After defeating the Chicago Fire 3-0 a week and a half ago, Columbus Crew SC needed another victory against the Men in Red to keep remote MLS Cup Playoff hopes alive. A 2-2 draw at Toyota Park on Thursday night was not enough.
The situation appeared promising following the opening 45 minutes. Forward Adam Jahn, who started in place of regular Ola Kamara, got Crew SC on the board in the 13th minute. Winger Justin Meram capitalized on a Fire turnover and dribbled into the attacking third before playing a perfect through ball for Jahn, who just beat Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson for the 1-0 lead.
Despite taking the lead, the Black & Gold struggled to control the match. Most of the game was played in Crew SC’s defensive half, which was not a good omen.
At the half, Fire head coach Veljko Paunović brought David Arshakyan for John Goosens and the move quickly paid off.
In the 53rd minute, winger Arturo Alvarez chipped a ball into the Columbus penalty area looking for Arshakyan. Black & Gold defender Michael Parkhurst attempted to hold off the attacker and clear, but a bounce off his shinguard redirected the ball off his foot and over goalkeeper Steve Clark for the own goal.
Four minutes later and Chicago took the lead. Again it was Alvarez finding space on the right side, but this time a low cross into the Crew SC penalty area was the undoing and forward Michael de Leeuw tucked the effort away for the 2-1 advantage.
The Black & Gold pushed numbers forward, looking for an equalizer and eventually a winner. Columbus created a number of chances, including forcing Johnson into two saves on one play, but couldn’t find the finish.
That is until the 80th minute when Jahn scored his second goal of the match with a remarkable volley.
On a cross from second half substitute Corey Ashe, Jahn popped the ball up near the top of the box, turned and fired a shot from out of the air that beat Johnson to level the score at two a piece.
Crew SC pumped the ball into the box and even brought Clark forward on a corner kick attempt looking for the winning goal, but it was not to be.
Columbus still has two games remaining in the regular season, beginning with Sunday’s match at the New York Red Bulls, before the earlier-than-expected offseason begins.