Sunday, August 8, 2010

Johnson leads Fire to draw vs. Red Bulls

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Despite five designated players taking to the pitch and the anticipation heading into the Chicago Fire's home match against the New York Red Bulls, both talented squads lacked the offensive gusto on Sunday.

In the end, it was Fire rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson earning the spotlight with seven saves as the Fire and Red Bulls played to a scoreless draw in front of the largest crowd (21,868) in Toyota Park history.

The Red Bulls began to penetrate the defense in the second half, but Johnson was up to the task.

"I think we played our style pretty much 70 minutes throughout the match," Johnson said. "I think the last 20 minutes or so they were attacking us pretty strong and I think us sitting in, we were very organized. I didn't have a problem. I think defensively we were strong throughout the 90 minutes."

The hype heading into the match focused on both teams' slew of designated players. Four of the five available designated players started the match, with New York's forward tandem of Juan Pablo Angel and Thierry Henry and defender Rafael Marquez taking the pitch, and Chicago midfielder Freddie Ljungberg making his first Fire start. Fire forward Nery Castillo opened the match on the bench, but he made his debut in the 56th minute, entering the match for target forward Brian McBride.

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