Playing their second game with new addition Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Chicago Fire picked up their first win of the Schweinsteiger era, beating visiting Columbus Crew SC 1-0 Saturday at Toyota Park in the middle contest of their three-game homestand.
Crew SC were something of a diminished lineup, without Federico Higuain (ankle injury), Harrison Afful and Kekutah Manneh. The Fire had the better of the first half, and took the lead when Nemanja Nikolic ran onto a pretty pass by Dax McCarty and finished past helpless Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 22nd minute for the game's only goal.
- 22' – CHI – Nemanja Nikolic Watch
- DAX HOW YOU DO IT: Starting his 250th MLS game, and wearing the captain's armband, Dax McCarty delivered at both ends of the field. First, he set up the game's only goal with a precise long pass that hit Nemanja Nikolic in stride for the first goal, then had another long pass to Michael deLeeuw late in the first half to set up another scoring chance. At the back end, he deftly tackled the ball off Justin Meram inside the box in the 31st minute without giving away a penalty. Not a bad day's work.
- THE SECOND GAME WAS TOUGHER: After scoring his first MLS goal in his debut a week ago, Bastian Schweinsteiger found the sledding a little tougher on Saturday. His brilliant free kick from just outside the box appeared to be swerving right into the upper right corner, but it was parried away by a diving Columbus keeper Zack Steffen in the 76th minute. Then, in the 85th, Schweinsteiger appeared to be pushed down to the ground in the box by Columbus' Niko Hansen, but despite Schweinsteiger's protests, no penalty call was forthcoming.
- NOT TODAY, BUT KEEP TRYING: Fire rookie Daniel Johnson, also playing in his second MLS game, looked for all the world as if he'd opened his professional account in the 81st minute after coming on as a sub in the 73rd. But Columbus keeper Zack Steffen got a hand on Johnson's shot and slowed it up, and Nicolai Naess was able to hustle back and hook the ball away before it crossed the goal line.