The Chicago Fire (6-5-3, 21 pts.) drew 2-2 with the Columbus Crew (8-4-3 27 pts.) tonight in front of 17,172 fans at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Midfielder Chris Rolfe scored the first goal of the game in the eighth minute and forward Calen Carr notched the second goal in the 25th minute. The Crew came back to score two goals courtesy of Emmanuel Ekpo in the 36th minute and Steven Lenhart in the 87th. The Fire are winless in their last five games.
CHI - Chris Rolfe 3 (UA) 8'
CHI - Calen Carr 2 (Gonzalo Segares 1, Chris Rolfe 3) 25'
CLB - Emmanuel Ekpo 2 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 7) 36'
CLB - Steven Lenhart 2 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 8) 87'
CLB - Danny O'Rourke (caution, professional foul) 47'
CHI -Gonzalo Segares (caution, professional foul) 53'
CLB - Frankie Hejduk (caution, diving, exaggeration) 71'
CLB - Stefani Miglioranzi (caution, professional foul) 85'
CHI - Bakary Soumare (caution, professional foul) 89'
CHI - Brandon Prideaux (caution, pushing, holding) 93+'
Fire Lineup (4-5-1): GK-Jon Busch, D-Brandon Prideaux, D-Bakary Soumare, D-Wilman Conde, D-Gonzalo Segares, M-John Thorrington, M-Diego Gutierrez, M-Chris Rolfe (Stephen King 78), M-Cuauhtémoc Blanco (captain), M-Justin Mapp (Lider Marmol 86), F-Calen Carr (Chad Barrett 65).
Crew Lineup (4-4-2): GK-Will Hesmer, D-Danny O'Rourke, D-Chad Marshall, D-Andy Iro (Steven Lenhart 77), D-Frankie Hejduk (captain), M-Robbie Rogers, M-Brian Carroll, M-Brad Evans (Stefani Miglioranzi 79), M-Emmanuel Ekpo (Jason Garey 91+), F-Guillermo Barros Schelotto, F-Alejandro Moreno.
With the tie, the Fire are now 6-5-3 (21 pts.) and sit tied with Toronto FC in fourth place in the Eastern Conference Standings.
Rolfe opened scoring for the Fire in the 8th minute following up on a shot by Justin Mapp that hit the post. The goal is his third this season - his last goal came on 5/25 @ New York Red Bulls.
Rolfe's goal broke a 341-minute scoreless streak. Last goal was scored on 6/07/08 in the 27th minute against D.C. United at TOYOTA PARK.
Carr doubled the lead in the 25th minute, finishing on a cross by Segares from the left corner. The assist is Segares' first of the season.
The Crew came back to earn the draw with goals from midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo at the end of the first half (36'), and defender Steven Lenhart at the end of the second (87')
With just 13 goals allowed across 14 games played, goalkeeper Jon Busch remains at the top of league standings with a GAA of 0.92. Busch is also in first place with 71 saves and tied with 5 other players in second place for shutouts with 5 shutouts.
The Fire is atop the league in goal differential with +9 (22 Goals, 13 Goals Against) in 2008
Defender Bakary Soumare picked up his fifth yellow card and will be forced to serve a one game suspension next Saturday against Toronto FC.
Three Fire players (Gonzalo Segares, Diego Gutierrez, and John Thorrington) are in card trouble sitting one card away from a one game suspension and fine.
The Fire are 17-10-9 in the all-time regular season series with the Crew, 4-2-2 on the road. The Fire have a slight advantage in goals scored in the all-time regular season series with 56 while the Crew trail by one at 55 goals scored against the Fire.
The Fire are 5-1-1 in 2008 when leading at the half.
The league leader in fouls suffered, Blanco suffered just one foul tonight. Blanco still leads the league in fouls suffered with 40.
The attendance for tonight's match at Crew Stadium was 17,172.
Busch and Blanco have played every minute (1260 minutes) for the Fire this season.
Chicago Fire head coach Denis Hamlett on the win: "I think we got off to a good start tonight, we capitalized on a couple opportunities and I felt we were getting the ball in good positions to give our selves those opportunities. The first goal they scored I think gave them some life back. It is disappointing to come away with just one point from the game, but we have to look at the positives: we got two goals and a point on the road."
Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Rolfe on scoring in the match: "It always feels good to get a goal especially in front of family and friend at home it was a big goal for us because we got on the board early and it pick guys spirits up. It is disappointing to give up a late goal but getting a point on the road is always a good thing. So hopefully we can build on this performance on the road and go from here.
The Fire will face D.C. United in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this Tuesday, July 8, at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, MD. Kick off is at 6:30 p.m. CT.
The Chicago Fire will return to MLS action on Saturday, July 12, as the hosts Toronto FC at TOYOTA PARK (7:30 p.m. CT, FSC).
For official box scores and game stats, please visit www.chicago-fire.com.