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Toronto FC 1-1 Chicago Fire: Point inches visitors toward playoff field

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MLS Preview: Montreal Impact - Chicago Fire
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MLS Preview: Montreal Impact - Chicago Fire

With a chance to leap into Eastern Conference playoff positioning Wednesday, the Chicago Fire instead settled for a smaller step toward that goal.

Picking up a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC (4-13-11), the Fire (10-11-6) moved within one point of the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution — the sides currently tied for the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

After dominating the opening stages, Chicago took the lead in the 20th minute. With the Fire on the counter, Dilly Duka hit a chip into the box that just missed the lunging leg of Mike Magee — but bounced in past goalkeeper Joe Bendik anyway.

Toronto equalized three minutes later. As Bobby Convey whipped a low cross through the box, Robert Earnshaw collected the service at the far post, took a touch to evade Bakary Soumare and Gonzalo Segares, and hammered his shot home.

It was Earnshaw's first goal since mid-June, but he wouldn't have a chance for a second as he suffered a hamstring injury on the sequence and exited moments later.

The teams traded chances in the second half, with Chicago claiming the best opportunity when an 80th-minute breakaway from substitute Quincy Amarikwa was stopped by Bendik.

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