MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014
(All times Eastern)
Columbus (6-7-8) at Chicago (3-5-12), 8:30 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Fire will be aiming to
collect a rare win on Saturday against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park as the
team continues its three-game homestand.
The Fire played to a 12th draw this season on Wednesday in a 0-0 stalemate
with Vancouver to open the homestand, and with just three wins in 20 league
games this season, the objective for Frank Yallop's team is clear on Saturday.
"Trying to get a win is the next plan. It is what it is. We're obviously not
ready to go and take a game over and win, because we would've done that by
now," Yallop said after the draw with the Whitecaps. "Not losing is sometimes
a good thing, but at this point in the season we need to win. I think that
tonight was a good opportunity to do that, and we didn't quite do it. I
thought we played a pretty good game all around, without being really dynamic
in the final third; and that's what wins games."
Yallop's side has struggled in front of goal for the past month, failing to
score more than one goal in any of its six games in July. And against a
Columbus side that has won back-to-back games, the Fire may have a tough time
getting back into the win column.
The Crew endured a seven-game winless skid that lasted from the beginning of
June through the middle of July before a pair of 2-1 wins helped Gregg
Berhalter's side climb into the top five in the Eastern Conference.
Columbus notched a win at New England last time out with Federico Higuain
scoring from the penalty spot before the Revs equalized in the 50th minute
through A.J. Soares.
But Berhalter said that he went for the win when he brought on substitute
Justin Meram, who assisted on the winning goal in the 84th minute for Ethan
"We think (Justin Meram) can be a guy that starts the games. But when he
doesn't, we know what he can bring," said Berhalter. "We know how dangerous he
is, how talented he is and he can make a play. So we put them in purely to win
the game. We made two subs and we didn't want a tie. We wanted to win. That's
the attitude we have. That's what type of soccer we try to play: be
aggressive, be offensive. We make moves like that to win."
Since starting the season with three straight wins, Berhalter's men have
managed just three more wins in their last 18 league matches. But a third
successive win would keep the Crew firmly in the playoff mix, while Chicago
sits five points out and is just as desperate for three points.
08/01 14:40:22 ET