For the second week in a row, the Chicago Fire were able to snap a six-game unbeaten streak.
The Men in Red defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 on two first half goals from Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro. Defender Gonzalo Segares picked up a red card midway through the first half, which led to a Tony Tchani goal for the visiting Crew, but it was not enough for the visitors as Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson made a number to crucial saves to preserve the victory for the Men in Red.
In what may have been midfielder Sebastian Grazzini's final match at Toyota Park, the fourth-place Fire moved up to 24 points in the Eastern Conference, putting them five points clear of the Crew and three points behind third-place New York Red Bulls.
For the second match in a row, the Men in Red got off to a quick start.
Midfielder Marco Pappa gave the Fire the lead in the second minute off a remarkable right-footed 30-yard bomb into the upper right corner to give the home side a 1-0 lead. The goal was Pappa's fourth of the MLS season and perhaps silenced critics of the oft-controversial Guatemalan midfielder.
Forward Dominic Oduro could have doubled the Fire's advantage in the 20th minute. Midfielder Sebastian Grazzini played through Oduro, but the Ghanaian striker could not find the net as he pulled his shot wide.
But in the 26th minute, Oduro redeemed himself.
Once again, Grazzini found Oduro who was able to slot a low ball past Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum to give the club a two-goal lead for the second time in two weeks. The goal was Dominic's 5th (should be 6th) goal of the season as the Fire continued to heap misery upon the Crew.
The visiting side caught a real break in the 29th minute when Fire defender Gonzalo Segares made a harsh sliding tackle on midfielder Kevan George. Referee Armando Villareal wasted no time reaching for a red card to reduce the Fire to ten men. The ejection was Segares' third in MLS action and his first since 2010.
The Crew wasted little time cutting the lead in half.
In the 36th minute, Crew midfielder Tony Tchani found space on the right side and was able to get past Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo and put the ball under goalie Sean Johnson to make it a 2-1 match. The goal was Tchani's first of the season.
Neither team made a substitution at halftime as the Fire looked to hang on to their lead while a man down as the Crew pressured to get a result.
The Crew continued to press forward and nearly tied the match in the 57th minute. Defender Andy Williams found space for a header off a Nemanja Vukovic cross, but Johnson made an excellent reactionary diving save to keep the Fire in front.
The Fire brought on forward Chris Rolfe for Grazzini in the 59th minute as the Men in Red showed they weren't just going to sit back and defend. As he headed to the bench, Grazzini revealed a shirt reading, Thanks Chicago underneath his jersey, which was likely an indication that the Argentinean playmaker has played his final match at Toyota Park.
It looked as if the Fire had earned a penalty in the 61st minute as Oduro looked to be tackled in the box by Crew defender Julius James. But the referee Villareal, who had been calling a very loose game so far minus the Segares red card, refused to point to the spot.
Shortly after, Villareal did issue a yellow card to George in the 66th minute for a tackle on Oduro near midfield.
Arne Friedrich made his return to the Fire in the 72nd minute as he replaced midfielder Patrick Nyarko in a defensive tactical substitution. Friedrich had been out since May 12 with a right hamstring strain.
The controversial at times midfielder Rafael Robayo came on for Oduro in the 80th minute as the Fire looked to hang on to their slim advantage.
Fire defender Dan Gargan picked up a yellow card in the 85th minute for time wasting as the Fire continued to hang on to the lead.
The Crew continued to send long balls into the Fire half, but it wasn't enough as the Fire were able to exact some revenge on the club that beat them by the same 2-1 scoreline back on May 26 in Ohio.
The Crew came into the match on a six game unbeaten streak in MLS play. This included a 2-1 win over the Fire at Crew Stadium back in May.
The Fire came into this match off a 3-1 win against the New York Red Bulls. They are in action next against Sporting KC next Friday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. That match will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.