New on Sports Illustrated: Crew-Fire Preview

September 12, 2020 at 05:59AM

Dominant defensive form is obviously a major reason the Columbus Crew have the most points in MLS. The Chicago Fire have experienced that firsthand.

Having not allowed a goal in three matches, the visiting Crew aim for a third straight win on Saturday against the Chicago Fire.

Sitting atop the Eastern Conference with 23 points, Columbus (7-1-2) got there by conceding just two goals among its official 2020 matches. The last time the Crew allowed a goal also resulted in their only official defeat, 1-0 at New York City FC on Aug. 24.

Columbus is 2-0-1 since and coming off a 3-0 win over rival FC Cincinnati from last weekend.

"We've continued to evolve as a team," coach Caleb Porter told the Crew's official website.

"I believe in our group, and I believe in the way we play."

On the offensive end, Gyasi Zardes scored two more goals to increase his official season total to seven in 2020. He recorded one with an assist during Columbus' 3-0 home win over Chicago on Aug. 20. Derrick Etienne and Darlington Nagbe also scored - both their first official goals of the season - in that contest for the Crew.

Though the Fire (2-6-2) are just 1-2-1 since that defeat, they've conceded five goals since that match. However, a couple came during a 2-1 loss to New England over the weekend. Fabian Herbers leveled the match with a goal in the 22nd minute, but Chicago allowed the eventual Revolution winner early in the second half.

"We have to keep working and keep believing in what we do," coach Raphael Wicky told the Fire's official website. "We are creating chances, we are a good team and we have to keep doing that.

"But as well, of course, we have to be more demanding with ourselves and giving up such easy goals aw well. When we have the chances, we have to finish them."

Herbers has recorded both of his goals this season over his last four matches.

The Fire are 0-2-3 against the Crew since last beating them at home in April of 2018.

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