After a 4-3 game was played between these two teams just over a month ago, it seems odd that it was a scoreless draw in the rematch.
Yet, that's exactly what happened on Sunday. The Chicago Fire traveled to Yankee Stadium to play New York City FC for the second time in the young 2016 season and came away with a 0-0 draw.
From a recordkeeping standpoint the draw will go down as the match that extended the Fire's winless streak on the road to 27 matches, which equaled the league record set by the New York Red Bulls franchise in 2009. However, from a 2016 standpoint it extended the Fire's unbeaten run to four matches and was a second road draw in two trips away from Toyota Park.
Both the Fire and NYCFC have matching 1-1-3 records through five matches. The six points both clubs have keep them on the good side of the playoff line in the early part of the season.
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From a tactical standpoint Fire coach Veljko Paunovic went with the same starting lineup he sent out in the 1-0 win against Philadelphia eight days ago. Arturo Alvarez showed some skill moves in the first half, but nothing led to a direct chance on goal. The Fire didn't even register a shot on goal through the 90 minutes.
In the second half the Fire appeared to score a goal in the 60th minute, but it was called back for offside. A long free kick was lobbed into the box and an initial header by the Fire kept the ball moving towards the goal and finally Jonathan Campbell headed in a goal. After a lengthy delay the players finally realized the goal had been called back for offside on the initial header. Replays showed that Johan Kappelhof appeared offside but Campbell appeared to be onside. Unless Kappelhof affected the play by getting a touch on the ball or affecting the goalkeeper, the goal should have stood.
Almost immediately after the goal was called back, NYCFC came right back with a shot on goal by Mix Diskerud.
Over the final 20 minutes the Fire were able to hold on for the draw and clearly had that in mind as a desirable result with some minor stalling tactics down the stretch. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson was able to deny David Villa in the 84th minute and the Fire survived some chaos in their own penalty box a minute later. Lampson was credited with eight saves.
Rookie Alex Morrell made his MLS debut as an 84th minute substitute for Gilberto. Defender Eric Gehrig, who has been out due to injury to start the season, was available on the substitute list for the first time this season.
The Fire return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Montreal Impact, which will be aired on CSN Chicago.