COLUMBUS CREW SC DRESSING ROOM
MATCH RECAP: COLUMBUS CREW SC 1, CHICAGO FIRE 1
Ethan Finlay scores his first goal of the season and 30th career tally in draw against Chicago Fire in Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium;
Mohammed Abu, Artur, Jonathan Mensah, Jukka Raitala and Zack Steffen all make their Crew SC and Major League Soccer debuts
For Immediate Release: March 4, 2017
Columbus Crew SC 1 – Chicago Fire 1
MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Saturday, March 4, 2017
NEXT MATCH FOR CREW SC (0-0-1, 1 point)
Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo (BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas)
Saturday, March 11, 2017 (8:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
MEDIA RESOURCES AVAILABLE
FULL BOX SCORE: http://bit.ly/2mo4vHG
TEAM STATISTICS: http://bit.ly/2mRmB2n
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: http://bit.ly/2lJrZmx
HEAR FROM SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER IN POST-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: http://bit.ly/2n0f5l8
AUDIO FROM MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM: http://bit.ly/2n0f5l8
TODAY’S MATCH INFO:
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistants: Danny Thornberry, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik
Weather: 35 degrees and partly cloudy
CLB – Ethan Finlay (Justin Meram) 17’
CHI – David Accam (John Goossens) 71’
CLB – Federico Higuain (caution) 41’
CHI – John Goossens (caution) 81’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Harrison Afful, Nico Naess, Jonathan Mensah, Jukka Raitala; Mohammed Abu (Artur 76’), Wil Trapp ©; Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram; Ola Kamara (Adam Jahn 69’)
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Alex Crognale, Hector Jimenez, Connor Maloney, Niko Hansen
Chicago Fire: Jorge Bava; Michael Harrington, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent; Arturo Alvarez (Luis Solignac 74’), Dax McCarty, John Goossens (Drew Conner 90+5’), David Accam; Nemanja Nikolic (David Arkashyan 90+2’), Michael de Leeuw ©
Substitutes not used: Matt Lampson, Brandt Bronico, Jonathan Campbell, Patrick Doody
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made his regular-season debut for the club today …. Steffen signed with Columbus Crew SC as a Discovery Signing on July 22, 2016.
In addition to Zack Steffen’s debut, four other players made their Crew SC and MLS debuts today, including starts by defender Jukka Raitala, defender Jonathan Mensah and midfielder Mohammed Abu as well as a substitute appearance for midfielder Artur.
Midfielder Wil Trapp made his first appearance for the Black & Gold since being named team captain and his 94th regular-season appearance overall (91ststart).
Midfielder Ethan Finlay scored his 30th career goal and made his 132nd regular-season appearance (89th start).
Midfielder Justin Meram provided his 27th career assist and made his 155th regular-season appearance for the club (103rd start).
Crew SC next plays on Saturday, March 11 when it travels to BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo (8:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
COLUMBUS CREW SC GAME NOTES:
The Fire lead the all-time league series with Columbus, holding a 24-17-18 record against Crew SC. Though Chicago haven’t beaten Crew SC in league play since June of 2013, they have a history of decent results at MAPFRE, having won 10 times and earned 8 draws in 29 all-time league visits – leading some of their fans to dub the venue “Firehouse East.”
CLB-CHI All-Time Meetings (59 matches since June 6, 1998):
- at Chicago (30 meetings): Fire lead 14-6-10 (46-36 in goals)
- at Columbus (29 meetings): Crew lead 11-10-8 (52-38 in goals)
|Oct 13, 2016||CHI||2 - 2||CLB|
|Oct 1, 2016||CLB||3 - 0||CHI|
|Mar 19, 2016||CHI||0 - 0||CLB|
|Jul 19, 2015||CLB||3 - 1||CHI|
|Jul 15, 2015||CHI||0 - 1||CLB|
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Cristian Martinez (Panama U-20s)
- Injury Report: Gaston Sauro (knee injury, out for season), Waylon Francis (right shoulder surgery), Abuchi Obinwa (left thigh strain), Ola Kamara (concussion symptoms)
The offseason departure of Steve Clark has opened up Crew SC’s No. 1 goalkeeping role, with US youth international Zack Steffen competing with Brad Stuver for the starting nod … Berhalter has hinted at the use of a three-man back line, and Crew SC may use a 3-4-3 look when chasing games. But for now they look set to keep faith in the width-oriented 4-2-3-1 that prospered in 2015 … Winter signings Artur, Jukka Raitala and Mohammed Abu were signed to vie for starting roles but all are new to MLS and may be given time to adapt.
CHICAGO FIRE GAME NOTES
Chicago have made dramatic changes to their roster this winter (nine players in, nine out) after two consecutive last-place finishes in the Eastern Conference, headlined by moves for midfielders Dax McCarty and Juninho and the signing of prolific finisher Nemanja Nikolic as a Designated Player.
Coach Veljko Paunovic and general manager Nelson Rodriguez have confessed to feeling keen pressure to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2017, something the Fire have done just once this decade.
- Suspended: Juninho (Pre-Existing Suspension)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: Matt Polster (right knee strain), Matt Lampson (left knee sprain)
Thus far in preseason Paunovic has leaned towards a 4-4-2 shape that often trends towards a 4-4-1-1
The Fire have the room, resources and desire to make further roster moves; veteran English fullback Ryan Taylor is in town on trial at present. GM Nelson Rodriguez said this week that Chicago have “the latitude, the cap space, the budget space and the resources” to sign a third Designated Player alongside Accam and Nikolic if the circumstances are right.
GAME NOTES, RECAP, WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW COMMUNICATIONS