Short-handed Fire hold off Crew

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By JEFFREY KRAUSE

BRIDGEVIEW, IL- Chicago fought a surging Columbus Crew team and a man disadvantage for 60 minutes to prevail in a 2-1 win over the Crew Saturday night at Toyota Park. The Fire offense was sparked off first-half goals by Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro. Columbus pressed hard against Chicago, mainly in the 2nd half, but the Fire stood their ground to gain three points and stay ahead of Columbus in the Eastern Conference with a hard fought win.

"It was just a great win overall for the organization. I'm proud of the guys for their will and the way they competed over ninety minutes, not to give up," Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. "Playing short-handed, obviously we gave up that goal, we wanted to go into halftime with a clean sheet, but then the second half our will not to give up was fantastic. I'm proud of the guys and I think for me that's the difference between successful teams and not; just the will that they have." 

Columbus threw everything they had at Chicago in the 2nd half, smelling blood in the water after Tony Tchani drew a goal back in the 35' to cut Chicago's lead to a goal. The Crew had a man advantage from the 30th minute when Gonzalo Segares earned a straight red for a poor challenge. Columbus attempted to spread the pitch after the red to expose gaps in Chicago's defense, but the Fire were equal to the task defensively, and Sean Johnson had one of his strongest outings of the season, registering eight saves on the night.

Dominic Oduro also broke a five game goal-less streak when Sebastian Grazzini found Oduro through two defenders wtih a perfectly placed pass in the 26th minute. Oduro, in what has become his M.O., slotted his low blast to the far post past GK Andy Gruenebaum. The goal, which gave Chicago the 2-0 lead, helped secure Chicago's hold on 4th place spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago will face Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Park next weekend, while Columbus look ahead to a home match against Real Salt Lake.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Fire's ability to battle despite being down to ten men? 

Share your thoughts below.

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15 Responses to Short-handed Fire hold off Crew

  1. claylasoul says:

    Chicago didn’t only battle, they looked like they were going to score another goal or two. Ref missed obvious penalty on Oduro, Anibaba botched a free header, Pappa sprayed a free go at the goal… Sean Johnson was fantastic too, that header he palmed away was just outstanding.

  2. Rich says:

    What a shame that poor officiating takes away from a great beginning and totally changes a game. The red card should have been no more than a yellow and Oduro was taken down from behind in the box when he was 1v1 with the GK. That should have been a PK and red card. Klopas’ timing and use of subs was fantastic and the guys defended like it was a World Cup match. I left Toyota Park proud of the team and disgusted with the refs for the 2nd week in a row.

  3. Rich says:

    Rumors are that Shevechenko may be coming to the Fire, possibly taking Grazzini’s roster spot. While I would love to see a proven striker in Fire red, we have not had a really creative center mid like Grazzini in quite some time. It would be nice to add Andriy and still keep Sebastian. What good is a striker if you can’t get him the ball?

  4. Mike says:

    Christmas Rolfe moving into Grazzini’s spot with Oduro up top running off Shev would be nasty.

  5. Roger says:

    Red card was fair, cleats up to the shin, could have easily broken his leg. That’s why there was no arguing from Segares.

  6. fff says:

    How would Rolfe taking over for Grazzini be “nasty”? One of them is a proven creative midfielder and the other is Rolfe?

  7. Victor says:

    Yeah, Rolfe doesn’t play the CAM spot….its bad tradeoff, I’m pissed Grazzini is great for us and we are letting him go. I won’t be as mad if we bring in a big DP name who can still play but still, and they must think really highly of that CAM Alex from Brazil who we have signed to.

  8. SilverRey says:

    That tackle was pretty much the definition of MLS’ new mandate for red cards.

  9. Mike r says:

    Yea, Alex that benchwarmer from second division Sweden is going to take over for Grazzini and light MLS on fire like Purari, Martinez, Chaves, Puppo, and Robayo did.

  10. Rich says:

    The chemistry with Grazzini is great. I haven’t see Alex play but I don’t know why you would change something that’s working well. Maybe Alex is a better deal financially. I like Rolfe but he is not the creative attacking mid we need and he has a history of getting hurt. This should be an interesting week.

  11. Rich says:

    Puppo and Robayo have gotten very little playing time. I’ve been impressed with Robayo and would like to see him starting in place of Pause. Klopas must feel differently and I respect his opinion. Sometimes it takes an injury for a new player to break into the starting 11. Robayo’s trying to fit into a crowded midfield and Pardo’s doing a good job.

  12. nate says:

    I agree about the penalty, but disagree about the red – it was a really awful and dangerous foul by Segares. Funny thing was, I was in the upper deck and could tell right when he left his feet that it was a bad idea to go in like that, and wasn’t too surprised that he got red.

  13. Allen23 says:

    Robayo is not getting much playing time, ’cause he is not that good. When he does come in the games, he disappears. I have seen nothing that warrants him ever getting a start (barring injuries).

  14. Allen23 says:

    I usually have issues with MLS officials, but this game was super bad. I will agree with the red on Segares. Once I saw it on replay, it was deserving of an ejection. But Oduro was pulled down 2 times in the box and no penalty was given. Also there was a very obvious hand ball that was not given (I don’t remember if it was in the box or not). They blew a couple of throw ins, and where did the 4 minutes of stoppage time come from.

    If you add in the “Non Goal” that Oduro scored last week, the Fire have some karma coming their way.

  15. shelsilverstein says:

    psst… alex is coming from switzerland, not sweden