The Chicago Fire finally cracked Columbus Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum in the 83rd minute to win their second match of the season on Saturday. Gruenebaum, who saw Chicago generate more than twenty scoring opportunities on the day, stopped shot after shot but was finally foiled when the Fire connected on series of headers stemming from a long throw-in.
The match was fairly slow through the first half, as the teams combined for a half-dozen half-decent chances before the break. Chicago turned up the heat after halftime, generating six attempts by themselves in the first dozen minutes of the second half. Gruenebaum proved the equal of every opportunity, under constant bombardment but preventing his team from falling behind at every turn.
The winning play built out of a long heave into the box by Jalil Anibaba, where the ball found the head of Austin Berry. The defender flicked the ball into the path of the onrushing Jeff Larentowicz. Streaking in to meet the pass, Larentowicz redirected with his head into the net and Chicago had the lead they had fought to steal all night long.
There was simply nothing the goalkeeper could do on the play, but Gruenebaum had nothing to hang his head about despite suffering the loss in the match. Without him, a Crew team that failed to put a single shot on Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson would have had absolutely no reason to think about even a draw on their trip to the Windy City.
COLUMBUS CREW @ CHICAGO FIRE
April 20, 2013
- 83′ — CHI/Jeff Larentowicz (Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba)
- CHI (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson; Gonzalo Segares, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Wells Thompson; Logan Pause, Jeff Larentowicz; Joel Lindpere (Dilly Duka/82′), Chris Rolfe, Patrick Nyarko (Dan Paladini/87′); Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos/78′)
- CLB (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum; Tyson Wahl, Glauber, Chad Marshall, Josh Williams; Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta/65′), Agustin Viana, Danny O’Rourke (Kevan George/82′), Eddie Gaven; Federico Higuain; Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay/76′)