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For Hate’s Sake: Columbus Crew 1, Chicago Fire 1, MLS Game Recap

A late equalizer steals a point against our longtime rivals

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew 1 Santos 27’

Chicago Fire 1 Frankowski 90+4’

Years ago, when I was going through a really difficult time, a friend gave me some very useful advice.

“Find the faintest sliver of hope you can grab on to and cling to it. And if you can’t find hope, spite will do just fine.”

I think about that a lot every time I have to write one of these recaps.

So stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fire showed some promise early in the first half, with good possession and good chances, but couldn’t make the most of that thin advantage. No, seriously, stop me if you’ve heard this before, I’m tired of writing this exact same story every game.

Anyway, it was only a matter of time before the Fire’s wastefulness came back to haunt them. That came fairly early on, when Pedro Santos put the hosts in front in the 27th minute.

The Fire made some vague attempts to pull themselves back into the game in the latter part of the half but, and I’m sure this will shock you, they could not manage to get an equalizer. 1-0 at HT.

Things did not improve through the second half. Once again, some solid spells of possession and isolated promising attacks failed to yield an equalizer, or indeed a credible threat of one. When Pauno took off Nico Gaitán in the 67th minute— removing one of our better attacking players when he didn’t look particularly tired— it felt a bit like waving the white flag. The closest chance the Fire got was a goalmouth scramble around the 80th minute that ended in a desperate clearance.

The game threatened to play out as you’d expect. I had started to write the outro, lamenting yet another game in which Chicago played as though they had checked out for the season.

And then Przemysław Frankowski did this, and I had to delete a whole goddamn paragraph.

Obviously, nothing is materially different with the result. The season is still over. The best thing Pauno could’ve done tonight was play the kids, and he didn’t do it. And a draw against our fiercest rivals doesn’t quite cut it— even if the equalizer was good for spite. But that measure of spite is something, at least. We need something to make this all worth it. Might as well be that.

The Chicago Fire (8W 10D 12L, 34pts, 10th place) are, mercifully, off next week for the international break. They’re back at it at home on Sept. 14th against FC Dallas.