Photos: Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire FC
It was a special scoreline on a special evening as the Columbus Crew said farewell to over 20 years of cheers and tears inside Crew Stadium with one more 2-0 result, as Chicago Fire FC became the final team to fall at 1 Black & Gold Blvd.
A packed crowd of 20,064 created a glorious roar throughout the evening and from the very first minute there was really only one way the game was going to end as the Crew faithful got behind every sweeping attack and every crunching tackle. Chicago put up a fight, but there was no way this team was going to allow fireworks to follow a loss.
The Crew started out strong, with a new look attack of Derrick Etienne and Alexandru Matan adding to the already explosive pairing of Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes up front.
And it was Zardes who came up big on the night with two first half goals. The first of the evening came in the 17th minute with a predatory pounce to poke the ball home from the six-yard line.
Zardes picked up his second of the evening shortly after when Jonathan Mensah’s long ball was perfectly picked out of the air by Etienne and unselfishly squared to Zardes, who couldn’t miss in front of an open goal.
Chicago made more of a contest throughout the second half, but the Crew defense was in no mood to concede and as the full time whistle blew the capacity crowd’s deafening celebrations brought players to their knees as the defending MLS Champions picked up all three points.
One final sing-along, a whole lot of hugging and a firework display finished off the evening before we all said one last goodbye to a rickety old stadium we’ve all grown to love.
It’s a stadium full of memories we’ll never forget, but the future is bright for this team, this fan base and this city.
The next chapter begins on July 3 at Columbus Crew’s new home, Lower.com Field, when New England comes to town.
For more information, visit columbuscrewsc.com.
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 on his Instagram.
All photos by Matt Ellis