BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire won their seventh game in eight with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew, showing opponents that no one-goal lead is safe.
Behind two goals from Chris Rolfe, the Fire earned their fourth come-from-behind victory in eight games. The loss was the Crew’s third in four games, in which they’ve slid out of playoff position.
The Fire fell behind in the 15th minute, when goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s pass went directly to the feet of Columbus forward Jairo Arrieta, who dribbled past a diving Johnson and beat defender Arne Friedrich, who made an attempt at a sliding save.
It didn’t take long for that Columbus lead to turn into a deficit.
In the 23rd minute, Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald found Chris Rolfe with a through-pass, and Rolfe buried a shot past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Three minutes later, Rolfe settled a pass from Patrick Nyarko just outside the penalty area and calmly placed a curling shot out of Gruenebaum’s reach.
The Crew almost battled back several times in the second half, first on a sliding attempt by Milovan Mirosevic in the 56th minute, and in the 79th minute on a Josh Williams shot from 10 yards out, which Johnson saved.
Alvaro Fernandez nearly padded the Fire lead in the 62nd minute, but his header to an open goal went over the bar.
The Crew held 62 percent of possession, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
The loss keeps the Crew (13-11-6) one-point behind the Houston Dynamo, who have played one less game. They’ll host a struggling Philadelphia Union side next week.
The Fire (16-8-5) grabbed a stranglehold of second-place in the Eastern Conference, and will try to take the top spot when they play Sporting Kansas City, who have two more points and have played one more game, at Livestrong Park on Friday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Rolfe (CHI)||Chicago's veteran striker played with an edge, netting a brace within three minutes in the first half and pacing the offense.|
|2||Sean Johnson (CHI)||Johnson had one miscue giving the Crew a 1-0 lead, but made at least three top-notch saves to preserve the Fire victory|
|3||Jairo Arrieta (CLB)||The Costa Rican striker talled the Crew's lone goal and played with a lot of pace.|