By Ramon Chavez, MLSNEXTPro.com
Columbus Crew 2 was able to earn its first ever MLS NEXT Pro victory by the score in a 1-0 road win over Chicago Fire II at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday.
Forward Noah Fuson scored the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro goal for Crew 2 in the 71st minute after Chicago Fire II’s goalkeeper Chris Brady was attempting to switch up play near his goal line and his pass deflected off the pressuring Fuson and into the back of the net. This marks Chicago Fire II’s second loss in a row after falling to Orlando City B during opening week play.
The first half saw both teams have close chances at goal but neither could capitalize on their opportunities to get on the scoreboard. Columbus Crew 2 held strong at the back to start the game and fended off an early Chicago Fire II attack.
Although the home team held the early advantage, Crew 2 fought back and showed off their offensive prowess by accumulating several quick combination plays that put Chicago Fire II’s defense on their heels. At halftime, both teams had similar stats in possession and shots on goal, showing how back and forth the first half had been.
The second half was a different story as Columbus Crew 2 took control of the game and turned up the pressure. Crew 2 constantly sent up their forwards to prevent Chicago Fire II from stringing together passes from the back. Fuson capitalized on this pressure when he closed in and deflected a pass from Brady and the deflected pass bounced into the back of the net to give a 1-0 lead to the visitors.
Chicago Fire FC II was unable to even the score late in the game and fell at home for its second loss of the season. Head Coach Ludovic Taillandier will need to rally his troops next week when they head into Rochester, New York in search of their first MLS NEXT Pro win.