HARRISON, NJ – It’s true that the club were able to get their first point in Major League Soccer play since April 16th with a 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
But for Chicago Fire FC and their supporters, it certainly didn’t feel like much of achievement with the way it went down.
After taking the lead in the 89th minute, it looked as if they were headed to their first victory in nearly two months and three much-needed points after four-straight losses. But just as quickly as they got it, a defensive lapse allowed the Red Bulls to equalize and end the match in a tie.
It’s just another crushing moment for the Fire, who’ve lost their momentum after a good start to the season over the end of April and most of the month of May.
“Definitely two points dropped. It’s a tie but feels like a loss. You’re on the road at a tough place to play against a very good team, and you put yourself in position to walk away with three points and in the blink of an eye, you let it slip away,” said manager Ezra Hendrickson. “We’ve just got to learn to manage games better, you know, in situations like this because we don’t want to find ourselves come August, September, looking back thinking, man, we should have got three there, we should have got three there.
“These points are valuable points that we need to come away with, especially the ones we put ourselves in position to get them. “
That was the case in 89th minute when it appeared that Xherdan Shaqiri had helped the Fire to a win when he scored his third goal of the season and his first not off a penalty kick. But that advantage only last a little over a minute before New York equalized as Omir Fernandez slid a pass to Patryk Klimala who put it past Gabriel Slonina for the equalizer.
It crushed what would have been a win full of memorable moments as two players go their first goals in Fire uniforms. Schaumburg native Chris Mueller struck for his first goal in the 38th minute to even the game while Wyatt Omsberg, one of the stories of the year for the club, got his first score as well in the 48th minute to put the Fire ahead.
Cameron Harper tied the game ten minutes later for the Red Bulls and it remained tied until the active last few minutes that brought both elation and heartbreak to the club.
“It was a positive game for us because the last few games were not so good. We didn’t have positive results, so it was a good step again in the right direction, and yeah, that was okay,” said Shaqiri. “But of course we need to do better and we need to learn from our mistakes because we are doing too many mistakes at the moment and we have to learn from these mistakes and to do of course better to manage this game, obviously, we have to win because we score before, we just before the 90 minutes we score the 3-2 and in the extra time, they score.
“We have to do better with this but the guys, they know it, and yeah, we will do for sure better the next time. But in the end, we take that draw, one point, and we keep going. We have another game on Sunday.”
That’s against reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC at 4 PM, when the club hopes to finally get the ending right in a rough stretch.