BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire won their seventh game in eight with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew, proving to opponents once again that no one-goal lead is safe.
Behind two goals from Chris Rolfe, Chicago earned their fourth come-from-behind victory in eight games. The loss was the Crew’s third in four games, dropping them out of playoff position.
The Fire fell behind in the 15th minute, when goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s pass went directly to the feet of Columbus forward Jairo Arrieta, who dribbled past a diving Johnson and beat sliding defender Arne Friedrich for his sixth goal of the year.
It didn’t take long for that Columbus lead to turn into a deficit.
In the 23rd minute, Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald found Chris Rolfe with a through-pass, and Rolfe buried a shot past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Then three minutes later, Rolfe settled a pass from Patrick Nyarko just outside the penalty area and calmly placed a curling shot out of Gruenebaum’s reach.
The Crew came close to equalizers several times in the second half, first on a sliding attempt by Milovan Mirosevic in the 56th minute, and then in the 79th minute on a Josh Williams shot from 10 yards out, which Johnson saved.
The Crew held 62 percent of possession, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Fire midfielder Alvaro Fernandez nearly padded the Fire lead in the 62nd minute, but his header directed at an open goal finished over the bar.
The loss keeps the Crew (13-11-6) one-point behind the Houston Dynamo for the fifth and final playoff spot in the East. They’ll host a struggling Philadelphia Union side next week.
The Fire (16-8-5) grabbed a stranglehold of second-place in the Eastern Conference, and will try to take the top spot on Friday when they head to Livestrong Sporting Park to play leaders Sporting Kansas City, who have two more points and have played one more game.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Rolfe (CHI)||Chicago's veteran striker played with an edge, netting a brace within three minutes in the first half and pacing the offense.|
|2||Sean Johnson (CHI)||Johnson had one miscue giving the Crew a 1-0 lead, but made at least three top-notch saves to preserve the Fire victory|
|3||Jairo Arrieta (CLB)||The Costa Rican striker talled the Crew's lone goal and played with plenty of pace.|