After underwhelming in losses to the Portland Timbers and the Philadelphia Union to begin the year, the Black & Gold didn't come out like men on a mission. Over the first quarter hour, the Fire controlled proceedings and had six corner kicks before the game was 30 minutes old.
After conceding goals on set pieces in each of the first two games, Columbus defended the corner attempts successfully and weathered the early storm.
The Black & Gold began to take control and started to create some chances.
In the 13th minute, playmaker Federico Higuain found some time in the middle of the park. He spotted the run of winger Ethan Finlay in behind the Chicago defense and played him through. Finlay fired a low cross at the top of the six-yard box, but no oncoming runner could make contact.
Ten minutes later, Finlay again created a Crew SC opportunity. Making his 100th appearance in the Black & Gold, Finlay again was sprung in behind and his cross found fellow winger Justin Meram, who made his first start of the season. Meram's shot was blocked in the air and followed up by Higuain but the volley was high of the net.
Other than those chances, it was really a bland half for the Black & Gold who are still looking to kick it into gear to being 2016 after reaching the MLS Cup Final last season.
The halftime break marked the first time all season Crew SC had gone 45 minutes without scoring a goal. It also was the first time in 2016 the Black & Gold didn't enter the break trailing.
The second half started much like the first ended, with Columbus dominating in possession, but struggling to really get any clear-cut openings.
Crew SC fans nearly had a flashback of that MLS Cup defeat in the 63rd minute. A back pass to goalkeeper Steve Clark was pressure and a poor clearance put right back Harrison Afful in a bad spot. The ball went to Chicago forward Gilberto at the top of the 18-yard box, but his low effort was right to Clark.
The best chance for the Black & Gold came from Finlay again, but this time he was the shooter. The winger was given a lot of time and space well out from goal, so he took the chance and fired a shot that forced a diving save from former Crew SC goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
Despite dominating in all the statistical categories, there was no difference between the Black & Gold and the Fire on the scoreboard after 90 minutes.
The Black & Gold will be happy with leaving Chicago with a point and hope that it is something to build on going forward. Columbus now has a week off before another away match at FC Dallas on April 2 when Crew SC will hope for the team's first win of the young season.