De Rosario's late goal lifts TFC to 1-1 draw
Dwayne De Rosario scored in the 89th minute to draw TFC even with the Chicago Fire
Toronto FC finally found the back of the net on Saturday.
Toronto's scoreless streak ended at three-plus games and 279 consecutive minutes as Dwayne De Rosario scored a late goal to salvage a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
"The first half we were a little timid, we sat back a little bit and needed more movement," said Toronto coach Greg Vanney, who remains winless since being named coach on Aug. 31. "The second half we came out and knew at some point we were going to push forward and, more importantly, we got more aggressive.
"When we did that we created opportunities."
A potential game-winner by forward Gilberto in stoppage time was waved off.
Toronto FC (9-11-7) still saw its winless streak reach six while the Fire (5-7-15) moved to within one draw from matching an MLS record for most ties in a season.
Until De Rosario's score, Toronto's last goals came in a 2-2 tie with Chicago on Aug. 23 at BMO Field. They still haven't beaten the Fire since May 8, 2010, a span of 10 games.
Goalkeeper Joe Bendik turned back six shots, allowing only Palmer's score on a header in the 11th minute. Bendik also stopped a second half penalty kick from Chicago captain Jeff Larentowicz.
"Joe made a couple of phenomenal saves that kept us in it," Vanney said.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson recorded five saves for his sixth shutout.
Chicago coach Frank Yallop said his team lacked a will to finish.
"Not having that real last do-or-die spirit to win a game, that's was missing," Yallop said. "I can't fault the guys for their continued efforts, but their mental, slight breakdowns are hurting us."
Defender Lovel Palmer scored his first goal in three seasons to give Chicago an early lead on a header in the 11th minute. It was his first goal since a May 7, 2011 tally against Toronto while with Houston.
Stuck in ninth place in the MLS Eastern Conference and with seven games to play, the Fire are seven points out of fifth place and the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Toronto currently stands in seventh in the East.
Saturday's game was the final regular season meeting between the teams, who tied in two previous meetings.
Toronto opens a two-game home stand next Sunday against Chivas USA and entertains Portland on Sept. 27.