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Crew, Fire play to scoreless tie

Aug 5, 2007 - 4:20 AM BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (Ticker) -- Neither team could gain the advantage as the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew played to a 0-0 tie on Saturday.

The game was a defensive struggle as both teams' physical play contributed to 38 fouls and six yellow cards being called.

"Defensively, I think for the second game in a row, we limited the opposition to very few chances," Chicago coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "Offensively, I have to be critical to my players and say we have to be more effective with our chances."

Columbus coach Sigi Schmid echoed Osorio thoughts on the defensive game.

"In the first half, I thought we defended a little bit more than we liked. In the second half I thought we did a better job at knocking the ball around," Schmid said. "We had some pretty clean chances in the game. It was a hard-fought game."

Chicago made three substitutions in the final 22 minutes, bringing in Andy Herron, Chris Rolfe and Diego Gutierrez. However, the moves did not result in a goal as each team gained just one point in the standings.

Newly acquired Paulo Wanchope made his Fire debut when he entered the game in the 57th minute for Chad Barrett. Wanchope is second all-time in goals (45) for the Costa Rica National Team and should add offense for Chicago, which is second to last in the league in goals scored with 16.

Matt Pickens made four saves for Chicago while Will Hesmer made three saves for Columbus. The Fire outshot the Crew, 11-8.

Chicago forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco made pinpoint passes to set up scoring opportunities, including one to a streaking Wanchope in the 85th minute. Hesmer, though, came up big and made the save to squander the best chance of the game.

"They played me physical but that's to be expected," said Blanco, the former Mexican star playing in just his second game with the Fire. "It's the nature of the game. But the referees have to watch that style of play."

Columbus (6-5-8, 26 points) is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Chicago (5-8-5, 20 points) is just one point ahead of last place Toronto FC.

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