Chicago sets MLS record for draws after Wolff equalizer salvages point for D.C.

Wolff (Getty Images)

The Chicago Fire have fallen into a predictable pattern, regardless of the ever-changing crew of personnel wearing the team's jersey.

Josh Wolff cancelled out Sebastian Grazzini's opener with a somewhat controversial equalizer, and D.C. United played the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park Thursday night. The draw was the 15th for the Fire, which set a single-season MLS record — and the Fire still have 10 games to play.

Wolff, a former Fire striker, appeared to be a step offside when Santino Quaranta played him through inside the box in the 73rd minute. The assistant referee's flag stayed down, though, and Wolff tucked a short-range blast under the crossbar to beat Sean Johnson and level the score.

D.C., which lost goalkeeper Bill Hamid to a strained right hamstring that he suffered on a goal kick right before halftime, fell behind when Grazzini finished after a failed clearance fell right to him in the area for a 59th-minute shot that got by backup keeper Steve Cronin.

Here are highlights from the match:

D.C. (7-6-10) missed out on a golden chance to pull level with Sporting Kansas City for third place in the Eastern Conference ahead of their matchup this Sunday. Instead, D.C. is tied with New York (with two games in hand) for fifth place, a point behind Houston and two behind SKC.

Chicago (2-7-15), which was dangerous at times with Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro using their pace on the wings, remained in the conference cellar after the draw but hosts Toronto FC this weekend with a chance to climb a couple of spots in the table.

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What did you think of the match? Think Wolff's goal should have been waved off? What do you think is the biggest issue holding the Fire back?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Chicago sets MLS record for draws after Wolff equalizer salvages point for D.C.

  1. Robert Daniels says:

    Oh no! We suck again!

  2. Fire Andrew Hauptman says:

    Goal was offsides, Klopas’ tactics are bad, wash, rinse, repeat. Andrew Hauptman, sell the team and go back to California. Oh wait, you’re already there.

  3. Second City says:

    We can thank DLC/Klopas for quality (or lack thereof). They’re the source of our poor squads & draws. Until they’re both gone, it’ll be business as usual.

    However, the abundant amount of draws in the league is something I’ve brought up several times this year, on here. I wondered if we’re heading towards any records as a league, for draws in a given year.

    I support my league and understand the necessity in their slow development mentality but I’m not a supporter of the parity.

    Parity is wildly successful in the NFL for a number of reasons but mostly because they have a monopoly on the sports talent. So it’s evenly distributed throughout the league and creates a feeling of “my team could actually win it this year!” mentality that’s great for the sports health.

    Soccer is the most beautiful game on the face of the Earth but there’s very little appealing about our league when you look at the scorelines and see 7 draws in 10 matches, league-wide (5 of which would end 0-0).

    I’m not proclaiming I have the answer, nor am I stating they’re wrong in their approach…but the draws due to parity aren’t great for the league from an entertainment perspective.

    In fact, the parity just becomes quite boring…and I love the sport and love my league.

    I’m not suggesting our league goes the way of NASL and I understand why that was fundamentally wrong. Perhaps if you had a successful year in attendance or revenue, you’re allowed to seek permission in spending x-amount of dollars over the Salary Cap and proof this can be supported by ticket, marketing revenue, attendance, etc?

    Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I just need more coffee…

  4. A wise man once says:

    It strikes me that the Fire would be a real threat if they made the playoffs, due to their uncanny ability to draw anyone ;)

  5. T says:

    Realistically, that’s a question faced in Euro soccer where the same teams win each year and everyone else is there to feel the schedule. Parity for me is nice only when you have the opportunity of the best teams competing for a title rather than some mediocre teams sprinkled in. In Mexico they have a fair “bit” of parity as there are quite a few different teams that win each season. The draws are present in MLS I believe because there are coaches who play too defensive and teams who attack but have low quality forwards, that could be fixed overtime with the legues evolution of the salary cap and the development of players. I’m pretty sure frequent draws were commonplace in alot of early leagues in Europe as well.

  6. T says:

    They have a low chance of making the playoffs with only 21 points from 24 games unless they can put on a real show for the last 10 games, which for the way they’ve played this season is unrealistic.

  7. Second City says:

    I think you bring up a great point, if I understood it correctly.

    If the parity-quality was better, it’d be a completely different story. That’s certainly another way of looking at it.

    Disclaimer: I definitely acknowledge that Europe isn’t the benchmark we should aim for (ie La Liga’s two team race on Day 1).

