Know Your Opponent: Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire Quick Facts:
 
Regular Season Record: 5-9-3
Points: 18
Goal Differential: -5
Eastern Conference Rank: 10th
Total Shots: 250 (6th in MLS)
Last Five Matches: 1-3-1
Home Record: 5-4-0
 
Columbus Crew SC is taking on a familiar opponent twice this week. The Black & Gold visit the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Wednesday, only to turn back around and play host to the Eastern Conference rivals this Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium.
 
After earning one point in their previous four MLS matches, the Chicago Fire had a strong showing last weekend, defeating the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders 1-0 at Toyota Park thanks to a stoppage-time goal from substitute forward Jason Johnson – an all-too-familiar name for Crew SC.
 
The last time the Black & Gold played Chicago, Jason Johnson came through in extra time with a clutch equalizer as both clubs played to a 2-2 draw on May 22 at MAPFRE Stadium. Johnson has tallied two goals this season for the Fire, both occurring after the 90th minute.
Coming off the win against Seattle, the Fire look to keep the momentum rolling against a Crew SC team seeking to improve its record at Toyota Park.
 
Chicago holds a 14-5-8 all-time advantage over Black & Gold at home, though this year the Fire has seen mixed results in Bridgeview with five wins and four losses.
 
Currently ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, the Fire have shown their quality, but have also struggled finding the back of the net. Chicago is ninth in the League in shots on goal, yet tied for 17th in goals scored. They have found the back of the net 12 times at Toyota Park this season, with 50 percent coming from open play scenarios while still showcasing a healthy blend of goals from set pieces and counter-attacks.
 
Chicago midfielder David Accam and defender Jeff Larentowicz lead the team in goals scored with four each, despite Accam making only nine appearances this season. Midfielder Harry Shipp leads the team in assists with five while firing off 37 shots, the most shots of any Fire member. Forward Mike Magee, the 2013 MLS MVP, started his first match in almost a year against the Sounders, following knee and hip surgery in 2014.
 
For opponents playing in Bridgeview, it’s been a win-or-lose scenario as the Fire haven’t played to a draw at home since October 5, 2014, going 6-4-0 in home regular season matches.
 
With an all-time record of 24-14-15 against Crew SC, Chicago has stood as a historically tough opponent for the Black & Gold. As Columbus aims to turn the page on a disappointing road result in Montreal, it is looking for its 15th win against the Fire come Wednesday night. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.
 
Catch the action on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, CD 102.5 FM or La Mega 103.1 FM.

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