After dominating the Columbus Crew for 90 minutes, it seemed that it was going to be yet another one of those days for the Fire. Another scoreless draw and another week without a win, a feeling everyone associated with the club has been forced to get used to the past two and a half months. Up stepped substitute Christian Nazarit in the 90th minute, however, to fire home the winning goal after some fine play by fellow substitute Orr Barrouch to give the Fire a very vital three points.
Domination – Despite being on the road for the second consecutive match, it simply didn’t feel like an away match. For starters, 400 supporters from Section 8 made the trip down to Columbus and really made their presence felt. Chants of ‘Chicago Fire’ drowned out any noise the Crew supporters attempted to make. The Fire responded to the support and dominated play for the majority of the 90 minutes, creating several good scoring opportunities in the first half and preventing the Crew from getting anything going on the attacking end. The Fire started the second half where they left off in the first half, dominating possession and creating chances aplenty. Columbus failed to really test Sean Johnson and there only ever looked like being one winner. In the end, the Fire got what they deserved by capping off a commanding performance with a goal that ended a 321 minute scoring drought. The faces of the Fire players and coaches, as well as the traveling supporters, was evidence of just how much that goal meant.
Off the mark – Christian Nazarit couldn’t have asked for a better time to score his first goal for the club. The goal may have been down to a great dribble in the box and good shot on goal by Barrouch, but Nazarit was at the right place at the right time to slot the crucial goal from close range. And after scoring such a dramatic winner, it will be interesting to see how much that goal boosts his confidence. Don’t expect Nazarit to start banging in the goals, but look for him to tally a few more goals in the upcoming weeks.
Section 8 – After making the trip to Kansas City on Thursday, Section 8 hopped back on the bus on Sunday morning to head to Columbus, Ohio to make their presence felt once again. Section 8 drowned out the rest of Crew stadium for parts of the match and proved once again why the Chicago Fire have the best supporters in the MLS. They fully deserved to see a win today and I’m happy they got one. So much for the home side having a 12th man.
Another clean sheet – It’s three clean sheets in a row for Sean Johnson and the Chicago Fire. After seeing the team ship too many to start off the campaign, it’s extremely satisfying to see the team performing admirably in defense. Cory Gibbs and Yamith Cuesta were solid once again at the heart of defense, while Gonzalo Segares continued in his rich vein of form. The main standout for me today though was Jalil Anibaba. Drafted back into the starting lineup in place of Bratislav Ristic, Anibaba put in a fantastic performance and was a nightmare for the Crew to go up against at times. The 22-year-old made several crunching tackles and surely deserves another place in the starting eleven next week at New England.
Filling the void – With Marco Pappa away on international duty, the Fire needed someone to step up in his place. Patrick Nyarko answered the call today. Making his first start since suffering a concussion earlier in the season, Nyarko was a constant threat down the left wing and did well on a number of occasions to get to the byline and create opportunities for Chaves and Puerari. After a great performance, Nyarko was deservingly named the man of the match.