Brandon Vincent scored on a bouncing header off a high, curving pass from teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 84thminute to lift the Chicago Fire to a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
The draw left Portland (0-2-2) and Chicago (0-2-1) without a victory, but the Fire had to make two great second-half plays to assure they didn’t take a third loss to begin the 2018 season.
Diego Valeri’s goal in the sixth minute began the scoring for the Timbers, and came off a nifty pass from Sebastian Blanco.
Blanco fought off Chicago’s Tony Tchani after an extended run and spun to his left to find Valeri running free to his right. Valeri whipped a shot past the Fire’s goalkeeper Richard Sanchez and into the net.
Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic tied the game in the 50th minute off assists from Brandon Vincent and Schweinsteiger.
Schweinsteiger worked the ball while under duress from the right side of box to the left before passing to Vincent, who chipped the ball to the front of the goal where Nikolic directed it past Portland keeper Jake Gleeson.
Blanco quickly answered five minutes later, taking a pass from Andres Flores who lobbed a ball into the box for Blanco to head to the right of Sanchez and into the net.
It looked as if that tally would be the decider until Vincent and Schweinsteiger teamed up for the equalizer in the 84thminute.
Chicago dominated the statistics, out shooting the Timbers 12-8, with each team placing three shots on target.
The Fire also had more total passes (477-435), were more accurate with their passing (80 percent to 77 percent),and won the possession battle (54 percent to 46 percent).
Chicago returns to the pitch on April 7 when it hosts the Columbus Crew while Portland travels to Orlando City SC on April 8 for the last of five games on the road to begin the season.
—Field Level Media