Fire

Fire endure late onslaught to hold on for a draw in Portland

The Chicago Fire may be looking forward to the upcoming Gold Cup break.

The Fire played to a 2-2 draw in Portland on Wednesday without Dax McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger and lost Matt Polster to an injury in the first half. The Fire’s next game is July 22 at New York City FC while Major League Soccer takes a break for the group stage of the Gold Cup.

Schweinsteiger didn’t travel with the team after suffering a hip injury in the first half against Vancouver. Polster suffered a right leg injury just shy of 30 minutes into the game and was subbed out soon after. McCarty remains with the U.S. for the Gold Cup, which starts Saturday for the Americans.

Despite that, the Fire (11-3-5, 38 points) had a lead in the second half and still earned a road point against a playoff team.

Portland took the lead via a Fanendo Adi penalty kick after Juninho was called for a handball in the box. The Fire leveled things a few minutes later when Arturo Alvarez put in a cross from the right wing that wound up in the net.

Nemanja Nikolic was initially credited with the goal after crashing in front, but after replay, and Nikolic’s own admission, the goal was later changed to Alvarez. Nikolic still has a league-leading 16 goals, but was denied No. 17.

“I need to say the first goal is for Arturo,” Nikolic said in the halftime interview on CSN Chicago. “I don’t touch that ball. Anyway I think that my movement disturbed the goalkeeper.”

Brandon Vincent later gave the Fire the lead in the 61st minute. It was his first career MLS goal.

"I didn't know what to do with myself," Vincent said on the postgame interview on CSN Chicago. "I'm just glad it went in. It was a great ball from (Alvarez) and I was in a good place. Great team effort."


Sebastian Blanco got the tying goal for Portland nine minutes later. Portland pushed for the winning goal, racking up 24 shots and nine on target, but settled for the home draw.

The Fire are now tied on points with Toronto FC after the Reds won 3-1 at Orlando earlier on Wednesday.