Columbus Preview

Crew set to defend home turf against hot Fire


The Basics

Chicago Fire (4-3-5; 17 points, 4th in East) vs. Columbus Crew (7-2-3, 24 points, tied for 1st in East), at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

The Fire lead the series 17-10-13, including 8-5-6 in Columbus.

TV Info

8 pm ET; FSC, Match Day Live

What's at stake?

The Fire hope to continue their climb up the table by extending an five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) in MLS play. Columbus ended a three-game winless streak against D.C. United last week and are set on defending their turf with four of their next five matches at home.

Both teams are coming off U.S. Open Cup matches on Tuesday. The Crew beat Rochester 2-1, wile the Fire lost on a penalty kick shootout to Charleston.

Last meeting

Sept. 20, 2009 -- Peter Lowry scored in the 6th and 35th minute to give the Fire a 2-0 lead at home. However, Columbus’ Guillermo Barros Schelotto countered in the 55th and 79th to steal a point.

Remember when…

…Chicago’s Cuauhtémoc Blanco didn’t score but still affected the outcome of the 2-2 tie on April 25, 2009?

The Crew were cruising on first-half goals from Chad Marshall and Alejandro Moreno before Blanco was fouled by Gino Padula early in the second half. Blanco went to the ground as if an aircraft carrier had rolled over his leg and Padula was issued a red card. Brian McBride (86’) and Gonzalo Segares (88’) scored late against the short-handed Crew.

Heroes & Villains:

Brian McBride, Fire forward vs. Brian McBride, Crew legend -- Fans in Crew Stadium still don’t know how to react to their former hero wearing the colors of the hated rival. McBride was soundly booed his first trip back, but that was for the 2008 Eastern Conference Final and Crew backers would have jeered Santa Claus for wearing red that night. The reception for McBride has been more civil since.

Marco Pappa vs. Chad Marshall -- Pappa is on, well, you know, fire. He’s scored six goals, meaning the Crew center back Marshall will have his hands full keeping an eye on the forward as well as challenging McBride (four goals) in the air.

Stats that make you go “Hm…”:

The past five matches since July 5, 2008, have ended in draws. Four of them have been 2-2, with the exception being 0-0 at Toyota Park on July 11, 2009.

Columbus’ last regular-season win in the series was a 4-1 result at Chicago on Oct. 7, 2006. Since then, the Crew are 0-2-6 during the stretch.

It will be exactly six years ago Saturday since the Crew last beat Chicago at home in the regular season. Columbus are 0-4-4 since a 2-0 victory in 2004. Of course, the Crew beat the Fire at home in the conference final in 2008 to advance to the MLS Cup, so almost all is forgiven.

He said it:

“I watched the movie, so that’s as much exposure as I got to it in England.” -- Crew defender and Liverpool native Andy Iro on his knowledge of our Independence Day holiday prior to his coming to the United States