It’s one of the biggest rivalries in Major League Soccer and it’s getting the stage it deserves – on national television under floodlights.
When Columbus Crew SC (4-4-2, 14 points) welcomes the Chicago Fire (3-5-1, 10 points) at MAPFRE Stadium at 8 p.m. this Friday, soccer fans across the country will tune in to Univision Deportes for an Eastern Conference clash that promises to be entertaining.
Crew SC has scored 10 goals in its past three home matches and is looking for its fifth win in six matches at MAPFRE Stadium. No other side in MLS has put on a better show for its crowd as Crew SC has outscored opponents 13-5 at home this season. The club's home goal differential of plus-eight is the best such mark in MLS, and its 13 home goals lead the League.
The Black & Gold boast of the League's leading goal-scorer, forward Kei Kamara (7), and top assist-generator, midfielder Ethan Finlay (5). Crew SC has scored at least three goals in each of its last three home matches, tying for the second-longest streak in club history of home matches notching at least three goals.
On Friday, for their first nationally televised match this season, the Black & Gold will face one of their fiercest rivals with the Chicago Fire, a team that has experienced a rollercoaster ride of a season and is looking to bounce back from a three-game winless streak.
Chicago has proven to be a difficult opponent for Columbus over the years. Crew SC is 14-24-14 against the Fire all-time, with a 9-10-6 record at home. But the Black & Gold are unbeaten in their last three meetings against the Fire, including a 1-0-1 mark last season. The sides have met once in postseason play: the 2008 Eastern Conference Championship, which saw the Black & Gold win by a 2-1 final at MAPFRE Stadium en route to their first MLS Cup title.
Match 53 between the two teams marks the first time Crew SC will host Chicago for a Friday-night lights clash. In fact, the Black & Gold have played only 15 Friday matches in their history, with this weekend’s contest marking the club’s first in over four years.
While Chicago holds the overall series advantage, the Black & Gold take names when it comes to games on national television. Crew SC has won six of its last 10 nationally broadcast matches, including a 2-1 victory over the Fire in 2012.
Aiming to further improve that record, the Black & Gold are counting on their home crowd’s support on Friday. If you’re still looking for tickets, get them here. Take advantage of the Crew SC Beer + Brat Pack (2 tickets, 2 beers and 2 brats, starting at $30 a person) and the After Work Happy Hour ($4 beers + $2 hot dogs) and then cheer your Black & Gold to victory!
If you can’t make it to MAPFRE Stadium, tune in to Univision Deportes or Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. For instructions on how to watch the match in English via SAP, visit www.mlssoccer.com/sap. You can also catch the match on the radio on CD102.5 FM or 103.1 FM La Mega.