COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew (11-14-5, 38 points) jumped on its most bitter rival early and never looked back on Saturday evening, as the Black & Gold posted a comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Chicago Fire (11-12-6, 39 points) in front of 19,010 spectators. With the win, Brian Bliss’ side moves to within a single point of Chicago in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, and the club is only two points outside of the fifth and final MLS Cup Playoffs position with four regular-season matches remaining.
The win is the Crew’s first over Chicago in 2013 and its third victory in four matches. Former Chicago player and Crew leading scorer Dominic Oduro kick-started the night’s scoring in the 15th minute, converting a Jairo Arrieta pass for his 11th goal of the season. Arrieta continued the Crew’s attacking momentum in the 29th minute during a counter-attack, forcing Chicago defender Bakary Soumare into a last-ditch effort to halt the striker’s run into the Fire’s area. As the last defender on Chicago’s backline, Soumare’s foul earned him a red card, allowing the Crew to play the rest of the match with a man-advantage. The Black & Gold were awarded a penalty kick in the 70th minute, with Federico Higuain notching his 10th goal of the year. Higuain is six of eight from the penalty spot in 2013 – a club record, as the Designated Player passes Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2010) and Andrew Mendoza (2011) – both of whom had five penalties previously.
Bernardo Anor tacked on the third and final Crew goal of the night, slotting home a Tony Tchani through ball in the 76th minute. The Black & Gold continue their push for the playoffs with a Western Conference test on Sunday, September 29 at FC Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) in the lone meeting between the two teams before the Crew finishes the season with three critical in-conference clashes.