COLUMBUS – Falling behind once again proved no deterrent to the Chicago Fire on Saturday, as the pinpoint passing of Joel Lindpere led to second-half goals by Dilly Duka and red-hot forward Mike Magee for 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.
A Federico Higuaín penalty pick in the 7th minute staked the Crew to an early edge, but Duka’s goal in the 52nd minute and then Magee’s 10th goal of the season two minutes later saved the day for the Fire (5-7-3), who are now unbeaten in their past five games.
Saturday’s result also marked the third straight MLS match and fourth in all competitions that the Fire fell behind, only to claw back to avoid a defeat.
The Crew (5-6-5) lost for the first time in eight games this season after scoring first.
High pressure from Crew speedster Dominic Oduro paid off for the second straight match when his strip of defender Austin Berry led directly to the early penalty for Columbus. Oduro dribbled in from the left and was met by goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who went to the ground to smother the ball but got a piece of the leaping attacker.
Higuaín promptly scored for the fourth time in five chances this season by drilling the ball under Johnson's outstretched left arm.
Duka tied the match by getting past defender Josh Williams at the far post and getting his leg on the service from the left flank by Lindpere for his first goal in a Chicago uniform and third in his career.
Magee beat Williams to chest a Lindpere pass for the 2-1 advantage in the 54th minute to extend his goal streak since joining the Fire to six games in all competitions, including four MLS matches.
Johnson denied Higuaín strikes from distance in the 67th and 72nd minutes and stopped Oduro in the 80th to frustrate the Crew after their strong start.
Chicago lost both Lindpere and veteran midfielder Logan Pause to apparent injuries during the match, with Jeff Larentowicz coming on for Pause in the 26th minute.
The Crew return to action on June 29 at Sporting Kansas City, while the Chicago Fire host Orlando City on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup.