Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview
COLUMBUS CREW vs CHICAGO FIRE
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 21, 2013 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #275)
7:30 p.m. ET (FS-OH; My50 Chi)
The Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire meet in a crucial match for the postseason fortunes of both clubs when the Eastern Conference rivals face off Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew come into the weekend four points behind the Fire for fifth place and the final playoff position, after their 2-1 come-from-behind win at Montréal last weekend. The Fire reached the top five for the first time this season after coming back for a 3-2 home win vs. the New England Revolution.
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Baboucarr Jallow; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 35 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 11; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Tyson Wahl … CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Jairo Arrieta, Kevan George, Bernardo Anor, Dominic Oduro, Agustin Viana, Danny O’Rourke, Tony Tchani … CHI: Jalil Anibaba, Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (49 meetings): Crew 12 wins (0 shootout), 70 goals … Fire 24 wins (1 shootout), 77 goals … Ties 13
AT COLUMBUS (23 meetings): Crew 7 wins (0 shootout), 38 goals … Fire 9 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals … Ties 6
4/20: CHI 1, CLB 0 (Larentowicz 83)
6/22: CLB 1, CHI 2 (Higuain 7 – Duka 52; Magee 54)
- The teams are meeting for the third time in league play this season, and the Fire have won the first two. Jeff Larentowicz scored in the 83rd minute to give the Fire a 1-0 win on April 20 at Toyota Park, then Dilly Duka and Mike Magee netted goals two minutes apart in a 2-1 Chicago win June 22 in Columbus.
- The teams also played in a weather-delayed U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match at Toyota Park, the Fire taking a 2-1 victory on June 13.
- The Crew haven’t won at Toyota Park since the 2006 season. In the 11 meetings since in Bridgeview, the Fire have won six, with four draws.
- Coaches record: Brian Bliss vs. CHI: P1 W0 L1 T0 … Frank Klopas vs. CLB: P7 W6 L1 T0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The Crew were staked to an early lead. Dominic Oduro stripped defender Austin Berry and dribbled into the box, but goalkeeper Sean Johnson got a piece of Oduro as he tried to round. Federico Higuaín promptly converted from the penalty spot by drilling the ball under Johnson's outstretched left arm.
- But the Fire took control with two goals in three minutes shortly after the second-half restart. In the 52nd minute, Dilly Duka tied the match by getting past defender Josh Williams at the far post and getting his foot onto a service from the left flank by Joel Lindpere.
- The game-winner then came in the 54th minute when Mike Magee beat Williams to chest home a Lindpere cross from the left corner to extend his goal streak since joining the Fire to six games in all competitions.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Chad Barson (Justin Meram 88), Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Tyson Wahl - Bernardo Anor, Danny O'Rourke, Matias Sanchez (Aaron Schoenfeld 80), Jairo Arrieta - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Dilly Duka, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause (Jeff Larentowicz 26), Joel Lindpere (Patrick Nyarko 70) - Chris Rolfe (Maicon Santos 59), Mike Magee.
The Columbus Crew put an end to their club-record road losing streak, coming back for a 2-1 win against the Montréal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. The Crew are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points from 29 matches.
- The Impact took the lead at the game's quarter mark. A Justin Mapp short corner made its way into the six-yard box, where an onrushing Marco Di Vaio powered between two Crew defenders to head home from close range.
- But the Crew were able to pull even in the 66th minute. Federico Higuain curled a free kick roughly 35 yards away from goal to the far post, where Chad Marshall outjumped a defender and crashed his header past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
- Columbus then scored the stunning game-winner in the 78th minute. Higuain cleverly got past a Montreal defender and flicked a through ball with the outside of his right foot to Oduro. One-on-one against Perkins, Oduro took a subtle first-time touch and watched the ball trickle into the Montreal goal.
- Crew interim head coach Brian Bliss made four changes to the team that fell 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Agustin Viana, Tony Tchani, Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta all came into the team, in place of Eric Gehrig, Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram and Ryan Finley.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-1-1): Matt Lampson - Chad Barson, Tyson Wahl, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana - Wil Trapp - Dominic Oduro, Tony Tchani (Kevan George 84), Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 86) - Federico Higuain - Jairo Arrieta (Ethan Finlay 75).
- The win in Montréal put an end to the Crew’s losing streak on the road after seven games, the longest in the club’s 19-year history. The previous long was six, set on three occasions, last in 2003. The Crew had last gotten a result on the road in their 2-2 draw at New York on May 26.
- “When you're down in the standings, this was ultra-critical, I think, in our push to make a playoff spot,” Crew interim head coach Brian Bliss said. “We've put some pressure on some teams that are slightly above us, so it's uplifting in that regard.”
- Chad Marshall scored his first goal of the season, his first goal since last Sept. 1 – when he also scored vs. Montréal.
