The Crew dropped a 2-1 decision against the Chicago Fire in the 4th Round of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup this afternoon. The loss is the sixth straight in Bridgeview, the Crew last having won in 2006.
The Black and Gold came out with a lineup that leaned heavily reserve lineup. Federico Higuain, Matias Sanchez, and Dominic Oduro started on the bench, while head coach Robert Warzycha did play normal starters Glauber, Tony Tchani, Tyson Wahl, and Andy Gruenebaum. The rest of today's starters consisted of reserves such as Konrad Warzycha, Kevan George, Ethan Finlay, and Bernardo Anor or squad players who have seen a few starts this year like Eric Gehrig, Justin Meram, and Ben Speas.
The Crew came out strong with a lot of pressure on the Fire. Even the knee injury to Glauber that forced a sub in the 10th minute couldn't stem the tide. Columbus would cash in on their dominance with a 22nd minute headed goal by Konrad Warzycha.
The Fire would quickly turn the tables and reply with a Mike Magee goal from a fantastic Gonzalo Segares feed in the 28th minute. The home side would close out the first half looking the better side.
Chicago would only increase the pressure in the second half. Much like the Crew's last trip to Toyota Park, the Fire controlled the game from halftime on. They got the go ahead goal from Patrick Nyarko just over ten minutes from time.
The rescheduling of the game created havoc on the lineups as Coach Warzycha decided to hold back Higuain and Oduro. Oduro would enter to replace Glauber and Higuain would get 20 minutes to turn the game, but it's clear that the Crew tried to balance a result today and being ready for their home game in less than two days.
Columbus plays Montreal on Saturday, just over 52 hours from when today's game ended. It put the team in a tough spot. The Fire could play a strong squad today since they don't have a game until next Wednesday. The Impact have had nearly two weeks off and will be ready to go. Columbus will be going into the match on very short rest.
The Crew are out of the Open Cup, fans are very unhappy, the Crew is on a four game league winless streak, the team last won at home in April, and the Black and Gold are in 7th place in the East. The players, coaching staff, and the front office will likely be feeling the pressure on Saturday night.