Columbus Crew SC 1, Chicago Fire 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
The season opener between two teams that missed the playoffs last season was a game of two halves: The first belonged to Columbus Crew SC, and the second to the visiting Chicago Fire. In the end, David Accam's second-half equalizer allowed both sides to share the points in a 1-1 draw at MAPFRE Stadium.
Ethan Finlay opened the scoring when he climbed the ladder and got his head on a Justim Meram cross to knock it in and give Crew SC the lead in the 17th minute. Fire 'keeper Jorge Bava made several sparkling saves to keep his team in it, and eventually, Accam knotted things when he picked up a deflected ball, spun defender and compatriot Jonathan Mensah around, and bent a right-footed shot into the far corner in the 73rd minute.
- BATTLE OF THE FIRST-TIMERS: Thirty-five-year-old Jorge Bava, of the Fire, and 21-year-old Zack Steffen, of Columbus, both made their MLS debuts and both will feel pretty good about their initial introduction to the league. Steffen came within 20 minutes of a clean sheet and finished with two saves, fending off the Fire at the end, while Bava was credited with three saves, all of them top-shelf material, and did most of his work early, keeping his team in the game.
- DAX PRETTY GOOD: Dax McCarty, the Fire's prize offseason acquisition, looked right at home in the center of the Chicago midfield. After a half spent defending, the Fire dominated possession in the second half and, despite missing Juninho to suspension, looked a lot better team than they were a year ago with the former Red Bulls captain orchestrating.
- NIKOLIC DEBUT: New Fire Designated Player Nemanja Nikolic had more than a few opportunities to be the hero in this match, but he looked rusty with his finishing around goal. Chicago will look for more out of their star as he gets adjusted to the league, especially in big moments on the road.
- CLB: Saturday, March 11 – at HOU (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- CHI: Saturday, March 11 – vs. RSL (2 pm ET | MLS LIVE)