The Fire capped off the thirteenth anniversary celebration with one of their better performances of the year and a 2-0 victory over Columbus. Goals from Peter Lowry and Brian McBride were enough to send a seemingly tired Columbus side home with the possibility of falling four points behind New York in the Eastern Conference table.
In a glimpse of what the team could or should have looked like after acquiring Ljungberg, Castillo, and Segares during the July transfer window the Fire moved the ball, made effective runs enabling the attack to seem cohesive, and did not bunker with a lead. This game was similar to the fine effort in San Jose and should provide some consolation after a difficult season since wins against quality teams are difficult to come by.
GK Andrew Dykstra (6) - Not called on to do much in the first half but came up with three saves in the second half. The best being a leg save on a low hard shot in the 65th minute. Bobbled a shot or two but managed to hold on without giving up rebounds. Was saved in the 90th minute when Ristic cleared a shot off the line.
D Steven Kinney (5) - Played decently against Rogers, Gaven, and the Columbus outside attackers and provided a little going forward early. Sent a nice cross in for Lowry in the 10th minute which resulted in a corner kick.
D Dasan Robinson (5) - Left the match in the 14th minute when his recurring quad injury flared up and he had to be replaced by Watson-Siriboe.
D Kwame Watson-Siriboe (6) - Fairly solid effort in relief of Robinson. Did a decent job of clearing headers in the box late.
D CJ Brown (6) - Managed to bother Schelloto enough to disrupt the flow of the Columbus attack. He may not have enough in the tank to play 90 minutes every game for a full season but he still provides some of the fire necessary to play his position.
D Bratislav Ristic (7) - Turning into one of the better finds of the season. He was asked to play left back on short notice after Krol was scratched in warm-ups and continues to show his versatility. Was solid defensively all night and maintained a clean sheet for the team by clearing a Columbus shot off the line in the 90th minute.
M Logan Pause (5) - His passing left a bit to be desired today and was beaten by Steven Lenhart on the play resulting in the clearance from Ristic.
M Peter Lowry (6) - Started as the central midfielder next to Pause and managed to get forward enough for a few dangerous chances. A fine manuever to beat one of the top defenders in the league (Chad Marshall) was enough to turn the tide in the Fire's direction.
M Marco Pappa (6) - Didn't figure on the score sheet but he was very active and seemed to move better without the ball than he has previously. Made an excellent run in the 41st minute which resulted in a shot that beat Hesmer but ricocheted off the left post.
M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Some flashes of the first half version of Nyarko were evident although he did dribble himself out of a chance or two by trying to outmaneuver one too many defenders. Nyarko assisted on both Fire goals and was dangerous with several other crosses despite taking a shot at half-time to relieve pain in his right ankle.
F Freddie Ljungberg (6) - Did well creating space and moving the attack forward. Credited with an assist on McBride's goal and caused difficulty for Crew defenders with his pace.
F Brian McBride (6) - Finished his chance when presented with it by deflecting Nyarko's low cross into the net in the 53rd minute. It was his only shot on goal of the night but he made it count.
M Calen Carr (5) - Entered the match in the 77th minute for Patrick Nyarko and slotted into the let midfield spot.
Baggio Husidic (5) - Came on in the 83rd minute for Pappa and managed to register a shot on goal one minute later, which Hesmer handled.
The Fire take on Kansas City next and have managed to keep the flickering notion of a playoff spot alive. Depending on the results of the San Jose and Colorado matches this weekend the Fire could be officially eliminated by kick off on Tuesday night.
Carlos De Los Cobos was not available after the match but assistant coach Mike Matkovich did address the media. Listen to his comments here.