Columbus Crew SC 3, Chicago Fire 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
The Chicago Fire opened the scoring with a Michael de Leeuw header in the 13th minute of their Rust Belt showdown with Columbus Crew SC, but the hosts made sure to finish it, winning 3-1 on Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium by putting up three unanswered goals — including a historic one.
Kekuta Manneh answered the Fire's opening goal with one of his own in the 18th minute, coming off an apparent long-range Artur shot that deflected fortuitously to his feet. Justin Meram scored the game-winner in the 73rd minute — the 1000th goal in Crew history — and Ola Kamara, after being taken down by Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson at the edge of the Fire's box, took the penalty kick he earned for an 88th-minute insurance goal.
- 13' – CHI – Michael de Leeuw Watch
- 18' – CLB – Kekuta Manneh Watch
- 73' – CLB – Justin Meram Watch
- 88' – CLB – Ola Kamara (PK) Watch
- FROM MANNEH, ONE: Kekuta Manneh scored just his third goal of the season, and his first since scoring the only goal against the team's win over Minnesota United FC on July 4, but showed some of the promise that he showed in 2016 with the Whitecaps before his season was cut short by injury. He very nearly added a second goal midway through the 1st half with an audacious test-the-keeper shot from near midfield, just missing the target.
- DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: Justin Meram fired himself into the Crew SC's history books by scoring squad goal number 1000 in the 73rd minute, but made a different mark on the match 15 minutes earlier. He went down in the Fire's box after making contact with Dax McCarty on a one-on-one play in front of goal. But rather than earning his team a trip to the penalty spot, he was given a yellow card for simulation.
- LOSING THEIR GRIP ON THE SHIELD?: Chicago started the day three points behind Toronto FC with one less match played in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto's 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers, combined with the Fire's loss, puts TFC in control of their own destiny (for the time being) for both the conference title and the Supporters' Shield; their 47 points bests the Fire's 41, with both New York teams and the two Western Conference leaders lurking just beneath them in the standings. Clearly, the continuation of the Fire's unlucky streak of seven matches without a win at MAPFRE came at an especially inopportune time.
They Said It
"We withstood a lot of pressure, we ran a lot, but the guys are fit, and I think toward the end of the game, they wore down. They got tired, and then we were able to have a great ending to the game."
—Columbus Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter