Reaction: Sluggish second half dooms Crew against Fire

Duka, Magee score in two-minute span to down Black & Gold

Dominic Oduro

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USA Today Sports

In front 19,624 fans -- in a rivalry match with the Chicago Fire -- the Crew got off to a dream start Saturday night as Federico Higuaín converted a sixth-minute penalty kick to put the Crew ahead early. But two defensive lapses early in the second half took the wind from the Black & Gold's sails as Dilly Duka and Mike Magee tallied put the Fire ahead within a two-minute span.

Disappointment blanketed the Crew locker room after dropping a home result to its longtime rival.

"Obviously, it's very disappointing at the end of the day," forward Dominic Oduro said. "I said last week, we need to keep momentum going and we did in the first half. The second half wasn't good. I hate to repeat myself, but we can't just be dropping points at home like that. We should've had three points in this game, we know that.

"The second half wasn't good enough."

Added Head Coach Robert Warzycha: "This game was everything. We talked about it before the game that this game means a lot. Chicago is just behind us (in the standings), but we said we don't think about Chicago being close to us. We think about what we can gain with getting three points. We talked about the teams that are in front of us and if we got three points, we'd be in a good position."

The Crew will now go back to the drawing board with a massive road tilt against Sporting Kansas City looming next week.

"We're playing well," Oduro explained. "We're creating chances. We just have to stop balls being scored into our net, obviously. Once we do that and take care of our net, obviously we'll be able to create chances. It's unfortunate we were unable to put a couple into the net, but we've got to keep compact. We can't let balls like that fall into our net."

Following Saturday's loss, better cohesion in the backline will be the emphasis in preparations for next week's match.

"It came down to a couple big plays in the second half and we weren't good enough on those plays," Defender Tyson Wahl said.

"When we concede goals, everyone can do something a little bit better. No one is pointing any fingers. We'll have to improve on those plays."