MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
07/01/2014 12:30 PM
07/01/2014 12:36 PM
Toronto FC (6-4-2) at Chicago (2-4-8), 8:30 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Fire will return to MLS regular season action on Wednesday when the club welcomes Toronto FC to Toyota Park.
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 Kansas City.
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 Arena.
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 focus upon.
"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 footballers have.
"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.
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