After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire played out a 2-2 draw Sunday night in the Windy City.
In what was the final game at SeatGeek Stadium before the Fire move into downtown Chicago, it was Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore and the Reds who dominated the first half scoring chances, as the American striker came close on multiple occasions in an uneventful opening 45’, including having a seemingly good goal disallowed.
Kenny keeps us level ♂️— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) September 29, 2019
13' | #cf97 0-0 #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/ShMPKYGlqx
About 15 minutes after the break, Altidore finally broke his 419 minute scoreless run with a goal he certainly deserved. After receiving a pass from Marky Delgado, Altidore spun around a defender, managed to stay on his feet after being fouled, and slid the ball under the Chicago goalkeeper to open the scoring.
Too. Strong. @JozyAltidore | #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/lsXGnjG4I1— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) September 29, 2019
Chicago equalized 10 minutes later, as substitute Aleksandar Katai got in behind the TFC defense and shot one across goal and into the bottom right corner.
Absolute sorcery. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/lbAvLSvbjf— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) September 29, 2019
In the 75th minute, starting goalkeeper Quentin Westberg was forced to come out of the match after an awkward collision with Chicago’s Nicolas Gaitan earlier in the half. While jumping to catch a ball, Fire midfielder Gaitan got under the TFC goalkeeper, resulting in Westberg landing directly on the side of his head.
After undergoing concussion protocol approximately ten minutes later, the decision was made to replace Westberg with Alex Bono, the 100th appearance of Bono’s Toronto FC career, seeing him pass Stefan Frei for most in team history by a goalkeeper.
Hey @Alex25Bono just became the 11th @TorontoFC player to get 100 competitive matches with #TFCLive (first keeper) his 3rd sub @24thminute @WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @joshuakloke @LukeWileman pic.twitter.com/lnJJ10RcwK— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) September 29, 2019
But Bono’s 100th appearance didn’t go how the TFC keeper envisioned. Moments after coming on, Fabian Herbers (who had also come off the bench) gave the home side the lead, beating Bono with a header. Bono can’t be blamed for the goal, but after coming off the bench, it certainly can’t have been a confidence booster.
The subs are super. @fherbers9393 gets on the board! pic.twitter.com/dkaldohKAn— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) September 29, 2019
Just when it seemed as though Toronto FC’s unbeaten run in league play might come to an end, U.S. International Omar Gonzalez came to the rescue in the 80th minute. The centre-back rose above everyone on a corner kick from Alejandro Pozuelo, and headed his first goal for Toronto FC into the top corner, tying the game.
The Reds grinded out the final 10 minutes or so, as Chicago threw everything at them in search of a much-needed win, but TFC held on for a draw.
Toronto FC’s unbeaten streak has now reached 9 games in league action, and they have just one regular season game left, against the Columbus Crew one week from today. As it stands, TFC are still in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. But with one game to play, the Reds have the ability to finish as high as fourth — and host a first-round home playoff game.