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?
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