Columbus Crew 2-0 Chicago Fire: #DosACero


May 24, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta (19) celebrates his goal with head coach Gregg Berhalter in the first half of the game the Chicago Fire at Crew Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

While Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid took Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid to the cleaners in Lisbon, Gregg Berhalter’s Columbus Crew had all the answers against Frank Yallop’s Chicago Fire in their 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. With the win, the Crew improve to 4-4-4 (16 points) and are in fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference while the Fire droip to 2-3-6 (12 points), good for eighth place.

Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, from the match between the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire.

1. Finlay strikes early for the Crew

Early on in the first half, the Fire were looking to start the match on a high note with Jhon Kennedy Hurtado’s first header attempt missing wide right in the sixth minute. In the 10th minute, Columbus answered with a goal from Ethan Finlay. Federico Higuain helped lay off the ball for Finlay for his second goal of the season. Jeff Larentowicz’s poor marking also played a big part.

2. Jairo Arrieta with insurance for Columbus

A through ball by Chicago’s Harrison Shipp found Quincy Amarikwa in the 13th minute, but he was caught offsides. Seven minutes later, Juan Luis Anangono found Amarikwa again, but his shot was saved by Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark. In the 25th minute, Jairo Arrieta scored his third goal of the season and once again, it was the providing skills of Federico Higuain that was instrumental. Higuain is now tied with Simon Elliot for ninth in Crew history with 21 career assists.

3. Chicago forced to chase the game in vain

The Fire were now forced to chase the game and their finishing were not doing them any favors. In the 27th minute, Anangono’s shot hit the right post. A minute later, Shipp’s attempt went over the crossbar and out. In the 31st minute, Dilly Duka’s shot from outside the box was blocked.

After the match slowed down for a stretch, Fire young gun Benji Joya had a show that was saved by Clark in the 41st minute. Amarikwa was caught offsides again in the 43rd. Higuain looked to add to his efforts in the 45th minute but the attempt sailed wide left. In the first minute of first half stoppage time, Duka tried again but missed to the left.

4. Tight match in second half

Early on in the second half, Duka continued to try to get the visitors on the board, but his attempt in the 46th minute was blocked. Logan Pause was brought into the game for Joya in the hopes that some veteran experience could make this a contest. In the 50th minute, Arrieta looked for a brace but his shot was blocked. Higuain was cautioned in the 54th minute for encroachment, which meant that he would not be available for the next match. Shipp’s next volley in the 55th minute was blocked. One minute later, Arrieta’s next opportunity was denied due to being offsides. Amarikwa would be cautioned in the 57th minute for simulation.

5. Ward, Oduro, Williams reinforcements for the Crew

In the 61st minute, Fire midfielder Grant Ward came in for Duka, who was starting to tire. Six minutes later, Dominic Oduro, a former Chicago Fire striker, came in for Arrieta, who played a fantastic match for Columbus. In the 69th minute, the Crew’s Justin Meram saw his first attempt saved by beleaguered Fire netminder Sean Johnson. Intent on maintaining the #DosACero, Berhalter brought in defender Josh Williams in the 74th minute to relieve Meram. This was the debut for the aformentioned Ward, and his play for the rest of the match made him a pleasure to watch.

6. Hard luck for Dominic Oduro late

The last 15 and stoppage saw Chicago turn up the pressure. In the 76th minute, Amarikwa’s next attempt was saved by Clark in the bottom right corner. Fire defender Greg Cochrane, who had been a provider for most of the match, had a shot that missed to the right in the 80th minute of play. Chicago defender Patrick Ianni was cautioned for a harsh tackle in the 81st minute. In the 83rd minute, Oduro had a header from close range that was blocked by the post. One minute later, Higuain looked for his first goal of the night but missed wide right.

Shipp’s night of horrors continued in the 86th minute with a shot that missed wide right. Seconds later, Larentowicz’s through ball to Amarikwa was called back for offsides. Crew defender Michael Parkhurst, who was cut from the USA Men’s National Team a few days ago, came in for Chad Barson in the 87th minute of play. In the 90th minute, Amarikwa’s next attempt on goal was saved by Clark. Oduro’s next volley in the second minute of second half stoppage time missed wide right. His final opportunity in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time was saved by Johnson.

Team Statistics

(Columbus in yellow, Chicago in red)

4Shots on Target4
3Shots off Target8
2Blocked Shots3
1Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
529Total Passes356
82 %Passing Accuracy80 %
58.8 %Possession41.2 %
41Duels Won46
10Tackles Won10

Columbus Crew Player Ratings

Steve Clark 9, Char Barson 7, Erik Gehrig 7, Hector Jimenez 7, Tyson Wahl 6, Ethan Finlay 8, Federico Higuain 9.5, Justin Meran 6, Tony Tchani 7, Wil Trapp 6, Jairo Arrieta 8, Dominic Oduro 4, Josh Williams 3, Michael Parkhurst NR

Chicago Fire Player Ratings

Sean Johnson 1, Greg Cochrane 6, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 4, Patrick Ianni 3.5, Steven Kinney 4, Benji Joya 4, Dilly Duka 4, Harrison Shipp 3, Jeff Larentowicz 4, Juan Luis Anangono 5, Quincy Amarikwa 4.5, Logan Pause 4, Grant Ward 7