It wasn’t a full youth movement on the season's last day, but there was one new face in the Chicago Fire’s lineup and that could signal something to come in the offseason.
Goalkeeper Patrick McLain made the start in goal for the Fire in a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC to close out the season.
With the Fire out of contention weeks ago, arguably more notable than the result is the absence of Sean Johnson. Johnson did not travel to Toronto as a healthy scratch while McLain got the start and Matt Lampson was the backup. Considering coach Veljko Paunovic's repeated assurance that he would play what he thought was the strongest lineup and not rotate players just to give younger players more playing time, this decision stands out.
This will fuel further speculation that Johnson could leave in the offseason. Johnson, 27, has been with the Fire since being drafted in 2010. He is the longest tenured Fire player.
McLain finished with three saves, including a nice reaction save following a corner kick in the first half.
Johan Kappelhof also did not play due to a right hip injury. Rodrigo Ramos started at right back in his absence.
As for the actual game, the Fire (7-17-10, 31 points) took the lead via Michael de Leeuw’s seventh goal of the season in the 18th minute. Arturo Alvarez picked up his ninth assist by sliding a pass to de Leeuw, who finished from a tight angle.
Toronto (14-9-11, 53 points) tied things up just before halftime when Sebastian Giovinco was tripped in the box by Joao Meira for a penalty kick. Giovinco buried the penalty and the match was tied at halftime.
Giovinco showed why he is the reigning MLS MVP on the second goal. He managed to control a ball while being double teamed in the box and cut by his man to get to the end line and crossed to Justin Morrow, who finished with a powerful header in the 54th minute.
Jonathan Osorio made it 3-1 when he dribbled around McLain and scored in the 62nd minute.
John Goossens, who came off the bench in the first half for an injured Matt Polster, scored in the 83rd minute to make for a closer finish to the game. Goossens half-volleyed a loose ball in the box with a hammered left-footed strike and his third goal of the season. Polster left with a knee injury.
The loss meant the Fire became the first team in MLS history to finish last place in back-to-back seasons.