Columbus Crew SC has a chance to rebound after the disappointing loss at Atlanta United with a rare Thursday matchup against the Chicago Fire. Coming off short rest, Columbus will be facing a reeling Chicago team that has gone nearly two months without a point.
The Black & Gold will likely rotate the lineup again after just three days between games. Justin Meram may be in line for his first start since returning to Crew SC, Milton Valenzuela will almost certainly come back into the lineup after sitting out over the weekend and some starters like Federico Higuain may be given rest. Gregg Berhalter has tried to balance the minutes on the team while also attempting to remain competitive. It didn’t work against Atlanta; he’ll have another chance tonight.
The Fire are in abysmal form. They have lost eight straight games with their last win coming at the end of June. Chicago is a team struggling to play well together. Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai give the Fire danger in the attack. They have a combined 20 goals between them. The trouble is, there isn’t a creator on this team. Bastian Schweinsteiger leads the club with six assists as he’s often asked to play throughout the midfield and even center back. Two players are tied in assists in rookie Brandt Bronico and the released Kevin Ellis.
FT: Crew SC 1 Fire 1
89’ A clear hand ball from Cleveland outside the penalty box goes uncalled. Fire counter the other way. Play was checked. Nothing given.
87’ Hansen puts the ball into the corner with a nice finish. Play started with a cross from Mullins that deflected right to the winger for the goal.
85’ Some fancy footwork nearly got Hansen a goal but he dribbles a bit too much and makes the shot an easy save for Cleveland.
81’ Crew SC substitution: Patrick Mullins on for Sauro.
80’ Another long shot from Artur but Cleveland is able to save.
74’ Chicago wants a penalty kick after Edwards went down in the box. The referee checks with the VAR but gives no penalty.
67’ 1-0 Fire. Valenzuela with a bad back pass and Nikolic capitalizes. Takes the ball and tucks it by Steffen.
65’ Yellow card for Higuain he took Bronico down off the ball at the top of the Crew SC attacking penalty box.
61’ Artur fires one form WAY out. Cleveland gets down to save it. Crew SC corner.
57’ Crew SC substitutions: Meram off for Niko Hansen and Federico Higuain on for Clark.
55’ Yellow card to de Leeuw for a late sliding tackle on Trapp.
46’ Crew SC kick off to start the second half.
HT: Crew SC 0 Fire 0
45’ Zardes’ touch sets up Clark at the top of the box. But his shot is well wide.
36’ Off the first corner kick of the game, Clark put a headed effort on goal that had to be cleared off the line.
31’ Santos again hits a shot from outside the box. It skips in front of Cleveland’s goal and causes him an issue but ends up going wide.
29’ Nikolic again gets behind the Crew SC backline and plays a cross through the six-yard box but de Leeuw isn’t able to connect to put the Fire up 1-0
26’ With little offensive action Santos decides to unload from long range. He miss just wide.
23’ Steffen goes down big to Nikolic on a break. The flag went up anyway for offside.
14’ Clark has time and space to line up a shot, but he slips and the attempt is a slow roller to Cleveland.
4’ Trapp gives the ball away with a bad pass in his own half but Mihailovic can’t capitalize. He puts his shot wide.
2’ Meram dispossesses and then runs by Schweinsteiger. His cross is right to Zardes in front of goal but the #CrewSC striker swings and misses the ball.
1’ We’re underway from Bridgeview!
Ralph Schudel has the details on just how bad the Fire have been. Most of the staff is pretty confident that Crew SC can shake the Bridgeview curse. Patrick Murphy reports that the team sees the game against the Fire as a tricky one.
Injuries & Suspensions:
Columbus Crew SC: Eduardo Sosa is out with knee surgery. He is now doing light training, but will be out until mid-September.
Chicago Fire: Defender Jonathan Campbell and forward Luis Solignac are struggling to recover from adductor injuries and are officially questionable on the report. The Fire have several long--term injuries. Defender Matt Polster has been out since May with an MCL tear that required surgery. Likewise, Diego Campos is being kept off the field by an MCL injury that’s sidelined him since earlier this month. Goalkeeper Patrick McLain is still recovering from his hamstring strain suffered in early June.
How to watch:
Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2018, 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Toyota Park, (Bridgeview, Illinois)
TV: MyTV Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2