Black & Gold to open away stretch with stop in Windy City

Crew SC is opening a stretch of three away matches with a trip to the Windy City this Saturday to face long-time rival, the Chicago Fire.

“It’s going to be huge,” striker Kei Kamara says of the Eastern Conference clash. “If we can come back home with three points from Chicago, it’s going to be really, really massive for us and can kick-start something.”

While Crew SC is in need of a result after losing its first two matches of the season, Kamara expects a tough Chicago side looking to make things difficult for the Black & Gold.

“They’re going to be ready for it, looking to get all three points in their house, and knowing the fact that we’ve lost two games in a row, they’re going to think they can take advantage of that,” he says. “For us, we just have to keep composure, maintain the things we’ve been doing and correct a couple of the mistakes that we’ve had, and hopefully we can go forward with less mistakes.”

Both Crew SC and the Fire are seeking their first win of the season. Chicago (0-1-1) drew with Orlando City SC 1-1 last weekend, while Columbus (0-2-0) dropped its home opener to the Philadelphia Union 2-1.

It was a frustrating outcome as the match was there for Crew SC to win. Possession and scoring opportunities have been prevalent, as the Black & Gold fired off 19 shots in each of their first two matches.

Kamara opened his scoring account against Philly, as did Federico Higuaín in the season opener against Portland. After finishing as one of the highest-scoring clubs in MLS last year, Kamara says more goals are going to come.

“The goals are going to come from different individuals and we just have to keep creating. That’s the good thing about us creating chances. We create chances, the goals are going to come and we’re not stressed out, we’re not worried about all that.”

On the other side of the ball, defense in transition will be critical against Chicago. Led by a new coach, the Fire are a different team compared to last season, but its duo of speedy strikers David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike remains intact. While both Portland and Philadelphia played conservatively to try and break down Crew SC on the counterattack, it will be interesting to see if the Fire take a similar approach.

“I think it’s going to be a very complicated game overall. Chicago’s a very good team that plays fast and we have to have a lot of respect for them,” defender Gaston Sauro says. “It’s going to be very important that we all play together and play as a team to not give them enough space to run and build up that speed that they can build so well.”

The Fire struggled to quicken the pace against Orlando City, but they played down a man for nearly 60 minutes. A 1-1 draw was a decent result considering the circumstances and boasts an impressive defensive performance. However, Saturday will be a tough test for the home team as the Fire haven’t beaten Crew SC in their last six meetings.

“We know that this is a big rivalry for Columbus,” Sauro says. “It’s very important to the fans, but we’re going to approach it with the same mentality and same style of play that we know how to do. And we’re just going to go out there and try to do our best to get three points for Columbus. “

Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET. and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and FOX-28.


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