Columbus Crew SC extends Chicago Fire winless run to nine games with late Hansen goal

Niko Hansen canceled out Nemanja Nikolic’s opener as Columbus turned the tide to earn a share of the points at Toyota Park.

Niko Hansen scored in the 87th minute to give the Columbus Crew SC a 1-1 draw with Chicago at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on Thursday to extend the Fire’s winless streak to nine games.

Nemanja Nikolic scored in the 67th minute for the Fire (24 points). Chicago was poised to end an eight-game losing streak until Hansen scored his second career goal after a cross by Patrick Mullins was deflected to him off the leg of Fire defender Johan Kappelhof.

The ball landed at the penalty spot, and Hansen quickly unleashed a shot.

Nikolic scored in almost a copy of the goal he recorded for a 1-0 victory over the Crew (40 points) at home on April 7. In that match, Nikolic, who led MLS in 2017 with 24 goals, took advantage of an errant clearance by Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

This time Crew defender Milton Valenzuela had an unforced error that allowed Nikolic to dribble into the box and beat Steffen at the right post for his 12th score on the Fire’s first shot on goal.

It was Chicago’s first lead in nine matches since defeating New York City FC 3-2 on June 30.

Steffen made a save on Brandt Bronico in the 92nd minute to preserve the draw. He finished with two saves overall.

Fire goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, who is from Dayton, Ohio, played against Columbus in his second MLS match. He previously made eight saves in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Aug. 4.

Cleveland made five saves Thursday and got away with handling the ball outside of the box in the 89th minute without a call being made.

The Crew’s next match is Sept. 1 against New York City FC. Chicago is idle until hosting Orlando City on Sept. 16.

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Article source: http://www.espnfc.com/major-league-soccer/story/3608417/columbus-crew-sc-extends-chicago-fire-winless-run-to-nine-with-late-hansen-goal

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