Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Fire will return to MLS
regular season action on Wednesday when the club welcomes Toronto FC to Toyota
Chicago has not played a league match since June 7 when it suffered a
disappointing a 3-2 home defeat to Seattle Sounders FC.
That result extended the club's winless run to four games. The Fire's last
league win came on May 18 when they earned a shock 2-1 win over Sporting
But next up is a meeting with Toronto side that is flying high after getting a
2-2 draw at Red Bull New York on Friday for its first-ever point at Red Bull
Normally, such a result would elate TFC. But the draw felt more like a loss
given that the Reds held a narrow lead heading into the final minutes only to
see Bradley Wright-Phillips equalize at the death.
Still, there were plenty of positives for Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen to
"It's one of those games where you look beyond the result and look at the
performance," Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com after the match. "I thought the
performance was extremely pleasing. We dominated large facets of the game, and
the movement off the ball, and the possession was extremely pleasing at times.
We had a lot of opportunities and we controlled the game very well."
It was an impressive performance given that Toronto was still without the
services of Michael Bradley and Julio Cesar, who were unavailable for the
clash due to World Cup duty.
But TFC still deployed a pair of Designated Players in Friday's lineup, and
they combined to produce one of the more bizarre moments of the MLS season.
With the match tied at a goal apiece, strikers Jermain Defoe and Gilberto
argued over who would take a free kick at the edge of the penalty area. Defoe
punched the ball loose of Gilberto's grasp in frustration, but the Brazilian
ultimately claimed the shot and hammered home the ensuing attempt to put TFC
in front, much to Defoe's chagrin.
"Generally what happens is, players have kind of, feelings, when they look at
the situation, they just get a feeling that something's going to happen,"
Nelsen explained. "(Gilberto) got that feeling when he got over that ball. He
just felt like something good was going to happen. It's an instinct that
"Unfortunately, his English is still not as great and he couldn't really
convey that to Jermain and quite rightly, (Defoe) was standing over the ball,
but he had a feeling. If he spoke perfect English and he said, 'Jermain, I've
got a funny feeling this is going to get smashed into the top of the net,' I
think Jermain would have stepped away pretty comfortably."
It will be interesting to see what happens if Toronto earns a free kick at the
edge of the box against Chicago on Wednesday.