Chicago Fire Clip Columbus Crew 3-2 in Season Finale


Fire CHICAGO, Ill. (Oct. 22, 2011) – The Chicago Fire (9-9-16, 43 points) used a first half brace from rookie Jalil Anibaba before two Crew goals inside six minutes set the scene and Diego Chaves’ dramatic 80th minute winner catapulted the Fire to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew in the Fire’s finale Saturday night at Toyota Park. The Fire closed out the season strong, winning seven of their last 10 matches, and remain unbeaten against the Crew in their last seven visits to Toyota Park, going 3-0-4 since 2007.
 Looking to finish the 2011 campaign strong, the Fire put their stamp on the match, winning multiple dead-ball opportunities close to the Crew goal. The home side broke through in the 11th minute off a cleared corner kick when a deflected shot from winger Patrick Nyarko fell to the feet of Pavel Pardo. The Mexican international sent a looping ball back into the penalty area, finding the head of Jalil Anibaba who glanced his header past William Hesmer to record his first career MLS goal.
 The Fire rookie tallied a dream brace on the half-hour mark as a similar sequence saw Cory Gibbs send in a driven cross to the top of the Fire penalty area where the first-year defender tucked a looping header over Hesmer and inside the back post to give the Fire a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute.

The Crew nearly pulled one back four minutes later as defender Josh Gardner collected the ball on the left before whipping in a cross to the near post for Andres Mendoza but the Peruvian striker’s headed effort went just wide of Johnson’s goal, taking the Fire into the half up 2-0.
 After the break, the visitors continued their attempts to cut into the Fire lead and came close in the 67th minute as a seemingly deliberate buildup eventually saw midfielder Dilly Duka fire a swerving blast from outside the penalty area. The effort caught Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson on the wrong foot but the athletic ‘keeper recovered to make a kick save to keep the lead intact.
Columbus finally broke through six minutes later when Eddie Gaven connected with Emilio Renteria. Driving down the right, the bearded midfielder whipped in a low ball that the Venezuelan met with a half-bicycle kick, smashing his effort past Johnson in the 73rd minute.
Playing with more confidence after the first goal, Columbus equalized six minutes later as substitute striker Jeff Cunningham sent in a hopeful cross that found Anibaba. The Fire defender misplayed his clearance and the ball fell to Duka who finished past Johnson from close range to knot the score at 2-2 in the 79th minute.
The deadlock lasted only a minute as the Fire caught the visitors pushing for the winner. Guatemalan international Marco Pappa collected the ball at midfield before hitting a perfect ball into the path of the speedy Dominic Oduro. The fleet Ghanaian drove into the penalty area, hitting a low effort that Hesmer did well to save but for the second straight week, Diego Chaves was there to finish the opportunity in the 80th minute, giving the Fire a 3-2 victory to close out the season.
Chicago Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas amassed a 8-5-10 record since taking over for Carlos de los Cobos May 31.
The Fire miss the playoffs for only the third time in the club’s 14-year history.
For the second-straight week, Diego Chaves scored a late game winner. With the tally, the Uruguayan striker finishes the season with six goals, third best on the team behind Dominic Oduro (12) and Marco Pappa (8).
Jalil Anibaba tallied the first and second goals in league play. The rookie defender finishes 2011 with three goals across all competitions.
Cory Gibbs tallied his second-career assist in a rare center back to center back combo on Anibaba’s second tally.
Chicago Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini missed the match with a left hamstring strain.
Over the course of the 2011 campaign the Men in Red tallied a goal within the first 20 minutes 10 times, including tonight’s 11th minute goal.
Fire defenders tallied six goals in 2011 all of which came from headers.
Chicago Fire 3 – 2 Columbus Crew
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause ©, Pavel Pardo, Patrick Nyarko; Marco Pappa (Baggio Husidic 95+’); Dominic Oduro (Daniel Paladini 91+’), Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 87’)
Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Yamith Cuesta, Victor Pineda, Corben Bone
Columbus Crew: William Hesmer; Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall ©, Julius James, Josh Gardner (Jeff Cunningham 65’); Kevin Burns (Robbie Rogers 39’); Eddie Gaven, Emmanual Ekpo, Dilly Duka; Andres Mendoza (Tommy Heinemann 79’), Emilio Renteria
Substitutes not used: Andy Gruenebaum, Rich Balchan, Shaun Francis, Bernado Anor
Scoring Summary
CHI – Jalil Anibaba (Pavel Pardo) 11’
CHI – Jalil Anibaba (Cory Gibbs) 30’
CLB – Emilio Renteria (Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo) 73’
CLB – Dilly Duka (unassisted) 79’
CHI – Diego Chaves (unassisted) 80’
Misconduct Summary
CLB – Sebastian Miranda (Caution; Reckless Tackle) 46+’
CLB – Dilly Duka (Caution; Reckless Foul) 74’
CLB – Emmanuel Ekpo (Caution; Reckless Tackle) 78’
CLB – Emmanuel Ekpo (Caution; Reckless Foul) 90’
CLB – Emmanuel Ekpo (Ejection; Second Caution) 90’
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Claudio Badea
4th Referee: Abbey Okulaja
Attendance: 20,237
Source: Chicago Fire Communications