Saturday night the Fire play another pivotal Eastern Conference clash as they welcome the Columbus Crew to Toyota Park.
The game will serve as the rubber match in the season series as both teams have won their previous home games this season by matching 2-1 score lines in Columbus on May 26 and at Toyota Park on June 23.
In the more recent match, the Fire looked to be coasting to victory after Marco Pappa’s second minute screamer and Dominic Oduro’s 26th minute insurance tally. A red card on a late challenge from Gonzalo Segares on the Crew’s Tony Tchani three minutes later would make the rest of the match far from easy for the home side.
The ejection was the veteran defender's third over eight season of MLS play with the club
“It was a tough moment for me,” Segares told Chicago-Fire.com this week. “It was a play that I was late on, we were up 2-0, we had momentum and a red card like that definitely didn’t help.
Just seven minutes after the ejection, Tchani would pull one back but Sean Johnson and the back line in front of him held out through the remainder of the game to earn a valuable three points.
“I should have been much smarter,” said Segares.” I made it more difficult for us but I’m just glad the team was still able to get the win.”
Things probably would have been even more difficult had the Crew received their midseason reinforcements of Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta back in June. The Crew are 7-4-2 overall since July 14 with Higuain tallying three goals and six assists in eight matches while Arrieta has bagged five goals and four assists in 13.
Most importantly, the Crew went from lingering just above the bottom of the East to a team challenging for a playoff berth.
“They’ve lost a few matches but they took a very important win against Chivas USA on Wednesday,” continued Segares. “Columbus is still a very good team that’s fighting for the playoffs just like us. [Saturday will] be a very tough game in which both teams are coming to get three points.”
WATCH: The 2012 Season Series vs. Columbus