Chicago erases Timbers' 2-0 lead, earns draw
PORTLAND TIMBERS 2, CHICAGO FIRE 2
Saturday night at Toyota Park (Bridgeview, Ill.)
STORY OF THE GAME
Portland blew a 2-0 lead, as Chicago scored in the 68th and 82nd minutes.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Timbers still haven't lost in their last 12 MLS matches (extending their club record), and they remain third in the Western Conference.
Portland 5-1-8, 23 points
Chicago 3-7-3, 12 points
Midfielder Diego Valeri gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute.
Midfielder Ben Zemanski made the score 2-0 in the 58th minute.
Forward Frederic Piquionne, making his third start, had two assists.
Goalie Milos Kocic made five saves. The 6-4, 200-pound Serbian got his first MLS assist (a long ball that helped lead to Valeri's goal).
"We let our guard down. We got flat. Magee got behind us. That turned the entire momentum of the game around. The way we were playing, there was absolutely no reason for that team to get a goal. They got a goal out of nothing." Caleb Porter, Timbers coach
"We were pushing to get three (goals). They hit us on a counter attack."
"We're disappointed. It's a bit of a bitter pill, but I think we will learn from it, we will be better from it. We didn't lose the game. In 14 games, there's only been one team that's beaten us." Porter
"I should have been a little better getting the ball, but between two, three players I thought maybe one of them was going to touch me, and my hands were ready for it. I tried to push it away, but unfortunately it hit Magee in the leg. Thats Magee, you know, it always bounces his way. Unfortunately, this time he bounced the ball in and scored a goal. And then we are under a lot of pressure."
Milos Kocic, Timbers goalie
In the second half, we got better, and they started panicking when we put pressure on them. They started losing balls, and we used that to our advantage. We stayed patient, we pressured them in their half – that was the key to the game. Thats what we did not do in the first half. Being two goals down and having to come back against a team like Portland takes a pretty huge effort. If we had played well from the start, we win this game.
Patrick Nyarko, Fire midfielder
This was best feeling tie Ive had in a long time, which is kind of crazy to say, getting a tie at home, but for some reason it just feels good just the way we fought and responded being down 2-0.
Mike Magee, Fire forward
"If you look at the film, I guarantee that he (Kocic) looked down and to his left and I was already going, and all I had to do is get it over his head.
Daniel Paladini, Fire midfielder, on his tying free kick
The Fire are the only team to score more than one second-half goal on the Timbers this season.
Chicago's first goal came when forward Mike Magee out-battled Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste for a through ball, then easily beat Milos Kocic, who came off his line only to collide with Jean-Baptiste as they went for the ball.
The tying goal came on substitute midfielder Daniel Paladini's curving free kick from five yards outside the penalty box.
Portland is 2-0-6 on the road this season.
The Timbers lead the league with 14 road goals.
Portland is tied with Real Salt Lake in total goals (24).
The Timbers are 3-0-1 all-time in MLS play against the Fire.
Portland's MLS-record unbeaten streak is 19 (FC Dallas, 2010).
Kocic, 28, made his first start for the Timbers. It was his 39th career MLS start.
The Timbers' subs were Sal Zizzo (67th minute, for Valeri) and Jose Valencia (87th minute, for Piquionne). It was the first league action since the March 3 opener for Zizzo, who was coming off knee surgery.
Valeri, forward Ryan Johnson and midfielder Will Johnson share the club scoring lead with 12 points apiece.
Four Timbers and two Fire missed the game because of international team duty. Portland was without Ryan Johnson (Jamaica), Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica), Mamadou "Futty" Danso (The Gambia) and goalie Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica).
The Fire outshot Portland 19-13.
Chicago's nine corner kicks matched the season high by a Portland opponent. The Timbers did not have a corner kick.
The Fire are eighth out of 10 teams in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Attendance was announced as 15,349.
NEXT FOR TIMBERS
Wednesday Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL), at Jeld-Wen Field, 7:30 p.m. (round of 16 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match)
Saturday, June 15 FC Dallas, at Jeld-Wen Field, 2 p.m. (Dallas leads the MLS West)