COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug. 31, 2019) – A 94th minute goal from midfielder Przemysław Frankowski helped the Chicago Fire (8-12-10, 34 points) earn a hard-fought point in a 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew SC (8-15-7, 31 points) at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night. Following the result, the Fire currently sit within four points of a playoff position with four games remaining in the 2019 regular season.
Chicago tested Crew SC goalkeeper Eloy Room early and came close to taking the lead just 10 minutes into the game. The chance to score came when Frankowski blasted a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that forced Room to make a diving finger-tip save.
Less than 10 minutes later, Frankowski was involved in another dangerous opportunity for the Fire when he clipped a perfectly placed left-footed cross into the 18-yard box for midfielder Aleksandar Katai, who powered his header over the target.
Despite the early chances from the Fire, Columbus managed to score against the run of play in the 27th minute when midfielder Pedro Santos was able to finish a left-footed shot from distance.
Two minutes later, Chicago responded with another close opportunity to score from a cross into the box. After receiving a long diagonal pass from Katai, Frankowski played a driven cross through the six-yard box, narrowly missing forward Nemanja Nikolić for a sliding tap in.
In the final moments of the first half, Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm made an important save to deny Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes’ left-footed shot from close range. The save marked Kronholm’s third of the half.
Similar to the first half, the Fire started the final 45 minutes on the front foot and created one its best chances of the game in the 51st minute. The sequence had defender Johan Kappelhof slipping a pass in behind for Katai, who cut the ball back to midfielder Nicolás Gaitán inside the 18-yard box. Pulling the ball onto his left foot, Gaitán struck a shot from close range that went high of the target.
Six minutes later, in search of an equalizer, the Fire added another shot on target. In the 58th minute, Katai played a give-and-go with Gaitán before blasting a powerful shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that forced a strong save from Room.
In the 78th minute, Katai drove a powerful cross into the six-yard box for Nikolić, who flashed his effort just wide of the near post.
Four minutes later, Katai played a cross to the back post for Frankowski, who headed it down for midfielder Micheal Azira on the edge of the six-yard box. Connecting with Frankowski’s header, Azira redirected the ball on target to force a difficult close-range save from Room, who had to make five stops in Saturday’s match.
As the game approached the final whistle, the Fire would eventually beat Room and find the back of the net when Frankowski scored his second goal of the 2019 campaign. The goal sequence came when midfielder Djordje Mihailović slipped the ball down the left side of the 18-yard box for Katai, who fired a cross through the penalty area. Katai’s cross found its way to Frankowski, who hit a one-time left footed shot to score the equalizer. Frankowski was named the Heineken Man of the Match for his performance in the game.
The Fire will return to league play after the upcoming FIFA window when they take on FC Dallas at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14. Scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. CT, the match will be televised nationally on Univision and transmitted locally in Spanish on TUDN Radio Chicago 1200 AM.
Chicago Fire 1:1 Columbus Crew SC
CLB – Santos (10) (Argudo 3) 27’
CHI – Frankowski (2) (Katai 6, Mihailović 2) 90’+4’
CHI – Bornstein (Caution) 46’
CHI – Calvo (Caution) 48’
CHI – Schweinsteiger (Caution) 82’
Chicago Fire: GK Kronholm, D Kappelhof, D Schweinsteiger, D Calvo, D Bornstein (Mihailović 86’), M McCarty©, M Bronico (Azira 67’), M Frankowski, M Gaitán (Herbers 67’), M Katai, F Nikolić
Subs not used: Sánchez, Marcelo, Campos, Gutjahr
Shots: 20 Shots on goal: 6 Fouls: 12 Offsides: 1 Corners: 4
Columbus Crew SC: GK Room, D Afful, D Crognale, D Keita, D Maloney, M Trapp, M Artur, M Diaz (Mokhtar 62’), M Santos, M Argudo (Guzmán 88’), F Zardes (Hamilton 85’)
Subs not used: Kempin, Sosa, Hamilton, Accam, Williams
Shots: 15 Shots on goal: 7 Fouls: 7 Offsides: 0 Corners: 9
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Yusri Rudolf
VAR: Rosendo Mendoza