  8. Thats right and also... says:

    It also has to do with scheduling and climate. There are too many games in such a short amount of time and then there is the oprresive heat of the summer. These factors grind out players and next thing you know teams are happy to escape on the road with a draw.

  9. A wise man once says:

    Yeah I know, I was just throwing that out.

  10. Eurosnob says:

    I personally think that Wolff was slightly offside, but it was a close call. Where, as here, there’s a close call regarding the offside, the refs usually give advantage to the attacker. As a DCU supporter, I thought that Chicago outplayed the DCU and deserved more than a tie. On the other hand, DCU was probably due for a break after loosing a number of points from goals against the run of play, when they outplayed their opponents in prior games.

  11. dan c says:

    Perhaps the increased amount of draws in due to the increased amount of playoff spots? If there were less spots, their wouldn’t be so many teams “in the pack”, their season would be over sooner and they would play to entertain the fans, rather then hold on for 1 point so they can still be in that playoff race. It seems to me that the league coaches feel it is better to lose 3 points and salvage 1 then it is to fight for 3 and salvage zero…..

  12. McNulty SOB says:

    I can live with draws like this, but 0-0 lines still kill me. Teams should only get .5 point for those. I don’t care that you “defended well” if you didn’t score either.

  13. Lonecoyote says:

    It really doesn’t matter if Wolff was offside or not, score should have been 3-0 at halftime, the Fire’s inability to finish was the determining factor, plus having Cuesta on the field is kind of an iffy proposition in the first place. Actually, the Fire did quite well playing a 4-6-0 formation without any true forwards, chalk it up to poor team amagement.

  14. KR says:

    Could we please have better announcers than Rob Stone and John Harkes? Besides the usual suckiness, they bashed Marco Pappa for his poor shoot decision and repeatedly poor decisions. The problem is HE WAS SUBBED OUT ABOUT 10 MINUTES BEFORE they said he had another bad decision. How could you forget a player was subbed out?!?!?

    BTW, Rob, I really don’t care how many times someone has played against the US Men’s international team. Could you please talk about the game?!?!?!

  15. Second City says:

    Taylor Twellman should ESPN’s lead color-commentator for soccer, period.

    I don’t care how loud the few are that support Harkes, but Harkes is one of the worst sports announcers I’ve had the pleasure of sitting through countless games of.

    -Marco Pappa…..the #16. What exactly is a “#16″? The phrasing is just moronic.

    That’s one of a thousand annoying things about Harkes.

  16. Rev up those Revs says:

    Exactly, these draws are an unintended consequence of more playoff spots. I think Grant Wahl wrote about that a few weeks ago.

  17. DCLee says:

    There were 5 draws in 9 matches the opening weekend in the EPL and 3 were 0-0 ties. It happens everywhere in the world for various reasons. If they stopped NBA, Baseball and NFL games after regulation then you’d have the same type of numbers. How many NBA and MLB games are tied after regulation. NFL not as much but there scoring system helps avoid that. My favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves has played 20 extra inning baseball games this season so they would have 20 ties if not for extra innings.

  18. Justin O says:

    DCLee – Comparing single weeks is useless. Not enough data. This year MLS has had far more draws than the big European leagues, with the possible exception of France, had over the course of the 2010-2011 season.

    And parity, at least parity alone, is not the answer. There was just as much parity in the league a decade ago as now, and back then the league had relatively few (compared to other leagues) 90-minute tie scores.

    The only verifiable connection that can be made is that draws go up as scoring goes down. And MLS scoring has been on the decrease, by and large, for the last decade.

  19. Justin O says:

    No. In the past MLS had as many as 80 percent of teams qualifying for the play-offs. And in those days, MLS had relatively few (compared to other leagues) 90-minute tie scores.

    Again, the only verifiable connection that can be made is that draws go up as scoring goes down. And MLS scoring has been on the decrease, by and large, for the last decade.

  20. papa bear says:

    I second the motion to dump Harkes. I seriously go to online feeds from China in lieu of listening to anymore of Harkes crap on some games.

  21. KR says:

    Before the game starts, I have it at normal volume. Then, every time an annoucer makes a ridiculous/irrelevant comment, I turn the volume down 3 notches. For most ESPN games, it’s at or near mute by the end of the game.

    Just simply talking more about the game in progress instead of meaningless stats would be a good start for most announcers.