The Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire battled to a 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Toyota Park. The Fire extended their unbeaten streak over the Black and Gold at home to 12 games with the draw in a tight Eastern Conference fight.
The game began slowly with neither team creating too many dangerous chances over the opening 30 minutes. That changed in the 36th minute when midfielder Grant Ward's cross struck the arm of Columbus defender Tyson Wahl and the referee signaled a Chicago penalty kick.
MLS MVP Mike Magee stepped to the spot for the Fire and slotted the ball by goalkeeper Steve Clark for the 1-0 Chicago lead.
Within 10 minutes, the Black and Gold created a great chance to equalize. Defender Michael Parkhurst got free down the right hand side and delivered a dangerous low cross into the box, looking for the run of striker Adam Bedell. Fire defender Patrick Ianni's clearance came straight to midfielder Ethan Finlay, but Ianni was able to block Finlay's shot.
The Crew came out firing in the second half, pulling level within just 10 seconds of kickoff.
To start the half, Columbus played directly into the attacking third for Finaly. The midfielder flicked the ball forward, finding the run of forward Federico Higuain, who touched it around Lovel Palmer and slotted the ball into the corner to tie the match.
The Black and Gold did not let up the pressure after scoring the goal, searching for the go ahead strike. In the 53rd minute, Finlay got into the 18-yard box and played the ball for the trailing run of Ben Speas. The wingers' strike was on goal but was saved by the foot of goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Johnson came up big again in the 61st, denying Finlay a point blank opportunity on the goal line.
Magee came close to putting the Fire in the lead in the 74th minute. Chicago countered and found the forward on the left side of the box, but his strike went just wide of the Clark's goal.
The Fire had the last chance of the game in the 90th minute when Chicago midfielder Razvan Cocis hit a shot from outside the penalty box, but his attempt went just over the crossbar.
The Black and Gold return to Columbus for a two-game home stand starting Saturday with a game against East rivals Toronto FC.