The Chicago Fire looked like a work in progress on Saturday afternoon, but the rebuilt squad did just enough to earn a come-from-behind point. Outplayed for a majority of the match, the Fire benefited from a late David Accam equalizer en route to a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Fire struggled through the first 71 minutes, but broke through with an equalizing goal from Accam. On the end of a deflected through ball, Accam took several touches to wiggle around the Crew defense. Once in space, the forward fired a shot past goalkeeper Zack Steffen, earning the Fire a valuable point from a match that saw them on the backfoot for a majority of the game.
Initially, it was the Crew that jumped into the lead in the 17th minute as Ethan Finlay scored the club’s first goal of the 2017 season. After receiving the ball on the left side, Justin Meram took a touch onto his left foot before whipping a ball into the center of the box. The cross was pinpoint, finding Finlay’s head for a close-range header to open the scoring.
In the aftermath of the goal, the Crew were dominant, possessing the ball while the Fire turned the ball over repeatedly. The Fire’s midfield was particularly sloppy as the pairing of Dax McCarty and John Goosens struggled to show chemistry in the center of the field.
The second half saw the hosts create several chances only to see goalkeeper Jorge Bava step up. The Fire shot-stopper provided three saves, keeping the deficit at just one before Accam broke through. In the moments that followed Accam’s equalizer, the Fire looked the more likely team to score, but the visitors could never get a true breakthrough in pursuit of a winning goal.
Following Saturday’s opener, the Fire return to action next Saturday for their home opener against Real Salt Lake, while the Crew visit Houston to take on the Dynamo that same day.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Although his team couldn’t protect the lead, Justin Meram was the most dangerous player on the field as he caused the Fire fits throughout the match.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The Fire struggled to find their footing until David Accam finally broke through. The forward took control of the ball in the box and shook his way to an open look, earning his team a point.
MATCH TO FORGET
For the Crew to contend, the team will need Federico Higuain to step up. He didn’t on Saturday as he looked just a bit slow throughout his time on the field.