RECAP: Fire Plagued by Red Card, PK in 3-0 loss in Columbus

The Chicago Fire entered their match in Columbus on Saturday night in a playoff spot for the first time all season, but were unable to defend their loose grip on the final spot.  The Fire would fall 3-0 at the hands of their Midwestern rivals, while the New England Revolution downed D.C. United in Foxborough, dropping Chicago into sixth place with five matches remaining in the season.

Columbus wasted no time jumping ahead at Crew Stadium, as former Fire Dominic Oduro scored in the fifteenth minute.  Oduro had a unique goal celebration, heading over to the stands and taking a bite of  a Papa John’s pizza slice.  The early deficit would only be the beginning of the Fire’s problems, as Bakary Soumare took down Jairo Arietta outside of the penalty box and was immediately shown a red card.  Earning a one game suspension and dropping the team to just ten men on the pitch for the remainder of the match on the road, Soumare being sent off lit a spark of confidence in Columbus.  The Crew were unable to score again in the first half, but had to be more than satisfied with the position they had put in, up one goal and with a one man advantage.  The only perceived negative for the home side would have to be Chad Marshall’s thirty-eighth minute yellow card caution.

Fire coach Frank Klopas would start his string of three substitutions in the fifty-ninth minute, bringing in Patrick Nyarko in place of Alex.  Unfortunately for the Men in Red, the bleeding would not be stopped, and Federico Higuain slotted home a penalty kick in the seventieth minute of play, while Chris Rolfe would replace Dilly Duka for the Fire’s second substitution.  Jairo Arrieta earned a yellow card in the seventy-sixth minute after fouling Mike Magee, but Columbus’s Bernardo Anor scored just in the same minute of play to give the Crew an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

With the victory all but assured, Columbus brought in Ryan Finley to replace Arrieta, who was playing on the yellow card, in the seventy-ninth minute, and the Fire followed with an attempt to build more offense late in the match, bringing in Joel Lindpere in the place of defender Gonzalo Segares.  The attempt to find offense would not be fruitful, and Columbus would sub out two of their goal scorers in the final minutes of the match, replacing Oduro with Justin Meram, and Anor with Ben Speas.

The Fire return home for the second-to-last time this season on Saturday, September 28, to take on the third place Montreal Impact.  The game will be televised on My50 Chicago and is scheduled for a 7:30 PM CDT start time.

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