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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Chicago Fire

The Massive Report staff gives their picks for Saturday’s final match at historic Crew Stadium and their favorite moments.

Chicago Fire FC v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The time has arrived as Columbus Crew fans will finally gather in full after 16 months for the farewell match at historic Crew Stadium. While the stadium is the focus of the evening, there is still a game to be played. The Crews return to the pitch after three weeks off as the team hosts the Chicago Fire in the landmark.

Our Massive Report staff made their predictions for the game and shared their personal favorite Crew Stadium moment.

Abigail Hintz

Prediction:

Saturday’s a big day for the Black & Gold who will finally be back in action after the international break. As they send off the legend that is historic Crew Stadium, they will look to do so with a big win. Chicago sits at 13th in the Eastern Conference with just one win so far this season and the electric atmosphere in Columbus will be hard to overcome for Chicago.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

Choosing my favorite memory in that place is nearly impossible. When former Crew player Ethan Finlay got his first cap with the United States in 2016, the energy was unmatched, especially when he scored (until it was called offside.) The infamous Atlanta game in 2019 also comes to mind, when my two best friends and I stood in that horrendous rain until the final whistle because we were so committed to being there.

That’s one of my favorites in a miserable sort of way. That place has held more memories for me and my family than I can count and will definitely be missed, but not too much once Lower.com Field opens its doors.

Collin Johnson

Prediction:

One more match at historic Crew Stadium, under the lights, in front of a full house for the first time in more than a year. The Crew is winning this match. The injury report heading into Saturday’s match is worse than we all expected, but the opposing Chicago Fire is one of the worst teams in the East and hasn’t won a road match since 2019.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

My personal favorite memory of historic Crew Stadium isn’t of some huge win or some USMNT win against Mexico. It’s a random match against D.C. United when Freddy Adu was still with them (so sometime in 2005 or 2006). I was in high school at this time so my parents were reluctant to let me make the 90 minute drive from Portsmouth to Columbus by myself. My dad wasn’t able to join and no friends could get permission to make the trip up to Columbus, so my mom took one for the team and joined me for the match.

I don’t remember who won that match but I do remember spending a great evening with my mom. Crew Stadium, for me, will always be a place where I could spend time with my friends and family while we cheered on America’s hardest-working team.

Guilherme Torres

Prediction:

The Chicago Fire is near the bottom in MLS right now (they’ve been there for the last few years actually) and I don’t think they have what it takes to spoil Columbus’ farewell match at historic Crew Stadium. The Crew had picked up better form before the break and even though some of that will certainly be lost and the Black & Gold will have to deal with a handful of absences, I still expect them to win the match fairly comfortably.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

My favorite memory at Crew Stadium was the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015. I didn’t live in Columbus yet (was only visiting my wife) and was really excited to be at the stadium for the second of what would be quite a few times over the next years. Justin Meram’s goal right after kick-off lifted the Nordecke (it happened right in front of my seat) and no one really cared about the cold temperature that day. A late goal by Kei Kamara sealed the deal for the Crew, which would go to win the Eastern Conference a week later and advance to MLS Cup.

Ralph Schudel

Prediction:

Looking back at the Crew’s rich history inside of Crew Stadium, it will be difficult to fathom life with out it on Saturday’s in the spring and summer. Feelings aside, the Black and Gold still have work to do and in typical fashion, depth will be tested. It will be intriguing to see what lineup head coach Caleb Porter trots out onto the field on Saturday evening with injuries to multiple key players. With a mix of emotions and injuries for the Crew, I don’t see how this electric crowd inside of historic Crew Stadium doesn’t propel them to a victory.
Columbus Crew 3 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

Justin Meram scoring a game-winning goal against NYCFC and kissing the badge during the Save The Crew movement in September 2018.

Drew Niccum

Prediction:

I cannot fathom any other result than an emphatic win to send historic Crew Stadium out on a high note. Regardless of notable absences in Eloy Room and Artur, Columbus is more than capable of putting down a Chicago Fire side that has only scored once in the last five games. This is an opportunity to get the Crew offense rolling after a meek start to the season and to deliver a performance that keeps up the energy in the final two weeks before the opening of the new stadium.

The players know this is a big game and what it means to the fans and for the club. I’m predicting an offensive explosion and a stellar defensive performance. I say Zelarayan and Zardes each score twice for a resounding victory.
Columbus Crew 5 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

There are so many moments at historic Crew Stadium to choose from but for me personally, my favorite remains the 5-0 drubbing of D.C. United in the final game of the 2015 regular season. It was the first Crew game I had been to since I was a kid, and it cemented me and my brother’s Crew fandom. Sitting in the Nordecke for the first time was such an amazing experience, and that game remains one of my favorite memories as a Crew fan.

