Crew SC
Fire
2 - 2 Final
  for this game

Schelotto's 2 goals rally Crew to tie with Fire

Sep 20, 2009 - 11:37 PM By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STATS) - Nothing has separated the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire over the past two seasons. A controversial penalty kick and a second-half comeback engineered by Guillermo Barros Schelotto made sure that didn't change.

Schelotto scored two second-half goals, rallying the Crew to a 2-all tie at Chicago and allowing Columbus to keep sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead.

Schelotto, second in MLS with 12 goals, tied the game when he converted a penalty kick with 11 minutes left.

The result - the fourth consecutive ties between these clubs - kept Columbus (11-4-10) atop the East, three points ahead of Chicago (10-6-10).

A disputed call led to Schelotto's tying goal.

Crew forward Steven Lenhart and Fire defender Wilman Conde jumped to challenge for the ball in the Chicago box. Conde appeared to hit the ball prior to Lenhart's kicking him in the back. Referee Mark Geiger, however, ruled Conde hit Lenhart and called a penalty on Chicago. Fire players immediately protested.

"It was unfortunate that the game ended the way it ended," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "I think we all saw it. ... He decides that that's how he's going to change the game.

"You just hope that you let the players dictate the outcome of the game. Tonight, for sure, I don't think that was the case."

Schelotto had pulled the Crew to within one in the 55th minute, when he headed a cross from midfielder Robbie Rogers into the back of the net, but the reigning MLS MVP didn't venture an opinion on the call leading to his second score.

"I don't know," said Schelotto, who snapped a personal seven-game goal drought. "Maybe yes and maybe no."

Schelotto was also instrumental in the Crew's 2-1 win over the Fire in last year's conference final, assisting on both goals as Columbus went on to win its first MLS Cup title.

"It's always fun to play those guys because it's two quality teams," said Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch, who had five saves. "It's just very disappointing that it goes down to a play like that, which - again - it costs us two points. We got done in by something that should have never done us in."

Midfielder Peter Lowry scored in the sixth minute and again 29 minutes later, giving the Fire what appeared to be a safe lead at halftime. They then gave up five shots on goal in the second half and failed to convert three of their own, including a last-minute bicycle kick by forward Patrick Nyarko that went over the crossbar.

"It feels like a loss tonight," said Lowry, who has three goals in seven games. "We did enough to win the game."

Chicago also suffered a blow in the 63rd minute, when Cuauhtemoc Blanco hurt his left hamstring and had to be replaced. His status is uncertain. The forward has five goals and a team-high eight assists.

Though Chicago had to press on without its playmaker, Nyarko still had two chances to give the Fire a late lead.

In addition to the failed bicycle kick, Nyarko got behind the Crew defense in the final minute and had a breakaway on Will Hesmer, but his shot went directly to the goalkeeper.








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