Columbus Crew SC produced plenty of scoring chances, but fell short to the Chicago Fire, 1-0, on Saturday night in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago's Nemanja Nikolic scored the eventual game-winner in the 27th minute, taking advantage of a rare off-target pass playing out of the back. Nikolic pounced on the ball and slotted it into the net for his fourth goal in as many matches.
Crew SC's barrage of attacks sparked hope, but the ball rattled the crossbar and posts rather than bulging the net. Still near the top of the Eastern Conference, in fourth place with 10 points, Crew SC prepares for another road trip to the nation’s capital to face D.C. United next Saturday.
The usual suspects from Weeks 1-3 started for Crew SC, with the exception of a switch at center back to give Josh Williams his first start of the season. As the Black & Gold pressed for an equalizer, they fired 20 shots and won 10 corners, but couldn't find theanswer despite out-possessing (63 percent) and out-passing (82 percent) Chicago.
Midfielder Federico Higuain hit yet another milestone for Crew SC, starting in his 150th regular-season career match. Higuain played all 90 minutes, took two shots (one on goal) and created a goal-scoring chance. The veteran Argentine has 50 goals and 51 assists over the span of his historical career with the Black & Gold.
Next, Crew SC plays D.C. United at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on April 14, at 7 p.m. ET
- Midfielder Federico Higuain made his 150th regular-season start for Crew SC in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. Higuain played all 90 minutes and took two shots (one on goal) during the match. Since joining the Black & Gold in 2012, Higuain has made 155 regular-season appearances (150 starts), scoring 50 goals and providing 51 assists.
- Josh Williams made his first start of the 2018 MLS regular-season in tonight’s match at Toyota Park. Williams played 89 minutes and made 81 touches, the second-most for Crew SC. Similarly, he was second in passing accuracy on the day, completing 70 passes with a 88.6% completion percentage. In 2018, Williams has made two appearances (one start) in regular-season action. Overall, Williams has made 95 regular-season appearances (85 starts) for the Black & Gold, while registering seven goals and five assists since 2010.
- Artur made his 25th regular-season start for Crew SC in tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire. He played 57 minutes and made 58 touches while connecting on 44 passes. He also had the club’s third-highest passing accuracy with 86.2%. In 2018, Artur has made six appearances (all starts) in regular-season action, providing two assists. Since joining the club in 2017, Artur has made 29 regular-season appearances (25 starts) while providing five assists.
- Crew SC’s undefeated streak on the road in regular-season action ends at six games with tonight’s 1-0 loss. The Black & Gold’s last loss on the road came over eight months ago in a road contest against the San Jose Earthquakes on August 5, 2017 by a score of 2-1. Over that span, Crew SC compiled a record of 2-0-4.
- Nemanja Nikolic’s goal in the 27th minute brought an end to Crew SC’s 252-minute regular-season road shutout streak, which dated back to October 22, 2017 when Columbus tied against New York City FC 2-2 in a road contest. Since that span, the Black & Gold had outscored their opponents on the road 3-0.
- With his start in tonight’s match, Zack Steffen surpassed Brad Friedel to take sole possession of seventh place on Crew SC’s list of all-time regular-season starts and appearances (39) for a goalkeeper.
- Up next, Crew SC heads to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for its match on April 14th against D.C. United (7:00 p.m. ET /CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, English radio stream and Spanish audio broadcast available on ColumbusCrewSC.com.)