Pavel Pardo is the Chicago Fire's recent big name signing and he showed why in his first match. The former Mexico international made his Fire debut at Toyota Park Wednesday night and scored the team's lone goal to earn themselves a point against the Philadelphia Union. It wasn't the prettiest of matches and a draw is a fair result for the two Eastern Conference squads that could have used three points.
Vekjo Paunovic broke the deadlock in the 34th minute with as sweet of a strike as there can be. It wasn't set up beautifully as an attempted Philadelphia pass was blocked, but it bounced right to Paunovic. The Serbian took one touch to tee the ball up then unleashed a nearly 30-yard rocket the snuck inside the post for a tremendous opening goal.
For a while it looked like Paunovic's goal just might hold up as the winner. Philadelphia looked solid at the back and were content to defend, but Pardo broke them in the 54th minute. A good low cross to Dominic Oduro was wasted by the Ghanian. Faced with some good defense and a keeper reaching at his feet, Oduro flailed away at the ball and couldn't put it on frame, but eventually it bounced out to the top of the box. That's where Pardo was waiting to put it into the empty net for the equalizer.
If Oduro were any more adept a finisher the Fire would have themselves three points. Marco Pappa slid a perfectly weighted ball into the feet of the streaking Oduro, who was in all alone with the keeper. There was plenty of net to shoot at, but Oduro put it right at the keeper and what should have been the winner was just another save.
The draw is Chicago's 13th of the season, the most in MLS. Their inability to get three points and instead having to settle for one, especially at home where they have been drawn seven times, accounts for their spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. Meanwhile, the Union will take a point on the road as it moves them within two points of Columbus for the top spot in the conference with a match in hand.