MLS Match Preview: Crew vs. Fire
COLUMBUS CREW vs CHICAGO FIRE COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio June 22, 2013 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #146) 8 p.m. ET (FS-OH; My50 Chi.)
The Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew meet for the second time in a couple of weeks - this time in league play - when the long-time Eastern Conference foes face off at Crew Stadium. The Crew put an end to a three-game losing streak last time out, with a 2-0 home win against the Montréal Impact. The Fire are unbeaten in four after their 2-1 home midweek win against the Colorado Rapids. The teams met last week in Bridgeview in a U.S. Open Cup match, the Fire advancing to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 26.0; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 1; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none SUSPENDED: none WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Matias Sanchez SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Federico Higuain ... CHI: Daniel Paladini INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Wil Trapp (USA U-20) ... CHI: Victor Pineda (USA U-20)
HEAD-TO-HEAD ALL-TIME (48 meetings): Crew 12 wins (0 shootout), 69 goals ... Fire 23 wins (1 shootout), 75 goals ... Ties 13 AT COLUMBUS (22 meetings): Crew 7 wins (0 shootout), 37 goals ... Fire 9 wins (1 shootout), 32 goals ... Ties 6 FUTURE MATCH: 9/21: Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET
The teams are meeting for the second time in league play this season. Jeff Larentowicz scored in the 83rd minute to give the Fire a 1-0 win on April 20 at Toyota Park. The teams also played last Thursday at Toyota Park, the Fire taking a 2-1 victory in a weather-delayed U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match. Crew defender Glaúber suffered a season-ending knee injury in the match. The Crew haven't won at Toyota Park since the 2006 season. In the 11 meetings since in Bridgeview, the Fire have won six, with four draws.
Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. CHI: P14 W3 L7 T4 ... Frank Klopas vs. CLB: P6 W5 L1 T0 LAST MEETING (MLS) 4/20: CHI 1, CLB 0 (Larentowicz 83)
A throw-in gave the Fire their breakthrough. Jalil Anibaba sent it long into the penalty area, and Austin Berry's flicked header found Jeff Larentowicz charging on from five yards out and he headed it into the back of the net. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was credited with six saves for the match, all coming in the second half before the match-winner. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was not called upon to make a single save. CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Wells Thompson, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz, Logan Pause - Patrick Nyarko (Daniel Paladini 87), Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere (Dilly Duka 82) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 78). COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl - Eddie Gaven, Danny O'Rourke (Kevan George 82), Agustin Viana, Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta 65) - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 76).
U.S. OPEN CUP
The Fire reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup following a 2-1 win against the Crew in a match delayed a day by heavy weather. Konrad Warzycha gave the Crew a 22nd-minute lead, but Mike Magee netted a 29th-minute equalizer, then Patrick Nyarko hit for the game-winner in the 77th minute. Here's the Fire team: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko, Alex (Jeff Larentowicz 81'), Logan Pause (Daniel Paladini 59'), Dilly Duka (Maicon Santos 46'); Chris Rolfe, Mike Magee Here's the Crew team: Andy Gruenebaum; Kevan George, Glauber (Dominic Oduro 9'), Eric Gehrig, Tyson Wahl; Konrad Warzycha, Bernardo Anor, Tony Tchani (Aaron Schoenfeld 82'), Ben Speas (Federico Higuain 70'); Justin Meram, Ethan Finlay
The Columbus Crew put an end to a three-game losing slide, defeating the Eastern Conference-leading Montréal Impact 2-0 on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 15 matches.
The Crew took the lead in the sixth minute through some good fortune. After a tackle on Dominic Oduro where the referee played the advantage, the ball popped out to Matias Sanchez, who fired a low strike which deflected off Montreal defender Jeb Brovsky and into the back of the net.
The Crew made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute when Dominic Oduro stole the ball from Montreal midfielder Collen Warner 40 yards from goal and raced in on goal before slotting the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made four changes to the team that dropped a 3-0 decision to Philadelphia Union 5 at PPL Park. Josh Williams and Chad Marshall came back into the back four for Eric Gehrig and Glauber, and Bernardo Anor and Danny O'Rourke started in the midfield in place of Tony Tchani and Justin Meram.
COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Chad Barson, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Tyson Wahl - Bernardo Anor, Danny O'Rourke, Matias Sanchez (Kevan George 75), Ben Speas (Ethan Finlay 88) - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro (Konrad Warzycha 89)
The Crew won for the first time since May 18, a 1-0 win at Toronto FC, and also won at Crew Stadium for the first time since a 3-0 defeat of D.C. United on April 27, ending a three-game home winless run.
"A lot of things happen during the seven days. I don't like to change too much to be honest with you. I like to reward the players who actually did very well," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "So mostly these players will be on the field next Saturday against Chicago. From the back line, through the midfield, and our two forwards they did very well. Most of these players will be on the field next Saturday against Chicago."
Dominic Oduro continued his rich vein of form, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Oduro has scored six goals and added an assist in the last 11 games; he's been involved in seven of the Crew's last 11 goals.
"We talked with Federico [Higuaín] before the game and we want him to be more central, that's where he's more dangerous. I think teams want him to drift left or drift right and not be able to be dangerous," said Warzycha. " ... But staying inside he had a lot of touches, especially between Bernardo, him, [Matias] Sanchez, and [Danny] O'Rourke. I think [Dominic] Oduro and him was a very good combination, at times we looked a little like Barcelona."
With Glaúber out for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in the Open Cup loss at Chicago, the Crew were happy to see defenders Chad Marshall and Josh Williams back. Marshall was in the lineup for the first time since May 11 (four matches), and Williams was playing for the first time in two games.
"Obviously it's a big blow with Glauber's ACL, we lost a second player and he is very, very important to us - as well as Eddie Gaven," said Warzycha. "But having Chad and Josh [Williams] gives us some hope and I think stability. The players believe that we are still a good team and I think we showed that."
Williams was inserted into central defense alongside Williams, with Chad Barson making a second consecutive start at right back.
"Having [Chad] Barson available for this game, he's a young player and did very well. You play a game like this and the defense was so good so obviously I am going to keep him on the inside. That's a position he likes and hopefully he is going to bond with Chad [Marshall] and they are going to be good center backs," said Warzycha. "If we keep a clean sheet every game there's no reason to put him on the right side or the left side."
Matias Sánchez scored his first MLS goal, making his sixth consecutive start in a central midfield role.
"We talked about it yesterday. We did some patterns and then asked one of the midfielders to join the attack and be closer to the forwards. [Matias] Sanchez was first and did very well. He took the shot and luck was on our side," said Warzycha. Said Williams: "I told him, In times like this, when injuries happen and we've lost twoleaders that the younger guys look up to, you have to create your own luck.'"
Bernardo Anor made his first start of the season, coming into a wide midfield role. He had seen his first league action in the loss at Philadelphia on June 5.
"We knew what they are capable of doing. That's why we went with Ben Speas and Bernardo [Anor]; we went with Dominic [Oduro] higher and Pipa [Higuain] instead of [Aaron] Schoenfeld and Dominic on the right," said Warzycha. "We thought they were going to respect Dominic's speed and drop back a little bit and we were right."
READ: Beset by injuries, Columbus Crew set to welcome Agustin Viana back to lineup
The Chicago Fire extended their undefeated run to four games with another comeback, this time for a 2-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday evening at Toyota Park The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 14 matches.
The Rapids took the lead in the 16th minute. Fire center back Austin Berry took a bad touch in midfield and speedy rookie Deshorn Brown pounced, stealing the ball and racing toward goal before beating goalkeeper Sean Johnson with an assured low finish.
But the home side pulled level in the 25th minute. After Colorado defender Marvell Wynne was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, Mike Magee evened the score when he confidently chipped the resulting penalty kick into the back of the net.
Berry almost atoned for his mistake in the 43rd minute, but his back- post header was cleared off the line by Brian Mullan. Yet two minutes into the second half, Berry did give the Fire the lead and ultimately the win, when Jeff Larentowicz found him with a well- placed cross to the back post and he put home an angled header.
Fire head coach Frank Klopas made no changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 with the Portland Timbers at Toyota Park.
CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Daniel Paladini 71), Dilly Duka - Chris Rolfe (Joel Lindpere 86), Mike Magee (Sherjill MacDonald 75).
READ: Two-for-two: Fire's Magee explains Panenka PK vs. Colorado GK Irwin
The Fire have two wins and two draws since losing three consecutive games in a row, all by 1-0 scorelines, from April 27-May 18.
