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Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 0: First Thoughts

The Fire FINALLY get their first win of 2018!

MLS: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire 1 Nikolic 27’

Columbus Crew 0

  • Lineups are here!
  • Pregame thought 1: So, uh. Wow. That lineup is certainly A Choice. A 3-4-1-2 setup, Basti as a defender, Campos as the #10, Nikolic in a strike partnership with Alan “I Love Yelling Homophobic Slurs At My Opponents In The Middle Of A Game” Gordon, and Katai on the bench. Either this is going to be the jolt we need to break out of the funk, or this is going to be an unmitigated disaster.
  • Pregame thought 2: Kiiiiiiiiinda leaning toward the Unmitigated Disaster option tbh. I don’t see this working out well for us. I will be delighted to be proven wrong.
  • Pregame thought 3: Remember last year when we didn’t go into every game with a palpable sense of dread? Good times.
  • Let’s goooooooooooooooooooooooo
  • 6’ Pretty spicy game in the opening few minutes. Both teams with a decent shot on goal and Kap has a yellow card. They’re both going for it. Good.
  • 15’ So the Fire definitely look more organized tonight. Their attack also looks a teensy bit better, even if it’s not entirely clicking.
  • 20’ Campos is doing okay as the #10 but he needs to communicate better with Niko.
  • 27’ Steffen fucked up and hit a pass meant to a defender right at Niko. Our guy did what he always does. I love it.
  • 28’ Tchani goes down with a knock. He looks fine, but he has to sit on the touchline for a minute or so.
  • 30’ Campos gets a layoff in a dangerous position but he can’t get his feet right to capitalize.
  • 34’ Kap gives the ball away cheap in the Fire’s defensive third, serving it up on a plat for Zardes. Ellis manages to step in to kill the attack, but, yikes.
  • 40’ Apparently Alan Gordon puked on himself a few minutes ago. Which is very relatable, given that’s how I feel every time I see him in a Fire shirt.
  • 42’ Columbus comes very close to their first goal thanks to some gawdawful set piece defending.
  • 44’ Higuain is played through and hits a shot, which Sanchez barely manages to tip over the bar. I’m emotionally preparing myself for a 1-1 score at halftime.
  • 45’ Campos steals the ball after a CLB corner kick and makes a lung-busting run to the other end of the pitch. No one’s there to receive a pass and the attack fizzles out, but good hustle nonetheless.
  • Halftime! CHI 1-0 CLB
  • Halftime thought 1: Alright, not bad. Not bad at all. If we can keep this up and make fewer dumb mistakes, we might actually win this thing.
  • Halftime thought 2: For some stupid reason they’re interviewing Noted Homophobic Slur Enthusiast Alan Gordon on the touchline. Hey Paul, ask him why he loves calling people ‘f*ggot’ so much.
  • Second half is underway!
  • 47’ Artur picks up an early yellow.
  • 49’ Basti is back in the midfield, playing something resembling a 4-3-3.
  • 50’ Whatever pep talk the Crew heard in the locker room at halftime did not have the intended effect. They’ve been incredibly sloppy in the opening minutes of the half.
  • 54’ Haha shoulda knocked on wood, Zardes makes a run down the right flank and hits a low cross to Higuain, who almost squeezes it inside the near post.
  • 55’ But the subsequent corner comes to nothing and leads directly into a Fire counterattack. Campos with another blazing run. I think this kid’s gonna turn out alright.
  • 58’ Fire almost score on a corner, Crew survive and launch a counterattack, which nearly gives That Yellow Team the equalizer.
  • 59’ This game definitely isn’t boring!
  • 64’ Grant Lillard makes his professional and MLS debut, coming in for Kevin Ellis.
  • 65’ Ellis picked up a knock and needed to come off anyway. Hope he’s okay. Still, excited to see Lillard’s debut!
  • 67’ Meanwhile the Crew have had a string of corner kicks. Trying to increase pressure on the Fire’s back end.
  • 68’ <thinky emoji>
  • 69’ Tchani boops a pass forward, setting up a foot race between Niko and Steffen in no-man’s land. Steffen wins— barely— but it was a good try.
  • 71’ Collier comes in for Campos. Dude put in a good shift. Don’t be surprised if we name him MOTM this week.
  • 72’ Zardes gets a shot past Sanchez but it hits the underside of the crossbar and bounces out. Y I K E S
  • 75’ Columbus get the ball in the back of Sanchez’ net but the offside flag is up. Hoo boy.
  • 77’ The visitors hit the woodwork again. This is bad. Really bad.
  • 78’ The Homophobic Slur Appreciator has logged off, with Brandt Bronico checking in to the game.
  • 80’ Fire are just barely hanging on here. Need a second goal.
  • 84’ Sanchez has been marginally better tonight but his distribution is still really off.
  • 88’ Crew are focusing less on counterattacking and more on keeping possession in the Fire’s defensive third and piling on pressure. Santos collects a bad clearance and hits a shot that just barely misses.
  • 90’ Hansen follows up with another near-miss. Four minutes of stoppage time. If the Fire can hang on we get our first win of the season.
  • 92’ Both teams look pretty gassed right now.
  • 94’ Fire playing keepaway, Crew getting ornery in their attempts to get the ball back. One last long FK comes to nothing. Niko gets a yellow for time-wasting. Good stuff.
  • Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Final score: CHI 1-0 CLB
  • Final Whistle Thought: Finally!!! Three points and a clean sheet against That Yellow Team. Man, this feels great!

Stay tuned for more postgame coverage and a full recap here on Hot Time In Old Town. In the meantime, join the conversation in the comments or on social media.