BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- On the heels of a 1-4-1 start, Chicago head coach Frank Klopas turned to a consistent veteran against Columbus Saturday.
Patrick Nyarko rewarded Frank Klopas’ faith, with his most superb performance of the young season.
Daniel Paladini had the hot hand and was given the start over Nyarko in his first healthy game back from a hamstring injury last week in Houston, but Saturday’s opponent presented a different obstacle.
WATCH: Klopas, Larentowicz, Nyarko, Berry reaction
“I wanted to get Patrick in there because of his pace and his ability to stretch the field with us,” Klopas said. “Danny has played well. He comes inside more. But I wanted that match up with Patrick on one side.”
Nyarko proved to be the catalyst in the second half as the Fire dominated the run of play.
Seemingly almost every dangerous attack came through Nyarko. During one sequence, the ball was switched to Gonzalo Segares in the 51st minute who found Nyarko at the back post, whose effort forced a diving save out of Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Nyarko effectively extended the Crew back line and repeatedly got down the right flank at will.
“With Patrick we wanted to isolate him because of his pace. Anytime we have the ball if we can play to him quick or switch the point of attack where he can get opportunities 1v1,” said Klopas.
HIGHLIGHTS: Fire 1, Crew 0
The 1-0 win was the Fire’s second of the season with both coming at home. A game where Chicago showed a sense of urgency against midwest rival Columbus.
It’s a huge win,” Nyarko said. “I think we had a different purpose today, we needed the win. We played like it, we played very desperate and like we needed the points.”
He defended well and sparked a counter attack to Chris Rolfe who couldn’t finish in the 56th.
Off a cleared corner in the 75th minute, Nyarko sent the ball back in for Austin Berry who forced a point blank save out of Gruenebaum on what was easily the best effort on the night up to that point.
“I thought [Patrick] was fantastic tonight, he created a lot chances,” Klopas said. “We got in good spots in the final third basically through him in his running off the ball and ability to beat players.”
While the Fire relentlessly attacked the Columbus goal in the second half, it looked like a game where the visitors would not concede.
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“At one point it was like here we go again it’s not going to happen but the guys kept persevering and pushing” Nyarko said. “It was easily one of the best games we have played in awhile.”
Finally the dam broke in a moment of brilliance off Jalil Anibaba’s 83rd minute throwin. The long throw found Austin Berry who flicked on for Jeff Larentowicz, before buring his header from close range.
“We came out firing in the first half and second half, finally they cracked,” said Nyarko.
In arguably the most effective game from start to finish, Nyarko said his team continues to learn.
“We’re starting to figure things out and see what it takes to win. The concentration that we had today -- if we have that we are not going to lose a lot of games.”