Photo by ISIPhotos.com
BY TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah- The Chicago Fire had one solid opportunity on goal all night and did not waste it.
In a match that saw RSL dominate possession and chances, the Fire were able to capitalize on their one good chance on goal to level the match and escape Rio Tinto Stadium with a 1-1 draw and a valuable road point.
Quincy Amarikwa provided the equalizer, connecting on a flying kick from close range in the 84th minute to spoil the night for the home fans.
RSL were unable to score all game thanks to the heroics of Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson who made eight saves in a Man of the Match performance, with only an Alvaro Saborio header beating him on a night when Real Salt Lake created a bulk of the chances.
Johnson downplayed his role in Chicago Fire’s first road point of the season. “The backline was great. I was able to make a couple of saves and keep us in it.”
Real Salt Lake peppered Johnson’s goal for the better part of the match to no avail until finally in the 78th minute a familiar face was able to break the deadlock.
RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy swung a cross into the box where Saborio rose up and smashed it into the back of the net. It was Saborio’s first match since April 20th after missing the last five matches due to a quad strain.
Unfortunately for Real Salt Lake it looks like the star striker might have re-injured that same left quad during the match attempting to loft a shot over Fire GK Johnson. Saborio will be evaluated in the coming week.
Chicago were able to fight back and just six minutes later they scored off a long throw-in from Jalil Anibaba.
Anibaba hurled the ball into the 18-yard box and Austin Berry headed it on to Quincy Amarikwa who side-volleyed the ball into the back of the net, silencing the home crowd.
The goal rubbed RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis the wrong way.
“For me, that’s a foul throw. I’ve been saying that for the past two years. A lot of these long throw-ins that we’re seeing now are frankly just foul in my eyes. I ask the referees about it and don’t get much of a response to it. I grew up you had to throw the ball with two hands, not one.”
Whether it was sour grapes or a valid point, it didn’t matter to the Chicago Fire who came in and got the point that they needed.
With the recent acquisition of Mike Magee and defender Bakary Soumare, who made his debut tonight, things are looking up.
“Being back here is fantastic with old teammates and a locker room I’m familiar with,” Soumare remarked. “I was on the opposite side with Philly in Chicago. They had three or four good chances that changed the game.
“That’s how it is in soccer sometimes, you want the wheel to spin the right way,” Soumare said. “Maybe this is the beginning of something new. Maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter, a new season for us.”
Here are the match highlights: