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Crew SC down the Chicago Fire 3-0

Columbus keeps faint playoff hopes alive.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus needed all three points against a struggling Chicago Fire team and they got them with ease, dispatching the visitors 3-0 behind goals from Harrison Afful, Justin Meram, and Dilly Duka.

The early goal was the payoff of Crew SC's short corner routine with Mohammed Saied sending a ball into space for Afful. Afful took a single touch towards goal and blasted a shot that caught Sean Johnson flat footed. The ball dipped, skimming the crossbar as it went in to give Columbus an 8th minute lead.

In the 26th minute, Chicago nearly grabbed the equalizer. David Accam used his speed to pull the Crew SC defense out of shape. He fired off a shot inside the box as the defense collapsed. The ball caromed into the six-yard box. Luis Solignac put a toe to the ball, but poked it over from close range, ending the chance.

Columbus would nearly double if not for the offside flag in the 31st minute. After pressure significant pressure, Ethan Finlay whipped a ball in from the left that Adam Jahn pounded home. He was a yard offside, making for an easy call and no goal.

Chicago would have a chance before the half with Khaly Thiam pushing up the left side. He fired a cross that David Accam would push towards goal. Sauro would clear the danger to keep the shutout.

The Fire started off the second half with another good chance in the 49th minute behind a nice move from John Goossens to push the ball up to Solignac. The winger would return the favor and find Goossens from 25 yards away from goal. The shot would force a save from Steve Clark.

Less than a minute later, Crew SC would extend the lead from the left side. Duka pushed the ball forward into the attacking third. Duka slipped a pass to Meram. With a Fire defender trying to recover, Meram took a cut to the right and fired a quick shot near post past Johnson to give Columbus the breathing room they needed after so many second half collapses.

Duka would get his first goal in his Columbus return on the hour mark. With Chicago sending in a set piece, Jahn cleared the ball to Meram. He then found Mohammed Saied along the left touch line. After getting clear space along the line, he saw Duka. The midfielder shed the pressure and clipped the centering pass for the goal to extend the lead to 3-0.

With the commanding lead, Columbus would close out the game with ease. The Fire would not get off a shot for for over 35 minutes to end the second half and the best scoring chances would fall to the home side as Ola Kamara's point blank header in the 83rd minute rang the post. Crew SC took all three points to move to 8-12-11 and 35 points.

The win only slightly moved the needle on Crew SC's playoff chances. D.C. United defeated Toronto to keep an 8 point advantage, but Crew SC fans need to scoreboard watch the new 6th place team. Montreal Impact face Orlando City on Sunday. Columbus is six points behind the final playoff spot.

Crew SC have a weekend off during the international break before facing the Fire again on Thursday, October 13th in Bridgeview.