Crew waste chance to secure bye with loss to FireOct 23, 2011 - 2:53 AM Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - Columbus entered its regular-season finale with a chance to win the Eastern Conference, but left it with its postseason positioning in doubt.
Jalil Anibaba scored twice in the first half and Diego Chaves scored the game- winner less than a minute after the Crew had tied the game as the Chicago Fire ended their season with a 3-2 win Saturday at Toyota Park.
Emilio Renteria and Dilly Duka scored in an 8-minute stretch late in the match to tie the score, but Columbus was unable to finish the rally and it needs the Houston Dynamo to lose or tie Sunday to earn a bye into the East semifinals.
Houston could move into the top three in the East and avoid the wild-card spot with a win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on the last day of the regular season - and make Columbus play midweek in the first round of the playoffs.
Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs earlier this week, but ended with 43 points after accumulating just two wins in its first 24 matches. The Fire won seven of their final 10 games to move into postseason contention late.
Anibaba's first-half brace left Columbus' title hopes in doubt as he headed in his first two goals of the season in the 11th and 30th minutes.
After Sporting Kansas City secured the East title with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United in a game that kicked off an hour before Columbus and Chicago, the Crew were only left to contend for second and a bye in the playoffs.
Columbus (13-13-8) notched two of the goals it needed late in the second half, as Emilio Renteria volleyed in with his back to the goal in the 72nd and Dilly Duka followed with the equalizer in the 80th when he slammed home a rebound.
But Chicago (9-9-16) responded to the second Columbus goal just after the kick off, and Chaves scored to the bottom-right corner to lift the Fire to another dramatic win. Chicago scored twice in injury time last week to top D.C., 2-1.
While Columbus will wait until Sunday night to learn its fate and its opponent in the postseason, Chicago will try to build on its strong finish next season to end a two-year playoff drought.
- COLUMBUS: 2
Oct 22 10:33 PM
- Chicago Goal - Chavas (6) 81st minute
Crew SC 2, Fire 3 1st - 8'Oct 22 10:17 PM
- Columbus Goal - Duka (2) 80th minute
Crew SC 2, Fire 2 1st - 10'Oct 22 10:16 PM
- Columbus Goal - Renteria (8) 72nd minute
Crew SC 1, Fire 2 1st - 16'Oct 22 10:10 PM
- COLUMBUS: 0
Oct 22 9:26 PM
- COLUMBUS: 0
1st Half - 15'
Crew SC 0, Fire 2 1st - 15'Oct 22 9:09 PM
- Chicago Goal - Anibaba (1) 11th minute
Crew SC 0, Fire 1 1st - 30'Oct 22 8:54 PM
- COLUMBUS: 0
1st Half - 44'
Oct 22 8:39 PM
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