Thomas Costello

Prediction:

I expect the Columbus Crew to come out with a lot of energy. They’re playing in front of a sellout home crowd in a massive match in the team’s history. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how they use that energy, but Saturday it will work in their favor. With Kevin Molino and Luis Diaz likely unable to start, Derrick Etienne Jr. will have an MLS Cup-esque performance. He’ll have a goal in the first half.

Eloy Room’s absence won’t turn into any backup keeper drama on the field. Evan Bush still has a strong defense in front of him, and they’ll keep the Chicago Fire off the scoreboard. As great as it would be to send the stadium off the way it was inaugurated, with a 4-0 victory, Saturday will end 2-0 for the home team. Gyasi Zardes adds the second goal for a celebratory send off.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

My favorite moment was a 2016 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. I went with my 7-year-old daughter and it was a downpour. I don’t remember the outcome but 20 minutes in I was ready to go. I just drove to Columbus from a wedding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that morning and was beat. My daughter turned to me, soaking wet without a poncho or umbrella and said “no, Dad, we never leave early!”

Patrick Guldan

Prediction:

The Crew are still battling injuries and will have a makeshift lineup in several spots, but there is still a lot of well rested talent in the squad. A healthy Lucas Zelarayan can be a difference maker on his own. The Fire still have too many holes to be a consistent threat to spoil a special night.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 1

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

There can't be just one favorite moment in my 19 years of attending games at Crew/MAPFRE/Historic Crew Stadium. I recall Crew fullback Eric Denton giving the east stands a rude gesture during an Open Cup game in 2004. I still have a deep fondness for the hapless 2006 Crew team. Several moments stand out from that glorious 2008 season, the rain soaked 4-3 masterpiece against Chivas, Steven Lenhart’s goal against the Fire, that 4-0 demolition of the New England Revolution, and the feeling that utter domination was coming when Brad Evans scored his playoff goal against Kansas City.

Likewise, the next decade brought the highs and lows of the Berhalter era including the most electric game I can recall at Crew Stadium, the overtime thriller against Montreal in 2015 or the Federico Higuain/Kei Kamara craziness that epitomized the lost 2016 season. Nothing may top Harrison Afful’s goal against NYCFC to punctuate a message to Anthony Precourt and MLS.

Since I bent the rules on the question, I’m going to bend them just a bit more and note that this isn’t the end for Crew Stadium. The moments may be different and perhaps a little smaller and bit more personal, but this is likely the place where Crew Academy players get their first taste of professional soccer with the upcoming Crew 2 team. Perhaps Open Cup legends will live on here. Maybe an Ohio high school football or soccer team crowns a championship season in the style of 2020 Crew. I’m glad it’s not the end and not just memories for Historic Crew Stadium.

Orri Benatar

Prediction:

Sports has a certain romanticism about it and I can recall multiple instances where a storybook ending occurred. I expect a storybook ending to the 22-year history of Crew Stadium with the Black & Gold’s opponent in the Chicago Fire being among the weaker sides in MLS and missing key players. The first full house in Columbus in 16 months will get to send-off its home in style.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

MLS Cup 2020. The year was among the worst in recent memory and to be able to go and cover a major sports final in my hometown and see the way it played out was remarkable. It gave me a lasting GOOD memory from an otherwise awful year.

Patrick Murphy

Prediction:

This Fire side has struggled this year. The three-week break may have given Chicago a chance to get things fixed, but I still believe the Crew is the better team. The Black & Gold also had three weeks to work on things — and we thought get healthy — so I expect an improved Columbus side, especially in the attack. The major question is what the lineup looks like with players still out/questionable.

I think you’ll see a motivated Crew team, looking to close Crew Stadium in the right way and carry the momentum from before the international break on further. The Black & Gold put out a strong effort and come away with the most impressive win of the MLS season.
Columbus Crew 3 Chicago Fire 0

Favorite Crew Stadium Moment:

Many people probably know this, but my favorite moment has long been the 2008 Eastern Conference Final. The Crew finally got over the hump and made it to MLS Cup with an epic win. As I detailed on the most recent Massive Report podcast, I sat in the stands after Brian McBride scored thinking “this season can’t end like this,” and Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven delivered in the second half. It’s easily the happiest I’ve been leaving Crew Stadium and a moment I will never forget.


What is your prediction for the match and favorite memory from Crew Stadium? Let us know in the comment section below.