Takeaway Points: Chicago Fire
The Crew's playoff chances took a slight hit following Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. With four matches left to play, the Black & Gold currently sits in sixth-place and one point behind the Houston Dynamo in a battle for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Here are three takeaway points from the defeat in the Windy City:
1. ARRIETA'S PRESSURE
Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta notched his sixth goal of the season when he intercepted Sean Johnson's pass inside the penalty area and shot past the Fire defense to put the Crew up 1-0 in the 15th minute. Arrieta's pressure on opposing goalkeepers has been a weapon for the Black & Gold since coming to Columbus in July.
"I don’t ask them to [pressure the goalkeeper]," Rober Warzycha said after the match. "That’s just Jairo. The ball was going to his left foot and he thought maybe he was going to take an unnecessary touch and it resulted in a goal.”
Arrieta's goal wasn't enough in the effort however as Chris Rolfe's two tallies in a three minute span ultimately spelled defeat for the Crew.
2. "THE BETTER TEAM"
Aside from the goals column, the Crew had the upper hand on the Fire in almost every other statistical category.
The Black & Gold out-possessed Chicago 62.3-percent to 37.7-percent in the match, completed 84-percent of its 505 passes. Columbus also forced 20 shots to the Fire's 11 attempts.
“I think that we played a good game today," Warzycha explained postgame. "I think we were definitely the better team. We could have scored a couple goals in the second half, but [Johnson] made some big saves.”
The Crew's best chance to draw came when Josh Williams nearly had the equalizer in the 79th minute, but Johnson was able to get a hand to it to keep the defender's shot from 10 yards away out of the net.
3. WORK TO DO
One point point behind Houston and five points behind D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, the Crew will look at each of remaining matches as a 'must-win' in the team's quest to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
"[The playoff hopes are] still depending on us," Milovan Mirosevic said. "I think if we play like today, we will be closer to playoffs, even if we didn’t win today. For sure it isn’t a good result. This isn’t a good sensation but I think today we proved we can play against a really good team.”
"We have four games left to make the playoffs and we have to approach each game one at a time and win them all," Jairo Arrieta added.
"We have to score the goals to make the playoffs."