MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
08/01/2014 2:46 PM
08/01/2014 2:50 PM
Columbus (6-7-8) at Chicago (3-5-12), 8:30 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Fire will be aiming to collect a rare win on Saturday against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park as the team continues its three-game homestand.
The Fire played to a 12th draw this season on Wednesday in a 0-0 stalemate with Vancouver to open the homestand, and with just three wins in 20 league games this season, the objective for Frank Yallop's team is clear on Saturday.
"Trying to get a win is the next plan. It is what it is. We're obviously not ready to go and take a game over and win, because we would've done that by now," Yallop said after the draw with the Whitecaps. "Not losing is sometimes a good thing, but at this point in the season we need to win. I think that tonight was a good opportunity to do that, and we didn't quite do it. I thought we played a pretty good game all around, without being really dynamic in the final third; and that's what wins games."
Yallop's side has struggled in front of goal for the past month, failing to score more than one goal in any of its six games in July. And against a Columbus side that has won back-to-back games, the Fire may have a tough time getting back into the win column.
The Crew endured a seven-game winless skid that lasted from the beginning of June through the middle of July before a pair of 2-1 wins helped Gregg Berhalter's side climb into the top five in the Eastern Conference.
Columbus notched a win at New England last time out with Federico Higuain scoring from the penalty spot before the Revs equalized in the 50th minute through A.J. Soares.
But Berhalter said that he went for the win when he brought on substitute Justin Meram, who assisted on the winning goal in the 84th minute for Ethan Finlay.
"We think (Justin Meram) can be a guy that starts the games. But when he doesn't, we know what he can bring," said Berhalter. "We know how dangerous he is, how talented he is and he can make a play. So we put them in purely to win the game. We made two subs and we didn't want a tie. We wanted to win. That's the attitude we have. That's what type of soccer we try to play: be aggressive, be offensive. We make moves like that to win."
Since starting the season with three straight wins, Berhalter's men have managed just three more wins in their last 18 league matches. But a third successive win would keep the Crew firmly in the playoff mix, while Chicago sits five points out and is just as desperate for three points.
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