BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- It’s safe to say the lone goal in Saturday’s 1-0 Fire victory over the Columbus Crew had been a long time coming for Jeff Larentowicz.
But talking about just the general feeling of the goal, the succinct veteran midfielder simply said, “It was great.”
Ever since joining the Fire via trade from the Colorado Rapids in January, Larentowicz had been the subject of some ridicule directed towards him from supporters of the club due to his previous time spent with longtime rivals New England Revolution.
QUOTES: Reaction from 1-0 win over Columbus
When Fire captain Logan Pause sat out the beginning of the season with a quad injury, Frank Klopas’ choice of Larentowicz as substitute captain further served as a source of consternation who couldn’t fathom a former Revs player leading the Men in Red.
WATCH: Jeff Larentowicz bags his first Fire goal
Perhaps some of the disliking began to change Saturday night as the confident MLS veteran timed his run perfectly to knock home a flick on header from Austin Berry in the 83rd minute.
After the Fire missed a number of second half chances, the drama of the moment was clear as Larentowicz defiantly cupped his ears as he celebrated at Toyota Park’s Harlem End, right in front of Section 8 Chicago.
Asked about what it meant to tally in front of the club’s most fervent supporters, Larentowicz went on to say, “I’m sure there are a lot of people that I still have to win over and hopefully [that goal] is a good addition to the games I’ve played so far."
PHOTOS: Fire 1, Crew 0
Beyond the goal, Larentowicz and Pause combined well with the backline in dealing with the Crew’s dangerous attack, specifically shutting down their main touch points in Federico Higuain and former Fire striker Dominic Oduro.
“All week we were focusing on the things we like to do and playing into Higuain was one of them. I felt that we did well to make sure they weren’t able to get into him and start their attack. I also thought we were able to limit Oduro’s pace in behind. The defenders had a great night.
“I think it’s something to build on for sure.”