Midway through the first half, John Goossens hit a beautiful cross. I can close my eyes and still see that ball soaring. Time slowing for a moment as the ball moves gracefully south by southwest from the right side of midfield. It moves over everyone's heads, Red Bull and Man in Red alike until gravity takes hold and brings it back to earth. However, before it can reach the grass covered ground as nature and physics intended, it meets the forehead of a diving Matt Polster, changing direction towards and passed a diving Luis Robles. The ball's momentum is only stopped by the white nylon mesh. 2-1 Fire.
If it only could have stayed that way. And it could have been improved on, too. Multiple times, even. David Accam missed an opportunity to get on the end of a Michael de Leeuw cross in front of an open net, and Accam scuffed a cross while trying to return the favor. He was in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. And they payed for it with two points.
It didn't start out well for the Chicago XI. Just sixteen minutes in, Matt Polster, the future would be hero put the ball into his own net. The New York Red Bulls Mike Grella floated a cross into the six yard box that would have easily been caught by Sean Johnson. Polster was tracking the run of Sacha Kljestan. Johnson failed to tell Polster to get out of the way, as well as hesitated to take charge of his area. The Red Bulls went up 1-0.
The Fire equalizer came in the Thirty-Fifth. David Accam found a loose ball near the top of the Eighteen yard box, cut back to his right, and let a worm burner rip from Twenty-Three yards that was too low for Robles to stop.
The goal that tied the game for the Red Bulls was a tragic moment for a Fire team that, all things considered, played really well at times. Connor Lade settled down a clearance out of the box, and whipped it back in. Jonathan Campbell, who came in for a limping Joao Maera towards the end of the first half, slipped in the area that just two weeks ago, was a stage for the Chicago Open Air music festival. The ball flew over his head on to the foot of prolific striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. Coincidentally, that goal put BWP goal put him one back of NYRB legend Juan Pablo Angel's all time team MLS goals record, as well as passed JPA in goals across all competitions.
The dropped points essentially means that the playoffs are out of reach for this Fire squad, but the season isn't lost by any means. The Fire should, and probably will look toward Tuesday August 9th. Where they'll face the New England Revolution in Foxboro. If the Fire manage to win, they will host the final against ether the LA Galaxy, or F.C. Dallas. Both games, will be broadcast on ESPN 2. Before then, however, The Fire must go to Salt Lake City, where they'll play Real Salt Lake on the 6th.