Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Considering the circumstances, Toronto FC are probably very glad to be going home with a point in their back pockets.
After the early first half dismissal of Luke Moore, TFC bunkered in and managed to score and do enough to stave off the Chicago Fire in a 1-1 tie in torrential rain and wind at Toyota Park. Jackson scored the key goal for TFC, while Harry Shipp scored his sixth goal of the season, leading all rookies in goals.
After an evenly played first 26 minutes, the match changed for the worse for TFC with a red card. Going into a 50-50 challenge, TFC forward Luke Moore’s elbow made contact with Fire rookie Chris Ritter in the air, sending Ritter crashing to the ground and Moore to the locker room for an early bath.
Though TFC were reduced to 10 men, due to the conditions, the game was still lacking rhythm from either side. But that changed in the 42nd minute when the visitors stunned the home crowd as Jermain Defoe was played down the right channel with a long ball.
Defoe took on Fire defender Bakary Soumare and crossed a ball to a wide-open Jackson, who headed home easily from the top of the 6-yard box to give TFC the lead.
Following the halftime break, the Fire gained control of the match and their high pressure forced plenty of turnovers for TFC. Off a short corner in the 57th minute, Shipp was fed the ball at the edge of the box and dribbled towards the middle.
Shipp unleashed a strike on goal that took a deflection and caught TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik leaning the wrong way.
Bendik stepped up his performance in the rest of the second half, defending an onslaught of attacks until the final whistle.