Fire vs. Columbus Crew Match Preview

In what has been a mantra for the Fire during the second half of the 2013 season, the club faces another “must win” game against Eastern Conference rival Columbus Crew, in a game that has playoff race implications on both sides.

Columbus currently sits in 8th in the East with 35 points, and could inch closer to the final playoff spot with an upset over Chicago in their final meeting of the regular season. The Fire, in 5th place with 39 points, need a win and full points to keep pace with Houston and Philadelphia. Philadelphia has a bye this week, but Houston faces a likely win against a floundering Chivas USA side. Additionally, New England, currently in 7th but only 2 points out of the hunt, faces DC United, wooden spoon holders of the league with just 3 wins.

The final matchup between the two clubs this season is full of storylines coming in. Columbus broke a club record losing streak with their defeat of Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium last weekend, while Chicago edged out New England Revolution at home in a controversial game on both sides. Dilly Duka and Dominic Oduro again face their former teams, although it’s likely the luster of going up against their former clubs has probably faded a bit this deep into their respective campaigns.

Interim head coach Brian Bliss made four lineup changes against Montreal, and it’s likely he’ll trot out a similar lineup against Chicago. On the other side, Frank Klopas will send out a similar lineup to the one that faced New England in last weekend’s 3-2 win.

Projected Lineups


Johnson; Segares, Soumare, Berry, Anibaba; Duka, Larentowicz, Rios, Nyarko; Anangono, Magee


Lampson; Barson, Marshall, Wahl, Viana; Trapp, Oduro, Tchani, Anor; Higuain, Arrieta


Juan Guzman


Look for a key matchup between Higuain and Arevalo Rios, as Rios will likely sit back in a more defensive position, allowing Larentowicz to push forward as they’ve done since the Uruguayan’s arrival. Dominic Oduro believes the Columbus attack will have success against Chicago’s backline, so the Fire will no doubt have extra motivation for shutting down Columbus offensively for the 4th time this season across all competitions.

Fire 2 Crew 0

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  • That should've read *road losing streak for Columbus. Apologies.

  • Men in red or man with a red?

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    Ugly at the the 30th. minute. Once again when they should be up for the game, they let the other team take the upper hand. It wouldn't make much a difference if the Fire had a full11 and the Crew 10.

  • Fire have made the Crew look far better than they are through stretches of the 1st half. Frustrating.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Honestly, I think we've been pretty unlucky. Looked like we should've had no fewer than three penalties in our favor, and their goal came off of two attempted clearances hitting our own players. We've had better chances since going down a man, including hitting the bar.

  • Here's a shocker: no Fire players on's 24 under 24 list. Wait, do we have even a single player under the age of 24 who's made any sort of contribution this season? Nevermind.

  • Baky out. I say it's addition by subtraction. Pull off the shock victory here and we don't have his sorry butt on the backline v. Montreal

  • All the advertisers were happy with the red card. What a way to make a game become uninteresting.

  • I doubt the Fire can make any sort of "big news announcement" significant enough to overcome the muffling effect of this team's annual implosion.

  • G,
    How would you rate the coaching and game prep? They certainly did not come out like a team fighting for the playoffs, and they played a very high back line against a team that lives off the fast break. Your thoughts?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I'm out of town this weekend and haven't seen the whole game yet. I caught a few minutes of the second half. The result doesn't shock me, this playoff chase in the East is going down to the wire.

    Segares overcommitted leading to a goal and going down a man on the road usually spells disaster. They've got a decent squad but they're also just bad enough to leave everyone frustrated.

  • not happy at the moment.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Yeah, tough to stay optimistic at this point. I mean, as long as they're not mathematically eliminated there's hope, and I agree with Guillermo that the season will come down to the last weekend for numerous teams, but leaving it to the results of other clubs is a poor way to do business, and it's not a stretch to say that this team will have to hit a stride at exactly the right time in order to go deep if they do make a playoff run.

    In other news, apparently Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan were incorrect in their assessment of a Gonzalo Segares yellow card. Jefe Crandall reported via the Twitters today that no yellow showed up anywhere on the game reports, so the backline will have his services against Montreal this weekend.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Speaking of Dan Kelly, CSN shown him on camera at the Cubs game a few minutes ago.

  • The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  • Still no game recap? I need a proper space to vent! Kids, weekends away, sicknesses...I don't care, no excuses! We need to clone Guillermo, or add to Jeff's duties! This is an instantaneous world, I have learned to have no patience!!! Haven't you realized yet that you are our collective therapist? We need a hotline number to call while you are away, at the very least... ;)

  • Here's the game recap: rudderless team makes questionable errors at the back; plays a man down for an hour after a stupid foul and fails to show the urgency needed to make the playoffs.

  • Haha. FWIW, I wanted to do a game recap, but was afraid of dragging down Guillermo's good work this season by giving everyone a "2" for the game.....

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:


    I'll be back from vacation tonight and will post the recap as soon as I get to watch the entirety of the match.

    I hear it was a loss. ;)

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    no need to G. i do not want to relive this one.

  • I just want to be on record as saying, I told ya so about Baky being 2 seconds from a red card. I actually think they played better after the card.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Agreed! Did anyone else notice the MLS Power Rankings? They dropped the Fire from 10th to 15th. But what really made me cringe was this quote: " Added woe is facing Montreal in a must-win without Baky Soumare, who's crucial."

    Soumare has been a big improvement over Wells Thompson but I would hardly call him crucial. Is this a good time to deal Baky?

  • In reply to Arklow:

    "Is this a good time to deal Baky?"

    No, because the roster freeze deadline has passed. He's ours until after the season is over.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    They're not going to deal Baky. He's been getting generally positive press by casual media observers and the FO must be talking him up.

    How much bad press did it take for them to finally dump MacDone? Puppo? Chaves? Months and months, possibly more. How long did it take to accept that Rolfe's slump warranted a change up top? Months and months.

    The guys they really buy into do not get shipped out quickly. Get used to seeing Baky in a Fire jersey for the foreseeable future, regardless of what you see on the field. For better or for worse, this is not Chivas or Toronto.

    Now if he were to get in a dustup with the coaching staff...

  • In reply to Modibo:

    If Baky and Frank had a locker room brawl, maybe that would be the excuse to depart with both. It could be a win-win.

  • His touchy mood doesn't help things, either. Though, when you look at Gonzalo's performance and the fact that the running question when Danny comes on is "how many minutes before he gets a yellow?" it seems more reflective of the whole this year. In spots, we just aren't as sharp as we were last year. Our bane.

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