Late goal helps give Timbers 2-2 draw

Blanco’s goal helps end Fire’s 4-match winning streak

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Sebastian Blanco scored in the 70th minute and the Portland Timbers salvaged a 2-2 draw against the surging Chicago Fire on Wednesday night.

The Fire (11-3-4) are undefeated in 11 games, winning nine times. The tie ended Chicago’s four-match winning streak and dropped the Fire a point behind Toronto FC for the Eastern Conference lead. Last season, Chicago had seven total victories and an MLS-worst 31 points.

Fanendo Adi opened the scoring for the Timbers (7-7-5) on a penalty kick in the 24th minute, and Arturo Alvarez tied it 10 minutes later.

Defender Brandon Vincent got his first goal of the season early in the second half to give the Fire the lead before Blanco took a pass from Diego Valeri and slotted the tying goal past goalkeeper Matt Lampson.

It was the third straight draw for the Timbers, who are winless in five straight games. But Portland has never lost to Chicago, with four wins and four draws since joining the league in 2011.

The Fire were without midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. He left a 4-0 victory over Vancouver this weekend with what was described as right hip pain.

Chicago was also missing midfielder Dax McCarty, who was with the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Portland was missing three players for the Gold Cup: David Guzman for Costa Rica, and Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell for Jamaica.

Adi’s scored on the penalty kick after Juninho was called for a handball in the box. It was Adi’s 10th goal of the season.

The Fire pulled even when Alvarez’s shot from distance bounced in front of Nemanja Nikolic and past diving goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Nikolic was originally given credit for the goal, but told the Chicago broadcasting team at the half that he never touched it.

It was Alvarez’s third goal of the season. Nikolic has league-leading 16 goals.

After Vincent’s goal in the 61st minute that bounced into the goal from the crossbar, Blanco scored his third goal of the season.

It appeared that Adi scored the winner in the 90th minute, but the goal didn’t count because of a foul. After the game Timbers coach Caleb Porter went to the midfield to address the referees, who were booed by the crowd as they walked off.