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Chicago Fire Squander 2-Goal Lead in 3-2 Loss to Columbus Crew

Photo: Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire allowed three second-half goals in a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Soldier Field.

Derek Etienne Jr. scored on a breakaway in the 63rd minute and tied it 2-2 in the 75th minute. Juan “Cucho” Hernández, who left Watford to sign a $10 million deal, scored the game-winner in the 83rd minute in his MLS debut for the Crew (6-5-7, 25 points).

Chicago Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson also subbed out Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) in the 80th minute because the Swiss midfielder requested to be pulled from the match.

Any hope of a Fire (4-10-5, 17 points) comeback ended in the 90th minute when defender Miguel Navarro received a red card.

Chris Mueller had a goal and an assist in the first half for Chicago, which is last in the MLS. The Schaumburg native played a corner short to Shaqiri, overlapped him, and curled the ball into the box for captain Rafael Czichos, who made it 1-0 in the 26th. Mueller scored his second goal of the season at the far post in the 41st.

Quotables

Hendrickson: “We didn’t fight back; we didn’t fight in the second half at all. We just laid down and let them pass right through us, run by us. When you do that, teams punish you. [There’s] absolutely no excuse to lose a game at home like that, up 2-0 at halftime when all you have to do is manage the game, make sure the team doesn’t score and you win the game.’’

Mueller: ‘‘It definitely sucks that you’re losing games in areas that you can control. A lot of the goals that we’re giving up are so soft, and a lot of them are our own fault. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot too often, and it’s costing us crucial points, obviously.’’

Scoring Summary

CHI – Czichos (1) (Mueller 1, Shaqiri 7) 29’
CHI – Mueller (2) (Durán 3, Gutiérrez 3) 41’
CLB – Etienne Jr. (4) (Zelarayán 5) 63’
CLB – Etienne Jr. (5) (Díaz 1) 76’
CLB – Hernández (1) (Igbekeme 1) 83’

Stats Summary (CHI/CLB)

Shots: 13 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 1 / 3
Passing Accuracy: 76% / 82.3%
Corners: 2 / 1
Fouls: 19 / 16
Offsides: 3 / 1
Possession: 43.4% / 56.6%

What’s On Tap Next For the Chicago Fire?

The Chicago Fire continue their three-game homestand when they host Toronto FC on Wednesday.

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Brandon is a contributor for On Tap Sports Net covering the Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Steel. He also covers the Blackhawks as an independent correspondent for NHL.com. Follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonmcain.

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