The Chicago Fire were so close to getting back on track with a home win, but were denied by a 92nd minute goal from D.C. United's Bobby Boswell.
After falling behind in the 19th minute, the Fire led for most of the match only to settle for a 2-2 draw when Boswell scored following a flurry of three shots in one sequence for D.C.
D.C. had 59 percent of the possession and 12 shots in the second half after the Fire had a slight edge in both categories in the first half. Fire coach Veljko Paunovic didn't think his team took too defensive of an approach with the lead.
“We never give excuses," Paunovic said. "There is no reason to fail even when you have the result like today. It’s tough for us, but small defeats lead to great victories. That’s how we look at this game. It’s something we learn from because that’s something that will make us better in the future if we have that approach."
D.C. piled the pressure on late and was able to find the equalizer. Luciano Acosta started the chaotic sequence by drilling a shot off the crossbar. Sean Johnson made an acrobatic diving save on Patrick Nyarko's rebound, but Boswell converted on the third attempt.
Failing to keep a lead late in a match at home is nothing new for the Fire. The New York Red Bulls scored in the 90th minute to force a 2-2 draw at Toyota Park on July 31. The last time D.C. played in Bridgeview on April 30, Nyarko scored in the second half of a 1-1 draw after the Fire took a lead into halftime. On the other side, it is the third straight match D.C. has scored in stoppage time to equalize.
“They can smell that they can score and they can feel that," Fire defender Johan Kappelhof said. "They had the ball all the time so we were defending and losing our energy without the ball. That’s a thing we have to do better next time even if you’re one goal ahead. You have to keep playing football. Now we are losing too much energy without the ball and you can see at the end that they had more energy to press us. That’s something we have to do better next time.”
Things got off to a rocky start for the Fire (6-13-9, 27 points) when D.C. (7-9-13, 34 points) was given an indirect free kick on the edge of the 6-yard box. Sean Johnson punched away a ball that was judged to be an intentional back pass. The ensuing indirect kick saw all of the Fire players standing on the goal line, but none could stop Rob Vincent’s hammered shot, which was roofed into the top netting.
The Fire had a quick answer three minutes later when Razvan Cocis headed in a corner kick. His flick header came from inside the near post. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was able to get a touch on it, but couldn’t keep it out of the goal.
“There’s things we practice of course and it’s one of those," Cocis said of the goal. "It's my spot. It’s my best spot where I can be and it’s either a flick or a shot to score the goal. Today it was a goal."
Arturo Alvarez picked up his team-leading sixth assist by delivering the corner.
David Accam gave the Fire the lead just before the half hour mark with one of his familiar quick, weaving runs through the defense. Accam took on multiple defenders and drilled a low shot that gave the Fire the lead. It was Accam’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.
“I thought we were not as tuned in in the first half as they were,” D.C. United coach Ben Olsen said. “Accam’s special. He’s going to make his plays.”
David Arshakyan made his first start for the Fire. He was credited with four shots, one on target, before being subbed off in the 70th minute. Khaly Thiam replaced him to make his first appearance since being red carded in the match at D.C. on Aug. 27.
Michael de Leeuw, who had scored in each of the past three matches, was out with an ankle injury and John Goossens missed the game with a back injury.
The Fire finished the three-game homestand with a 1-1-1 record. Next up is a three-game road trip, beginning next Friday at New York City FC.