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What We Learned: Crew vs Chicago Fire

Our biggest takeaways from the Crew’s first road tie.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The winless streak stopped at five as Columbus Crew SC earned a massive road point against rivals Chicago Fire in a 2-2 draw in what was most likely the team’s last visit to Bridgeview. The draw came thanks to two players making their debut, Romario Williams and Luis Diaz, coming off the bench and combining for a late equalizer.

Here are three things we learned from the draw against the Fire.

This team can come from behind

Going down a goal has not been a good thing for the Crew this year. In fact, Columbus had just one point in a game where they trailed this season, and that was the 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls in Week 1.

That was not an issue for the Black & Gold in this game. After giving up a goal in the 28th minute to go down 1-0, Gyasi Zardes found the back of the net just two minutes after halftime, when Luis Argudo found the forward out hustling Bastian Schweinsteiger in the six-yard box to get the equalizer.

After letting CJ Sapong go five-hole on goalkeeper Joe Bendik, the Crew found themselves trailing yet again until Williams was able to tie the game with a fantastic header in the 90th minute to steal a point from Chicago.

“We owe our fans a win. We’ve been giving them far too many losses,” head coach Caleb Porter said after the game. “If we get a win on Saturday, we start to put together a little bit of a run and we get some momentum.”

Porter is right. This team has been on the cusp of a result so many times but a silly goal conceded cost them points. On Wednesday, that fight was there to come from behind twice and get the road point. That was good to see.

New guys make an impact

The bench has hardly ever made an impact for the Crew this season. In some games, Porter has been reluctant to make a substitution because there wasn’t that spark to bring into the game. Wednesday night was different when Williams and Diaz connected to get the late equalizer goal in the 90th minute to salvage a point.

Both players brought energy and a fire to make something happen. Diaz quickly got o the ball and took players on, nearly creating an own goal before registering his first assist Williams fit right into his role, playing as the target striker and finding the net when he got his chance.

“I kept telling him you’re gonna get in there and score the goal,” Porter said of Williams.

Needless to say, the new guys delivered at a crucial time and we hope they keep on delivering.

Young center backs have to make the most of their time

After seeing key center backs Gaston Sauro and Josh Williams went down with injuries and with Jonathan Mensah still out, the Black & Gold were down to their fourth- and fifth-string central defenders in Homegrown natives Alex Crognale and Aboubacar Keita.

With the injury bug lingering, it was crucial that these two put on their best performances until Sauro or Josh get back with the team. It wasn’t exactly what Porter wanted against the Fire, but the two did enough to help the team get the result.

“Alex and Bouba hung in there,” the head coach said. “They weren’t perfect, but they hung in there.”

Hector Jimenez was vocal more towards them at certain points of the match, giving them instruction on positioning and awareness. If the two can put together a solid performance against the Montreal Impact this weekend, assuming the other center backs aren’t back, the defensive shape and play can change the results for Columbus for the better.