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Crew and Fire Reserves Battle to 3-3 Draw

The Chicago Fire Reserves (3-6-1, 10 points) played the Columbus Crew Reserves (5-6-2, 17 points) to a 3-3 draw in a back-and-forth affair on Sunday morning at the Crew’s Training Facility in Obetz, Ohio. Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini’s hat trick – capped-off by a 74th-minute penalty kick – tied the match at three after both teams played a wild first 45 minutes that saw three goals in the final three minutes of the half. Columbus’ Ryan Finley, Justin Meram and Ben Speas tallied in the effort for the Black & Gold.

Crew rookie Ryan Finley gave the home side the early lead in the 27th minute after he punched in a deflected shot from inside the box. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum – who had missed the last nine first-team matches with left shoulder weakness – made a pair of first-half saves in the 29th and 34th minutes; the latter save featured tipping a Daniel Paladini free kick over the crossbar. Paladini would find the back of the net for the first of three times though in the 42nd minute after burying a penalty kick. The Fire earned the opportunity after Wells Thompson was fouled by Matias Sanchez inside the box.

In what would then become a tit-for-tat end to the first half, the Crew and Fire traded goals as Justin Meram scored two minutes later in the 44th minute after he collected a loose ball and put the ball towards the inside of the right post. Paladini would respond in first-half stoppage time on a ball from Chris Rolfe as Paladini chipped Gruenebaum for the top-left corner goal to level the contest at two as the first-half whistle was blown.

Second-half goalkeeper substitute Brad Stuver, a Cleveland State alum, would make four second-half saves for the Crew. Two of those saves –both in stoppage time – would be crucial as the two teams each recorded goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Ben Speas delivered a rocket of a goal in the 67th minute on a pass from Ethan Finlay. Speas’ shot was blasted from right side of the box that curled top left. The Fire would respond less than 10 minutes later as Crew forward Aaron Schoenfeld was whistled for a handball inside the box. Paladini would step up and bury his third goal of the game – and second from the spot – in the match’s final scoring of the day.

Category: Columbus Crew, MLS