- “I hadn't scored prior in the season. I've been unfortunate to have some line clearances and stuff, so it was obviously nice to get us back in the game and tie it up, especially because I had a part in their goal with a miscommunication with Matt [Lampson],” Marshall said. “So it felt good to get that goal and get us back even.”
- Dominic Oduro netted a goal for the first time since July 27, going seven matches without a goal, though he now has the sole team lead with 10.
- Federico Higuaín recorded a pair of assists for the first time this season, his first assists since July 7. He had a pair of two-assist games in his first MLS season, both coming in his first five MLS games.
- “It was one of the goals that was a relief. We were doing the right thing, we were knocking on the door, and it was just a matter of when,” said Oduro. “I would give my goal for the team to get three points. That's exactly what we needed. I wouldn't say I got the monkey off my chest, but it's something like that. Higuain sent me a great ball that I was able to put in the net so I’m happy I scored but I’m more grateful that we got three points on the road.”
- Higuaín returned to the lineup after missing three consecutive match, the first two through suspension then the Sporting KC match with an adductor strain.
- Tony Tchani made his first start in a league game since June 5, coming into the center of midfield and playing 86 minutes.
- “That’s why you have 30 guys on your roster and you rely on guys to fill the holes when your regular guys are out. We’ve asked guys to fill in roles and play different spots and to their credit, the guys have stood up to the test for the most part when we’ve asked them to go in there,” said Bliss.
The Chicago Fire snapped their three-game winless run, coming back for a 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points from 28 matches.
- The Revolution took the lead in the ninth minute when Kelyn Rowe hit a looping shot from 25 yards that found its way over Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the back of the net.
- The Fire were level on the half-hour as Joel Lindpere found Juan Luis Anangonó at the edge of the penalty area, and his low shot beat goalkeper Bobby Shuttlesworth.
- The visitors again took the lead just before the halftime break when Dimitry Imbongo found Saer Sene with a through pass on the left side of the box, and he beat Johnson with a left-footed shot.
- But the Fire again pulled even 10 minutes after the restart when Patrick Nyarko found Mike Magee at the right side of the penalty area on a give-and-go -- helped by a shielding dummy from Anangonó -- and Magee slotted home from close range.
- The game-winner came four minutes from the end. A Chicago corner kick was half-cleared by New England, and Alex collected at the top of the Revs box before stroking a low shot through a crowd of bodies and into the lower corner of the goal.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Joel Lindpere, Arevalo Rios and Juan Luis Anangono came into the side, in place of Dilly Duka, Alex and Chris Rolfe.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko (Alex 83), Arevalo Rios, Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere (Dilly Duka 63) - Mike Magee, Juan Luis Anangono (Quincy Amarikwa 71).
- The Fire put an end to their winless run after three games, their longest such streak since going four matches without a triumph April 27-May 25.
- For the first time this season, the Fire find themselves in the top five in the Eastern Conference and in a playoff position.
- “We had a slow start with some of the injuries. I just think that the team never gave up. We fought hard. The changes we made helped on and off the field,” said Klopas. “The group has the right mentality. You want to be right there in the end and we are right there, so there is a lot to play for. We are very excited to be in the position. The guys have earned it with all the hard work. We are not happy where we are but it is a step to where we want to be.”
- Said Mike Magee: “This is probably our third chance at trying to get a win and move into the top five, it’s nice to get that weight off of our back after all the work we’ve done just to put ourselves into a top five spot. To get over the hump is a big step.”
- Making his second MLS start, his first in the last five matches, since Aug. 17, Juan Luis Anangono scored his first goal since coming to the Fire.
- “I think that the one goal, he took very well, his movement off the ball was great and then he finished, and then he had a couple of opportunities, and I think he's only going to get better,” Klopas said. “Then I think, in any new environment, [it takes time] to adjust to the lifestyle, to get comfortable. Every game, every day, every week in training he's been getting better and better.”
- Magee remained in second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, scoring his 16th goal of the season and his second in the last three matches.
- “[Anangono] was involved in a big way. His goal was huge to tie it up the first time and helped on my goal tied it up the second time,” said Magee. “He put his body in front of a defender who was just going to clear, to shield it just so I have a chance. If he doesn’t do that I’m not scoring a goal. He was great today.”
- After four games in the starting lineup, Alex came off the substitutes’ bench vs. New England, and capped his seven-minute shift with his first goal of the season, almost exactly a year since his last MLS goal (Sept. 15 vs. Montréal).
- “Alex obviously gives us a lot in possession, but he is also very good in tight areas. All of the subs and all the players on the field did fantastic tonight,” said Klopas. Said Jeff Larentowicz: “Alex didn't start tonight, but he came on and he helped the team, and he helped the team in a big way. He deserves all the credit, it was a great goal.”