Chicago Fire Burn Columbus Crew 2-1 in Comeback VictorySeptember 22, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire
The Fire would come close in the third minute when Alex's corner from the left was punched high by Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum. Fire midfielder Alvaro Fernandez headed it back in from the top of the penalty area before Arne Friedrich laid the ball back off for Alex. The Brazilian attacker dribbled towards the box and whipped in a swerving ball that skimmed off the top of the cross bar and out for a goal kick.
Columbus would threaten seven minutes later when Milovan Mirosevic played a quick combination through midfield for Eddie Gaven. The veteran Crew midfielder rewarded Mirosevic's run before the Chilean international blasted a first time effort that Johnson turned away with a diving stop in the 10th minute.
The Crew would eventually draw first blood by taking advantage of a mistake in the back. Fire center back Austin Berry played a seemingly harmless ball back to Johnson and the Fire 'keeper looked to return the pass back but miss-hit his effort into the path of lurking Crew striker Jairo Arrieta. The Costa Rican international dribbled around Johnson before placing his effort beyond a desperate sliding attempt from Friedrich to give the Crew a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
The Fire only took eight minutes to equalize when Gonzalo Segares played a long ball up the left for forward Sherjill MacDonald. The Dutch striker turned his marker before playing a perfect ball into space for Chris Rolfe who tucked his left-footed effort past Gruenebaum and inside the left post to take the score to 1-1 in the 23rd minute.
Rolfe would secure his second brace of the season just three minutes later. Receiving a pass from Logan Pause through the midfield, Rolfe laid off for Patrick Nyarko who powered up the right. The Ghanaian international strolled through three defenders and cut inside to the center of the box before squaring the ball for Rolfe. The veteran striker took one touch with his left foot before driving a right footed effort past a frozen Gruenebaum and into the top right corner to give the Fire a 2-1 lead in the 26th minute. The wonderfully taken goal was Rolfe's eighth of the 2012 campaign.
The Crew looked to equalize in the 44th minute when Federico Higuain's corner from the right picked out the head of Chad Marshall at the near post but the Columbus captain's nodded effort was easily saved by Johnson, taking the Fire into the half with a 2-1 advantage.
Coming out of the break, the Fire looked for an elusive third goal and nearly saw Chris Rolfe tally his second career hat trick. Alex's free kick on the left picked out Rolfe at the top of the area before the two-goal scorer hit a first-time volley towards the back post that went just wide in the 51st minute.
Columbus would come close twice inside two minutes. First when Gaven found room on the left and held up at the top of the area before lofting an attempt that Johnson punched away. Renteria picked up the loose ball and dribbled towards the end line before seeing his cross turned out for a corner by Austin Berry in the 56th minute.
On the ensuing corner, Higuain's drive from the right found Marshall who glanced a header towards the back post and into the run of Eddie Gaven but the Crew winger popped his streaking effort well over the bar in the 56th minute.
The third goal would continue to escape the Fire in the 62nd minute when a great combination between Rolfe and MacDonald saw the Dutch forward into the box on the left. MacDonald quickly chipped over the onrushing Grunebaum for an open Alvaro Fernandez but the Uruguayan winger sent his first-time header just over the goal.
With their backs against the wall, the Crew would pour on the pressure through the end of the match. In the 76th minute, Miranda found space on the right and crossed looking for Arrieta but the ball was too heavy and fell for Higuain who made a deep run before heading the ball over Johnson's goal.
Higuain would produce the danger again in the 79th minute when his free kick from the left was headed up by Crew center back Julius James. The ball would fall on the right for Josh Williams who smashed a first-time effort at goal, forcing Johnson to make a spectacular reaction stop.
Columbus would have one more furious effort seven minutes later. James penetrated up the right before seeing his cross deflected by Berry into the path of Marshall. The veteran center back's quick shot deflected through traffic before Berry cleared. Higuain would pick up the loose ball and send a quick cross back into the area for Marshall, who nodded back before Friedrich cleared out of the box. Tchani would follow up with one more attempt but second half substitute Daniel Paladini would come through with a block to close out a 2-1 Fire victory.
The Fire return to action with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line when they visit Eastern Conference table toppers Sporting KC at LiveStrong Sporting Park on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. CT live on NBC Sports Network and 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes.
Major League Soccer Stories from September 22, 2012
- MLS Cup Playoff Race Update: Real Salt Lake and La Galaxy Clinch Berths - MLS
- Galaxy clinch MLS Cup Playoff spot - Los Angeles Galaxy
- Real Salt Lake Tops Timbers 2-1 - Portland Timbers
- Chicago Fire Burn Columbus Crew 2-1 in Comeback Victory - Chicago Fire
- RSL Chops Down Portland Timbers FC, 2-1, Before Sellout Crowd - Real Salt Lake
- Red Bulls Earn 1-1 Road Tie against New England Revolution - New York Red Bulls
- Sporting KC Unbeaten Streak Reaches Eight with 0-0 Draw at Montreal - Sporting Kansas City
- Dynamo Face Philadelphia on Sunday in Key, Late-Season Road Match - Houston Dynamo
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