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Fire, DC United battle to draw

Mar 29, 2009 - 3:00 AM WASHINGTON (AP) -- Patrick Nyarko scored in the 53rd minute to lift the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 tie with D.C. United on Saturday night.

Luciano Emilio gave D.C. United a 1-0 lead in its home opener with an unassisted goal in the 7th minute. Emilio brought the ball down the center of the field and fired a shot from just outside the penalty box.

United (0-0-2) controlled the first half, winning nearly every contested ball. After halftime, Chicago (1-0-1) was the team in charge. The Fire had seven shots on goal in the second half after they didn't record any in the first half.

"That's all we talked about at halftime - we should replicate what they did to us in the first half," Nyarko said.

Nyarko's tying score came in the 53rd minute when he took a pass on the right side of the penalty area and shot past charging United goalkeeper Josh Wicks.

"I knew I had a step on my defender and I lifted my eye to see where the goalie was. Luckily for me he was coming full speed ahead," Nyarko said. "As soon as I hit it I knew if it got past him it was going to go in."

United's best chance to regain the lead came a minute later when Chris Pontius took a pass behind the Fire defense, but Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch stopped the point-blank shot. Wicks had his own highlight play in the 89th minute, making made a diving save on a shot by Chris Rolfe.

D.C. United coach Tom Soehn said his team was unable to keep up the high-energy start.

"I don't think the structure of things changed as much as what we had in the tank," United coach Tom Soehn said.

Fire captain C.J. Brown left the game in the 14th minute with a right quadriceps injury, and Fire coach Denis Hamlett said he didn't know how long the injury would keep Brown out. The defenseman also battled a variety of injuries last season, playing only three games for Chicago.

"It's disappointing," Hamlett said. "You feel for the guy."