By DAN KARELL
When Mike Magee stepped up to the penalty spot in the 79th minute, he must have thought the game was as good as over.
Instead, Magee’s penalty kick clanged off the crossbar, denying the Chicago Fire of taking a two goal lead as well as Magee of a hat-trick. And as if destined to pay for the miss, the Montreal Impact scored with three minutes remaining in regulation to tie the score, as the two squads finished in a 2-2 tie on Saturday evening at Toyota Park.
Early on, the Impact struck against the run of play to take a first-half lead. Marco Di Vaio scored his league leading 19th goal of the season when he received a pass in the box, found a tight seam, and finished with the poise of a veteran in the 25th minute.
The tide of the match began to change in the second half, as the Fire had battled back after the Impact gained confidence from their lone goal. On a similar goal to the first one, Magee reacted quickest in the box to a chance, this time a blocked shot by Alex, and scored in the 57th minute to tie the match.
In the 73rd minute, a stunning sequence of events saw Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins lose the ball to Magee in the penalty box when trying to dribble away from Magee, allowing the Fire forward to score his second of the match and 18th of the season. Five minutes later, the referee Armando Villarreal pointed to the spot when Perkins took out Fire winger Patrick Nyarko in the box, though Magee couldn’t convert the spot kick.
The Fire had another chance three minutes later to put the game away, but Juan Luis Anangono’s shot hit the woodwork, while Magee had a shot that was cleared off the line. In the 87th minute, Di Vaio attracted three Fire defenders in the box, leaving young Impact defender Maxime Tissot to head home after a loose ball went into his path, tying the match.