Crew SC downs Fire 3-1

Two clubs with a long history in Major League Soccer met once again at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night. The Chicago Fire came to town to meet Columbus Crew SC in a match that ended 3-1 in favor of the Black & Gold thanks to late goals by midfielder Justin Meram and forward Ola Kamara and a first-half equalizer by Kekuta Manneh.

Despite heavy possession and attack by Crew SC in the early minutes, Chicago scored first on a headed ball by midfielder Michael de Leeuw in just the 13th minute. De Leeuw redirected a floated assist by Chicago midfielder Dax McCarty for the goal and 1-0 lead.

Crew SC’s Manneh struck for Columbus in the 18th minute when a loose ball after a long shot by Artur ended up at Manneh’s feet in the box. The winger put a masterful first touch and the ball and chipped it home over Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson to bring the tally even at 1-1.

The goal was the 25th of Manneh’s MLS career and the third of this season, his first with Crew SC.

The attacking by both teams quieted to a lull through the remainder of the first half and into the second half until Crew SC defender Waylon Francis sent a cross into the box in the 73rd minute. The cross was found by Meram and booted into the center of the net to give the Black & Gold the 2-1 lead and eventual victory.

Wil Trapp was credited with a secondary assist for supplying the ball to Francis. The primary assist was the first of the 2017 season for Francis. The goal was Meram’s 10th of the season, raising his career high for goals in a single campaign.

Meram has scored five game-winning goals this season. The late score not only won the match, but also went down in history as the 1,000th regular-season MLS goal scored in the history of Crew SC.

Kamara was fouled in the box in the 88th minute when Lampson went low on the forward. Kamara was awarded a penalty kick where he used misdirection to his advantage against the keeper of the Fire and clinched the 3-1 victory.

Kamara’s team-leading 12th goal this season came in his 50th career appearance as a member of Crew SC.

The Black & Gold recorded more shots on target (4-3) and off target (5-4) against the Fire in the match while also winning more duels (40-37) and tackles (17-10) than the visitors.

Columbus (11-12-2, 35 points) gained some ground and moved up to fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, while Chicago (12-6-5, 41 points) remained in second place for the time-being.

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