"I think in the first half we handled ourselves pretty well. It wasn't the perfect game, but I think we were on top. This was one of our better games all year putting the first and second halves together," said Patrick Nyarko. "Last game we played better in the second half, but not so much in the first half. This game we didn't let them play to their strengths. We dominated them, not entirely, just enough to win."
Mike Magee scored for a third consecutive league game, and hit the back of the net for the fifth straight game in all competitions, scoring in every match since joining the club from the LA Galaxy.
"The intention is to help the team win. Tonight wasn't even my best game. I thought Jeff Larentowicz was fantastic, I thought Patrick Nyarko was fantastic and my only job tonight was to tap in a penalty kick so not much credit should go to me," said Magee.
Magee was forced to come off after 75 minutes with a possible injury. Sherjill MacDonald made his fourth substitute appearance in six games, after starting the first eight league games of the season.
"I think he's a little bit sore - we'll see better (this week). I think he's got ice on it, hopefully it's not that bad but three games in seven days, we have to see how guys feel tomorrow and then make some decisions," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "We have players on the team that we can count on and that's going to be the case throughout the season."
Austin Berry scored his first goal of 2013, having recorded his first two MLS assists earlier in the season. In his rookie season last year, Berry scored three goals, two from headers.
"I think it was a whole team effort. I think Austin is always a guy that is dangerous in the box and we knew that he's very good in the air. He's a competitor. The kid leaves everything on the field. He's played some great matches," said Klopas. "I think that every game he goes in and competes and leaves everything for the team on the field and that's all you can ask for."
Of his three goals in his rookie season, two also followed situations where a personal misplay led to an opposition goal, before he netted later, including a conceded penalty.
"It's happened three times now since last year where I screw up and then score a goal, so I've got to stop doing that," Berry said. "Or, if score a goal and we keep winning." Said Gonzalo Segares: "It's always tough when you make a mistake and the team gets punished. He never put his head down and he put in the game-winning goal. ... It definitely gives him some confidence, especially after that play."
Dilly Duka reprised his midfield role for a second consecutive match, his fifth start out of the last six league games.
"We knew Dilly [Duka] and his ability. He's only going to get better. He had another fantastic game tonight. He made the PK, he was very dangerous, and he's a young player with a lot of ability. He just keeps getting better and stronger with every match," said Klopas.
Black & Gold by the numbers: June 21
Matias Sanchez scored his first career goal in MLS on Saturday against Montreal -- his 10th career appearance since joining the Crew ahead of the 2013 campaign. Sanchez became the seventh Black & Gold member to record a tally this season, joining Domi- nic Oduro (7), Federico Higuain (4), Josh Williams (3), Jairo Arrieta (1), Ben Speas (1) and Glauber (1).
198 & 40
Dominic Oduro scored his 40th goal of his career in his 198th career game played last Saturday in the Crew's 2-0 win over Montreal. With seven goals this season thus far for Oduro, the Ghanaian now has two career seasons of 7+ goals since 2006 (12 G in 11 with CHI). If he remains healthy, he could record his 200th appearance of his career at KC on June 29.
The Crew is unbeaten (4-0-3) this season when Dominic Oduro scores this year. Other top-five MLS goal-scorers in 2013 have contributed to their team's success: Philadelphia is 5-1-3 when Jack McInerney (10 goals) scores, Montreal is 6-1-1 when Marco Di Vaio scores (10 goals), Los Angeles was 3-0-1 and now Chicago is 2-0-1 when Mike Magee scores (nine goals) and KC is 4-2-0 when Claudio Bieler scores (seven goals).
Fans can support Columbus Police and Columbus Fire in a pre-match charity soccer match on the Crew Stadium field presented by Get Behind The Badge. For every $25 ticket sold, $6 will be donated to Get Behind The Badge, a charity that supports families who have lost love ones in the line of duty. For information on how to support Colum- bus Police and Fire contact Sam Beall at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-447-4189.
Saturday's attendance of 18,320 at Crew Stadium on June 15 was a season-high when the Crew took-down the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact. As of June 20, more than 17,000 tickets to this Saturday's match have been distributed as the club's "Red, White & Crew" night presented by Scioto Downs Racino looks to top the at- tendance marks from last week as the Black & Gold's rival, the Chicago Fire, come to Columbus. Tickets are available at TheCrew.com/June22.
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