Prematch thought: Dax is back! Having McCarty back from USMNT duty is going to be critical for the Fire’s success today, especially since Schweinsteiger won’t feature. Also, Brandon Vincent returns to the starting lineup for the first time since picking up that muscle injury at Yankee Stadium in July. Glad to see him back in the starting eleven.
3- Toyota Park is looking a little empty for today’s match. Which, frankly, is strange to me. The weather is perfect and the Fire are facing another playoff team today.
7- Bradley Wright-Phillips cracks a half-volley from the top of the box, but Lampson is able to get across to make the save.
8- Goal - New York Red Bulls - Wright-Phillips taps home a ball headed back across the face of goal.
8- That was very underwhelming defending from Chicago on that set piece. The Fire don’t seem to have come out of the tunnel yet.
10- Vincent plays the ball through for Solignac, but iron man Robles comes out to claim the ball just before the Argentine can get a foot to it.
13- A neat bit of work from McCarty springs the Fire on a counter attack, but De Leeuw’s pass is unable to make it past that New York back line.
15- Tyler Adams has stayed down on the pitch holding his shin. Replay shows that he took an unintentional kick to the knee area.
15- Robles is once again able to claim a ball over the top, this time beating Accam to the ball.
20- Vincent springs Accam down the left wing, but Aaron Long does well to shield the Ghanaian off the ball.
22- BWP flagged offside to finish off a lackluster push forward from NYRB.
23- De Leeuw plays Solignac into the box, but the Argentine’s first touch lets him down and Robles is once again able to smother the ball.
26- The ball bounces around inside New York’s technical area before De Leeuw is able to connect with it. The Dutchman’s volley hits the crossbar, and Accam can’t get anything behind his follow-up header. It really should be level now.
28- Juninho’s free kick goes straight into the wall. A very underwhelming effort from the Brazilian there.
29- Bradley Wright-Phillips once again finds the back of the net! But the Englishman is correctly flagged offside, and the goal is disallowed.
31- Vincent remains on the ground following a foul from Zizzo. The Red Bulls player earns himself a yellow card for that tackle.
33- This time De Leeuw finds the back of the net! But once again the goal is disallowed for a questionable foul committed by Luis Solignac.
34- Accam quits mid-run after taking an elbow to the face. Play on says Alan Kelly.
36- Alan Kelly stops play once again to approach Pauno. Veljko seems to be on his last leg here. Another outburst on the sideline and the Fire could be manager-less.
40- Hard work from Solignac earns the Fire a corner.
41- Lampson is put under immense pressure from Tyler Adams and is lucky that the deflected clearance didn’t end up in the back of the net.
42- Nikolic plays a ball into the box! But Accam is unable to get anything on it. The Hungarian striker has been quiet so far today once again.
43- Polster is fouled on the top of New York’s technical area! Let’s see what the Men in Red do with this dead ball.
43- Accam’s curling free kick hits the post! And Matt Polster is unable to head the ball into an empty Red Bulls’ goal. The right back really should be doing better with that.
45+1- Kappelhof does well to clear away across before the ball could find the feet of BWP.
45+3- There’s the whistle!
Halftime thought: The Red Bulls haven’t had much else to say in this match since they grabbed the early goal. Chicago should feel unlucky not to at least be level. The Fire will have to turn up the pressure in the second half if they want to get anything out of this match.
46- The second half it underway!
46- Robles comes out to punch the ball away, but can’t get it any further than Nikolic. The Hungarian’s follow up strike is cleared off the line! Another good chance for the Fire has gone to waste.
50- Lawrence with a firm challenge on Solignac. The defender got that one right, but you could make the argument that it was reckless.
51- Phew. Campbell nearly passes the ball past Lampson into his own goal. Nervy moments for the Fire center back there.
55- De Leeuw brings down Lawrence at midfield. The defender was careless with the ball there and the Dutchman nearly got away with the foul.
56- McCarty flashes a cross into the box but it was too tall for Nikolic. The Fire have been on the front foot so far in this half.
57- Campbell picks up a yellow card for a foul on BWP at the top of the Fire’s penalty area. Not so sure that I agree with Alan Kelly on that one..
58- Kljestan’s shot from the free kick is both high and wide of the goal. No real danger from New York on that set piece— for once.
59- Juninho lets fly from distance! The ball took a deflection, though, and the Fire have a corner.
62- The Beard with a chance! Campbell gets free at the near post but can only head the corner over the goal.
63- Accam flashes a shot towards the near post but Robles is able to make a save easily.
66- GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! THE DROUGHT IS OVER!! Nikolic finishes off a squared ball from Michael De Leeuw! We’re level at 1-1!
67- The ball from The Lion really made that goal. But gosh, it feels good to see Nikolic finally get back on the score sheet.
69- It should have been a second! Nikolic picks out Solignac at the back post and the Argentine will be stunned that he didn’t score! What a save from Robles!
72- The Red Bulls are awarded a free kick just to the left of the Fire’s technical area. They’ve looked dangerous on set pieces all day...
73- Kljestan’s ball is headed away for a corner.
74- Nothing comes of that set piece either.
74- I believe that Arturo Alvarez was just shown a yellow card. He’s not even on the pitch...
76- Now De Leeuw picks up a yellow card! Alan Kelly is giving them to anyone who moves right now.
78- Drew Conner enters the game for Juninho! Let’s see what the former Wisconsin Badger can do in his 12 or so minutes on the pitch.
82- Alan Kelly awards the Fire a free kick after a NYRB players goes to ground a little too easily.
84- Solignac with another chance! The Argentine turns another shot just wide of the post.
87- Testy times for the Fire. NYRB are applying some late pressure here.
87- Djordje Mihailovic replaces David Accam for a cameo appearance. Maybe the 18-year-old can grab a late winner!
89- Campbell is able to clear a ball into the Fire’s box. The Beard has had a strong performance today.
90- Kappelhof clears this time! The Fire’s job tonight isn’t done quite yet.
90+3- Keita finds some space at the top of the box to get a shot away but Lampson is able to make the save!
90+3- NYRB have a free kick right on the top of the Fire’s box. Who’s going to hit this one?
90+4- Keita let’s fly but can only find the bleachers of Toyota Park.
90+4- Arshakyan replaces Nikolic! The big striker is going to get a solid few seconds of time in this one.
Final Whistle Thought: Phew. Thank god that’s over. 1-1 is probably a fair result, but there was some definite intensity in this one. Both Paunovic and Marsch look upset about the result, and both were less than pleased with the referee. All in all, this doesn’t do much to the Eastern Conference table, and both teams can feel OK about a point.