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Fire Fall, Columbus Rivalry Goes to the Crew

The Fire were defeated 3-0 by the Columbus Crew on Saturday May 12. Columbus Crew Forward Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in the game. Chicago Fire Midfielder Aleksander Katai nearly had a goal in the 24th minute off a bad pass from Crew Goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, but his header went just wide. Nemanja Nikolic had scored the game winner in the previous matchup off a Cleveland error.

Rookie Forward Elliot Collier also nearly had a goal in the 22nd minute but his shot rattled off the goal post. The Fire conceded a penalty kick in the 28th minute when Kevin Ellis committed a foul in the penalty area. Federico Higauin converts the penalty kick.

The Fire were without German Star Bastian Schweinsteiger who did not make the trip to Columbus as he was rested after going the full ninety minutes in the two previous games. Head Coach Veljko Paunovic made a few changes from the squad that defeated the Montreal Impact on Wednesday May 9th. Jonathon Campbell came in central defense for Grant Lillard. After a stellar performance man marking Ignacio Piatti in the Montreal game rookie midfielder Mo Adams was paired in central midfield with Dax McCarty.

Columbus Crew Forward Gyasi Zardes scored his first goal in the 50th minute and his second in the 70th minute. The Crew had 19 shots in the game, 5 were on target. Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffan made 4 saves. The Fire had 11 shots in the game 4 of them were on target. Fire keeper Richard Sanchez made 2 saves in the game.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic spoke about the match after words. “No excuses. I think we had a good first half. We played against one of the best teams for me, definitely in our League. They got, in this game, everything they did in the first game, when we played in Chicago. They converted a lot of opportunities. They definitely deserved the win, and congrats on that. We’ll move forward. Quote Sheet: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew Chicago Fire Communications.

Rookie Diego Campos who started the game had this to say about the game, ___“_It is a good experience. Sometimes the team is going to win. Sometimes you’re going to lose. That’s soccer. I think that we need to learn it’s really important for us as rookies to get all this experience and talk to the guys and feel all these types of games. I think that we learn a lot even though we lost. It’s a great experience and a great opportunity to learn.” Quote Sheet: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew Chicago Fire Communications.

The Fire’s next game will be against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday May 20th at Toyota Park. The team will have some time off to recover, unfortunately the Fire were hit by more injuries after the Crew game. The Fire are already missing key pieces to the staring lineup due to injury. Paunovic had this to say about the injury situation, _“_It’s good that we now have time to recover from that game. But also, it’s important to start getting back injured guys. For a long time now, the team is suffering, not in terms of anything else, but just the sake of rotations. We need everyone back.” Quote Sheet: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew Chicago Fire Communications.

This article was originally published on @soccerchic