There were no set piece goals allowed in this one but there was still enough lax defending and spotty goalkeeping to allow Columbus to take an early 1-0 en route to a victory in an important Eastern Conference battle. An Eddie Gaven goal that should have been defended much better than it was put the Fire in a position to play catch up again for the tenth time in twelve games this season. A subsequent late first half score by Emilio Renteria proved to be insurmountable despite a second half comeback attempt that had the Crew scrambling to maintain a hold on all three points.
The coaching staff apparently decided to rest Sebastian Grazzini in light of a third league match in less than a week and his absence was certainly felt. A decision to start Frederico Puppo as a lone forward was also a questionable maneuver that Frank Klopas attempted to correct midway through the first half by pushing Patrick Nyarko forward in a 4-4-2 alignment. Changes in the second half brought a sense of urgency as the team pushed for a tying goal but the Fire seemingly remain incapable of pushing away from the pack to join the Eastern Conference leaders in a race for the top spot.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Had two impressive stops in the 79th and 80th minutes but the first Colorado score probably should have been stopped. Johnson appeared to be late in covering the near post as Gaven gave the Crew an early lead.
D Dan Gargan (5) - A lot of action for Gargan in the offensive third during the second half with numerous crosses although none managed to find the mark for a dangerous chance.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Appeared to be the main culprit allowing Gaven too much room to operate which lead to the 9th minute score. Did well in other instances - solid tackle to break up an attack in the 33rd, two shot attempts in the area in the 48th, and a great long pass to Nyarko in the 55th. The Fire will need to work through some mistakes from a young center back tandem until Arne Friedrich is ready to return.
D Austin Berry (5) - Easily his roughest night defensively since joining the starting eleven. Struggled with Renteria's strength on more than once occasion. Fell down on the challenge allowing the Crew forward to turn and score uncontested in the 43rd. However, Berry is a monster in the air and he showed his skill again with a goal in the 72nd getting on the end of two consecutive balls after a corner kick.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - The Fire's back line appeared to be in a scramble at times during the first half.
M Pavel Pardo (6) - Probably the Fire's best performer on the night stopping several counter attack chances and giving the team a chance to stay in the match playing in a lone holding role as attackers pressed forward.
M Logan Pause (4) - Deficiencies are exposed when the club is forced to press for a tying goal and he's required to get forward as an attacking option. Couldn't get to a good ball from Pappa in the 28th that would have produced a clear look at goal for a quicker player. Subbed out for Paladini in the 59th.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Just okay in 45 minutes of play and may have been subbed out at half time due to tired legs. Pappa will miss the US Open Cup match on Tuesday as he departs tomorrow to join the Guatemalan National Team for a mid week game.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Active in the first half but disappeared a bit in the second. Should have tied the match at 1 in the 41st minute after intercepting an awful pass by Mendes in front of the Columbus goal. His shot attempt went wide left of goal and Renteria made it 2-0 minutes later.
M Rafael Robayo (4) - Playing in place of Grazzini he needed to step up and show more for the ball in a central position but that doesn't appear to be his game. He's more suited to a dual holding role because he's not very fast and doesn't have an overabundance of moves despite his claim that Colombia's Liga Postobon is more technically gifted than MLS.
F Frederico Puppo (4) - It's a disservice to him to continually be placed in a role as a lone forward but he got some help when Nyarko was moved forward in a 4-4-2 and he was still largely ineffective. The sooner Chris Rolfe is available the sooner Puppo can assume a more appropriate role as a late minute substitution.
F Dominic Oduro (5) - Entered the match in the 46th minute for Pappa and showed some signs of danger with his pace but teams are prepared for it now.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Came in a as 46th minute replacement for Puppo and had a decent moment or two in the box but was unable to get enough on a 68th minute shot to get it past Gruenebaum.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Back to back consecutive excellent service from a corner kick breathed some life back into the Fire when Berry found the back of the net from the second ball. Two long distance shots in the 61st and 65th were not particularly well struck. Entered the match in the 59th for Pause.
C Frank Klopas (4) - See Puppo comments above. The substitutions helped but you have to wonder why Puppo was utilized alone up top in the first place. Grazzini was held out for rest according to the Fire's post game release which drastically altered the side's attack and the club continues to allow what Klopas calls "silly" goals.
- The Fire's last defeat at the hands of an Eastern Conference team came on May 21, 2011 against Philadelphia.
- The Fire will travel to Pontiac, Michigan on Tuesday to take on the Michigan Bucks in US Open Cup Play.
- The next league match is Saturday on the road against another rival on their heels, the New England Revolution.
- Chris Rolfe traveled with the team and worked out with the training staff before the game.