Photos: Crew SC Dominates Chicago Fire 3-0
A first-half penalty from Federico Higuain set Columbus Crew SC on to a dominant 3-0 over long time rivals Chicago Fire on Saturday night, as the black and gold picked up another three points at MAPFRE Stadium.
Coach Gregg Berhalter tinkered with the starting eleven, resting Wil Trapp and giving starts to Mike Grella and Ricardo Clark, while Pendro Santos returned after suspension, only to crumble to the ground within seconds of the opening whistle with what appeared to be a hamstring related injury. He was shortly after replaced by Niko Hansen.
Both teams saw chances come and go during the first half, Harrison Afful and Elliot Collier both had shots hit the goal posts, yet neither team were able to find the back of the goal until the 28th minute when Gyasi Zardes took a tug on the arm from Chicago’s Kevin Ellis that saw the Crew SC forward rather dramatically tumble to the ground. A penalty kick was awarded and confidently dispatched into the roof of the net by Higuain.
Crew SC doubled their lead early in the second half after substitute Hansen went marauding down the wing, breezing past a few Chicago players before putting the ball onto the foot of Zardes, leaving the Crew’s top scorer with an open goal and easy finish.
Higuain hit the post with a driving shot shortly before Gyasi Zardes put the game out of reach, this time with a well taken sweeping right-foot strike from just inside the box.
Next up for Columbus is an away-day at New England Revolution, next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found at Matt Ellis Photography.