BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro scored in the first 26 minutes and the Chicago Fire earned a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
The victory moved the Fire (7-5-3) within three points of third-place New York in the Eastern Conference. Columbus, dominated from the start by the Fire, had entered the game with a six-match unbeaten streak (3-0-3).
The Crew's last loss was on April 28, 1-0 to Vancouver.
Pappa maneuvered to the edge of the penalty area, and using a screen, ripped a right-footed shot off the hands of diving goalkeeper Andy Gruenbaum in the second minute.
Oduro made it 2-0 in the 26th minute, outrunning a pair of defenders while in control of Sebastian Grazzini's pass before chipping the ball past Gruenbaum from 15 yards.
Columbus' Tony Tchani cut the gap to 2-1 in the 36th minute, taking a pass from fellow midfielder Chris Birchall and beating Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson from 10 yards.
Chicago's Gonzalo Segares was ejected in the 29th minute when his right foot clipped the right shin of Columbus' Kevin George while they slid for a loose ball. George remained in the match, while Segares will miss Chicago's match Friday at Kansas City.
Tonight's panel include Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times, Hub Arkush from Pro Football Weekly, and NFL Analyst Dan Pompei. The guys discuss whether Jay Cutler could lose his starting job to Brian Hoyer, question if Joe Maddon is managing his starting rotation properly heading into the postseason, and talk about whether Robin Ventura will return to manage the White Sox next season.
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Chris Sale will establish a new career high when he takes the mound in Sunday’s regular season finale.
The White Sox ace is set to start one more time this season and in doing so will make a career-best 32nd turn. One of the top contenders for the American League Cy Young Award, Sale has already established career highs for complete games (six) and innings pitched (221 2/3). White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Thursday that Sale, who pitched on Tuesday, would start against the Minnesota Twins.
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“At first you can look at it like he doesn’t necessarily have to throw,” Ventura said. “But I think he wants to throw and that’s a good sign. He’s motivated to throw and just to go do it. We’re not doing it for numbers or anything, but he wants to throw. I think that’s part of his commitment to being a teammate and all that stuff. So we’ll have a pretty good lineup out there.”
As for what to expect from Sale, Ventura said: “It won’t be four or five (innings), but it won’t be nine. Well, if he has a no-hitter, it’s a possibility. If there’s something special there and his pitch count and everything and he’s feeling good, he would go. But for the most part he’s not going to go nine.”