While the Chicago Fire’s wafer-thin chances for the playoffs continue to evaporate, the players can look back at a handful of wasted opportunities – including Friday night’s 2-2 tie against D.C. United at Toyota Park in Bridgeview – in which they played well but left points on the table.
An announced crowd of 13,807 seemed to enjoy itself when David Accam’s goal at the 29th minute gave the team a 2-1 lead. That lead held up for most of the night until D.C.’s Bobby Boswell scored in extra-time – the 92nd minute – to cost the Fire two points.
Couple that with previous late-game meltdowns:
--On April 16, Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti scored in extra time of a 2-1 victory over the Fire, costing Chicago a point.
--On May 11, Vancouver’s Blaz Perez scored in the 88thminute of a 2-1 victory over Chicago, costing the team another point.
--On June 18, Colorado’s Marco Pappa scored in the 89th minute for a 2-1 victory, costing the Fire another point.
--On July 31, the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright Phillips score in the 90th minute for forge a 2-2 tie, costing the Fire two more points
Add Friday’s lost two points and that’s seven points that the Fire (6-13-9, 27 points) could have dearly used as they open this week’s action nine points behind sixth-place New England for the final playoff spot in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference with six more matches (18 potential points). The problem is that it needs to leap five teams to get there.
"I think, there is always a reason but we are not looking for excuses,’’ first-year Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said Friday after another lost opportunity. “Like I said, we never give excuses. There is no reason to fail even when you have the result today.
“It's tough for us but small defeats lead to great victories. That's how we look at this game -- something that we learn from because that will make us better in the future if we have that approach and that's something that I just can't wait to happen. I'm just going to continue working hard, encourage these guys who are committed 100 percent and doing their best and I really enjoy working with them. Until we get there, we'll push hard we will continue fighting."
Recently acquired David Arshakyan made his first start for the Fire and thought the team should have pocketed three points.
"I feel good that I got my first starting game here but unfortunately we played a draw,’’ he said. “I thought we deserved to win this game and in the last seconds unfortunately we concede a goal so we'll keep pounding and I hope next game we'll win. I think everything's going to be okay."
Razvan Cocis scored the Fire’s first goal in the first half.
The Fire visits New York City FC at 7 p.m. Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Look out for the December draft
Major League Soccer announced details for the Expansion Draft as Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC prepare for their inaugural MLS seasons in 2017.
The Expansion Draft will be held on 1 p.m. Dec.13 at and consists of five rounds, allowing Atlanta and Minnesota to select up to five players each from the list of eligible MLS players.
The 20 current MLS clubs will have the ability to protect 11 players from their rosters. These 11 protected players, in addition to Generation adidas players who do not graduate from the program at the end of the season and Homegrown Players on a club's Supplemental or Reserve roster, will not be eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft. All remaining MLS players will be available for selection by the two expansion clubs.
Each MLS club may lose a maximum of one player in the draft. Once a player is selected from a club's unprotected roster, that club is removed from the draft process and may not lose any further players.