This match was supposed to be about the four to five Designated Players that was going to perform on the field at Toyota Park on Sunday Night. The big names of world football coming together and strutting their stuff all match long as the spotlights were shinning bright. But while this was a fantastic scoreless draw to watch, I have to say the brightest star was the Chicago Fire’s newest keeper Sean Johnson who made brilliant save after brilliant save all night long.
All match long Johnson was in fantastic position making all the saves he had to do and keep the Red Bulls off the scoreboard. If it was point blank shots he was there. Long distance rips, he was there. Problems during corners, no such luck was Sean Johnson bothered at all. If he only coughed up two penalties from Landon Donovan, then Johnson has been perfect throughout two successful league matches.
The question for Chicago Fire supporters right now is this. Is Sean Johnson the diamond in the rough that should’ve started the season rather than Andrew Dykstra. So far in two league matches along with Superliga it looks like this new keeper for the club could be the one that Carlos de los Cobos has found to stop the bleeding badly.
But once again this match was suppose to be the historic five designated players that faced each other on the field. Freddy Ljungberg started for Fire as did his former teammate at Arsenal of the English Premiership Thierry Henry for the New York Red Bulls along with Juan Pablo Angel and starting in his first match in MLS was Mexican National Team Captain Rafael Marquez. Subbing into the match around the 56th minute was Nery Castillo.
But if you are a Red Bulls supporter you got very nervous after the 37th minute when New York was defending a corner by the Fire. Somewhere in the area Thierry Henry took a shot in the head and later on you saw him holding it and right away you thought about a possible concussion. Even though he was taken out of the match in 45th minute and the nerves are getting worse and worse, thankfully it was reported that Henry had a groin strain and it wasn’t serious.
If this is what we are all expecting in the future of Major League Soccer and the Designated Player slots, then I have to say that tonight’s match is exactly what all of us have been hoping for. There have been many matches in the past which were scoreless that the action has been boring and not so satisfying. There have been some of those matches this season as well. But at Toyota Park this by far has been a fantastic, exciting & awesome display of football we have seen.
The quality of play on the pitch was second to none and as the years go by, let’s all hope that every single side in MLS will get their own Designated Player or two and possibly purchase a third and finally we can get some good quality mixing in with our upcoming American players for the good of our domestic league.