Last weekend, the Chicago Fire built a 2-0 lead on the road against New York City FC, only to see the home side come back and equalize in stoppage time to earn a point. On Friday night, the Fire did the opposite to Columbus Crew SC, who were up 2-0 with 33 minutes remaining in the match.
It didn't take the Black and Gold long to start things off in the contest. After a close strike from midfielder Ethan Finlay six minutes in was ruled offside, the winger turned provided in the eighth minute, setting up striker Kei Kamara for his eighth goal of the season.
The play started on a pass from Kevan George, who started the game for the suspended Mohammed Saeid, played a simple pass to Justin Meram. The winger's through ball found Finlay in the box and a one-touch pass set up Kamara in front of goal, where he was able to touch it home.
After the opening strike, it was a relatively uneventful first half. Both goalkeepers had to come off their line to collect passes, but neither was forced into making a big save.
Columbus came out aggressively to start the second, looking for that goal to stretch their lead and in the 51st minute, Kamara nearly did just that.
Right back Chris Klute moved into the attacking third and played Finlay down the right side. The winger sent a looping cross into the box that was just over the reach of Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch. Kamara came crashing in to finish the chance, but couldn't make contact to redirect the ball into the net.
Four minutes later, Kamara was again at the back post, but this time he finished. George made a near post run and got a flick on the ball with his head. Kamara got free and used a powerful header to bury his second of the game, his ninth of the season, and double the advantage.
The Fire could have put their heads down and let Crew SC ride out a win, but they showed the fight used against them a week ago. Three minutes after the Kamara goal, Chicago got on the board thanks to a little luck. Forward Kennedy Igboananike used his speed to get to the end line and fired a low cross that deflected off the boot of central defender Michael Parkhurst. The awkward deflection went over defender Emanuel Pogatetz and right to the head of forward David Accam, who flicked it inside the far post.
With the deficit at just one, Fire head coach Frank Yallop threw numbers forward. In the 67th minute, Chicago brought on forward Jason Johnson for midfielder Harrison Shipp and four minutes later, substituted defensive midfielder Razavan Cocis for striker Quincy Amarikwa.
The Fire's numbers and speed caused issues for the Black and Gold, but the defense continued to hang on.
A Golden opportunity came Columbus' way in the 72nd minute when Finlay was fouled at the top of the box. Higuain's ensuing free kick was just wide of the goal and Crew SC narrowly missed putting the game out of reach.
After surviving leading for more than 80 minutes of the match, Columbus couldn't hold on for the final minute of stoppage time.
At the death, former Crew SC defender Eric Gehrig found tons of space on the right hand side of the attack. The right back, who had one assist in four season with the Black and Gold, delivered a cross that found the head of Johnson at the penalty area. The forward was able to get enough power on it to beat Clark and earn his side a point on the road.
Crew SC have called MAPFRE Stadium a fortress and up until tonight, it all but has been. The Black and Gold head out on the road next Saturday, a place they are yet to win a game, as they travel to Florida to take on Orlando City SC. They may have to play that one without a regular starter in Finlay, who left the game on crutches after being substituted in the 72nd minute.