FCD puts unbeaten streak on the line against Fire
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - FC Dallas and the Chicago Fire will renew their battle for the Brimstone Cup on Saturday at Toyota Park as the two sides square off with Dallas riding a 10-game unbeaten streak.
Oscar Pareja's team has won four straight games and sits only three points back of Western Conference leaders Seattle entering the weekend.
The Fire, meanwhile, played to a 14th draw in their last outing, a 2-2 deadlock against TFC as Quincy Amarikwa scored in the 90th minute to help Chicago snatch a point.
FCD's last performance saw the club record a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake despite playing the second half with 10 men after Blas Perez was sent off.
Second-half goals from Je-Vaughn Watson and Fabian Castillo put Dallas up 2-0 before Salt Lake pulled a late goal back through Olmes Garcia.
Beating a quality side like RSL with 10 men for half the game is impressive, and Watson felt that it came down to effort, with his side simply wanting the win more.
"It was an excellent effort from the team and the guys," said Watson. "Because even when we were down to 10 players, everyone was still pushing, still fighting because we know we are a good team and better than them. So we just kept fighting because we needed it more than them to go top of the league and we practiced hard all week so the effort paid off."
The Fire has only won four times in 24 games this season, but with 14 draws the team has managed to remain in playoff contention as Chicago enters the weekend only five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
After a 79th-minute goal from TFC's Gilberto to put the Canadian side up 2-1, the Fire continued to fight and the team was rewarded with Amarikwa's late goal for a 14th draw, which is just two behind the all-time MLS record set in 2011 by the Fire and Red Bull New York.
"Coming back in any game is always good, at least we got something out of it rather than let it slip, so I'm really happy with the fight back and the spirit of the guys, but quality-wise we're not quite there yet," said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. "To come to Toronto with the quality side they have and come away with a point is good."
Robert Earnshaw was signed last week by Chicago and he made an instant impact by scoring in the 70th minute in his debut to level the match at 1-1.
Earnshaw netted eight goals in 26 games for Toronto last season and the Fire will be hoping he can add some scoring punch to an inconsistent attack.
"That's what we expected out of him, just to come off the bench, bring some energy into the game and hopefully put one away and he did all of that," Amarikwa said of Earnshaw's debut. "Hopefully that translates into more goals in the future and we can build a little partnership up there."
08/29 19:54:55 ET