in? How small that field seemed? This one seems smaller. BeIn Sports broadcaster and friend of the program Kevin Egan called it a seven-a-side pitch. There's no place to go. Space is so hard to find, and passes are deflected so often, that games are decided more on random happenstance, then actual skill or good play. All that being said, getting robbed of three points because of a poor refereeing decision stings a little bit.
After a substitution that tool Arturo Alvarez off the pitch for John Goossens, Michael Stephens whacked a picture perfect ball into the box in the perfect place- directly between the six yard box ant the penalty spot. Gilberto got his forhead to it and flicked it forward to the far left post, where Jonathan Campbell met it with a sweet diving header past Josh Saunders and into the back of the net. The Frire were up 1-0.......
It would be great if it ended there, wouldn't it. How the game would have changed had we just left it at that for the night and went to get ice cream, or something. But alas. We can't. As Gilberto flicked the ball on, Johan Kappelhoff was moving at a rate that left him half a foot offside, and the assistant referee, put his flag up. The issue here, of course, is that Kappelhoff did not make a play for the ball, or interfere with the defender marking Campbell. The goal should have counted, and referee Mark Gaiger should have overruled his linesman. Neither of those things happened. The Fire never got as close to scoreing as they did there, and the game finished a scoreless draw.
I'm happy with a draw. Sure the Fire haven't won a game away from Toyota Park in over a season. But that doesn't really matter in the short term. What does matter, is that they haven't been scored on in 365 minutes. They'll try to keep that up next week against Montreal.