For a half it looked like the Chicago Fire might extend its unbeaten streak and pick up a key early season result against the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact.
Then the Impact's, well, impact players stepped up and turned the match around.
The Fire led 1-0 at halftime, but Didier Drogba was able to even the match five minutes after subbing on. Then Ignacio Piatti, who has four goals and two assists already, scored the match-winner in added time.
Sure, Drogba's goal was created by a poor Matt Lampson clearance that led directly to a 2-on-1 situation, but Drogba finished the chance that he was given and did so with a nice flick. The point is that him and Piatti are elite attacking talents in Major League Soccer and the difference on Saturday was that Montreal had those players and the Fire didn't.
"You have Didier Drogba, obviously who is a big presence and was able to score a key goal for us and a great goal by (Piatti) at the end," Montreal coach Mauro Biello said. "These are the types of players who can make the difference in a game and they did that tonight."
Maybe David Accam can be that type of player for the Fire, but he's missed four straight matches and it has showed. The Fire's attack has struggled to put shots on goal and had just two on Saturday.
Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez has talked about two players who are expected to join the team in May. Neither is official, but Khaly Thiam, a 22-year-old central midfielder from Senegal and currently playing in Hungary, is expected to be one. Dutch attacker Michael de Leeuw is rumored to be the other, with him admitting in an interview in The Netherlands that the Fire have offered him a contract.
Perhaps those players can provide the Fire a boost, but the attacking spark hasn't been there. After the Fire had a four-match unbeaten run despite scoring only two goals, it finally came back to bite them against Montreal.
"We are working on that," Paunovic said of the Fire creating more chances. "Obviously we have to improve in that. We are emphasizing every time in our sessions and in our meetings that we have to finish actions. We have to score goals, we have to take shots."