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Olave's second-half goal gives Salt Lake 1-1 tie with Fire

Sep 13, 2009 - 5:23 AM SANDY, Utah (STATS) - Giving up a late first-half goal to the Chicago Fire put Real Salt Lake in a tough spot. Jamison Olave rescued Salt Lake from a potentially damaging loss.

The Colombian defender came through with a goal in the 72nd minute to help Salt Lake to a 1-1 draw with the Fire on Saturday night.

While RSL (9-9-7) is tied with Toronto FC for the last MLS playoff spot, Chicago (10-6-9) moved into a tie with Columbus for first place in the Eastern Conference.

With the Fire leading 1-0, Olave outraced three Chicago players to track down a lead ball fed deep into the penalty area by Andy Williams. Once Olave corralled the ball, he slotted a low right-footed shot inside the right post for his third goal of the season.

It is the kind of play teammates have come to expect from Olave, who has a penchant for coming up with both goals and defensive stops at critical times.

"He's dangerous on both sides of the ball," Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "He's someone with a lot of pace, a lot of size and covers a lot of ground. When you have a back that can score goals and defend - it's a plus."

Chris Rolfe had given Chicago the lead in the 44th minute when he jumped high to snag a cross from Marco Pappa, brought the ball down on his chest between a pair of RSL defenders and flicked a line drive past Rimando.

Rolfe felt Chicago established a dominant tone early that led to a desirable result.

"I thought we played very well tonight - especially on the road," Rolfe said. "We put them under pressure and we had moments where we had great possession of the ball as well."

RSL was hurt by a depleted midfield. Kyle Beckerman sat out while serving a one-game suspension and Javier Morales played limited minutes after coming back from a recent ankle injury. Salt Lake also lost Clint Mathis a few minutes into the game to a sprained left ankle.

Coach Jason Kreis felt Mathis' departure disrupted RSL's offensive rhythm.

"We need the ball," Kreis said. "We have good players out there and we got to have possession of the ball for long stretches of time. We didn't do that after Clint left the game. We never really established a rhythm or got enough possession in the first half."

The Fire had better news on the injury front, welcoming back Brian McBride. The veteran forward, who had been sidelined with a shoulder injury since mid-July, started the game and was replaced in the 73rd minute by Calen Carr.

Chicago coach Denis Hamlett thought his team enjoyed an extra boost from having McBride back in action.

"When he's on the field, he just makes other players around him better," Hamlett said. "It was good to have him back tonight and he gave us all he had tonight."