Chicago Fire FC II earned three points on the road for the second time this season following a 4-2 victory at Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday. Harold Osorio recorded a hat trick of assists on goals by Justin Reynolds, Richard Fleming III and Luka Prpa, while Billy Hency added a goal with help from Noeh Hernandez. The Fire recorded its third win of the season as Columbus dropped its third decision in a row.
Chicago took the initiative on the opening whistle, recording a pair of shots early as the home side tried to find its footing. A high press by the Fire’s forwards rattled the Columbus defense, almost conceding a goal in the 18th minute when Hernandez tipped a back pass to goalkeeper Brady Scott.
The visitors’ intense pressure paid off in the 26th minute. Noah Egan intercepted a pass in the midfield and played the ball to Osorio. The midfielder took a pair of touches to slip a through ball to an open Reynolds on the left wing, who pinched in and finished top left. The Homegrown defender’s opening goal was also his first in nearly 1,600 minutes of MLS NEXT Pro action since 2022.
The press did not relent and the Fire once again took advantage of a turnover. Only a minute after the restart, Osorio stepped in front of a short goal kick and quickly found Richard Fleming III in the box, who simply turned and slipped the ball past Scott for a 2-0 lead. “Trip’s” goal was his first of the year and third all time with Chicago Fire II, scoring twice in 2022 and adding four assists.
Although the first half turned into a back-and-forth affair after the second goal, the Fire continued to take advantage of Columbus’ urgency to get back in the game. One minute into stoppage time, Omari Glasgow got on the end of a lofted pass and passed to the near post for an incoming Hency, who just missed the Fire’s third goal of the afternoon.
Hency had another chance a minute later that he couldn’t capitalize on, but the forward eventually had a third opportunity that he did not miss. Seconds after his second chance, he partnered with Hernandez on a give-and-go to rifle a shot from outside the box and into the net. His goal tied him with Osorio for the team’s golden boot with three, and preceded the referee’s whistle as the Fire went into the locker room in a high mood.
Columbus started the second half on the front foot, looking to cut into a three-goal deficit. In the 52nd minute, Jake Morris found some room in the box to place a shot on target that Mihajlo Mišković was able to parry. But the rebound fell in front of Morris, who took a harder shot that Mišković once again saved. The goalkeeper recorded six saves on the day, keeping Columbus at bay throughout the match.
The Fire continued to exploit the Crew’s position throughout the half and cashed in anew in the 65th minute. Osorio alertly charged a short pass in the midfield and broke for goal. The run caught the defense flat footed and left the Salvadoran midfielder in a one-on-one duel with Scott. But rather than scoring his fourth goal of the year, Osorio instead played the ball into the path of an open Luka Prpa, who tapped the pass home for his first goal of the season and a 4-0 lead.
A wounded Crew kept sending numbers forward and at last answered back in the 70th minute. A foul on the right wing gave the home side a free kick, which Morris turned into an assist upon finding Marco Micaletto in the box. The Anglo-Italian midfielder volleyed a ball that finally beat Mišković for Columbus’ first of the afternoon.
The home side kept pushing throughout the rest of the match, eventually earning another chance deep into injury time. After a foul near the top of the box, Isaiah Parente stepped up to take a free kick that he snuck through the wall and into the net for Columbus’ second. But it was too little, too late – the referee blew his whistle midway through the goal celebration, wrapping up the Fire’s first victory against Columbus in MLS NEXT Pro play.
Chicago Fire II will remain on the road Sunday, June 11, when the team takes on New England Revolution II at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The match will begin at 7 p.m. CT and can be streamed on MLSNEXTPro.com.
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Chicago Fire FC II 4:2 Columbus Crew 2
CHI - Reynolds (1) (Osorio 2) (WATCH) 26’
CHI - Fleming III (1) (Osorio 3) (WATCH) 28’
CHI - Hency (3) (Hernandez 1) (WATCH) 45+3’
CHI - Prpa (1) (Osorio 4) (WATCH) 65’
CLB - Micaletto (3) (Morris 1) (WATCH) 70’
CLB - Parente (2) (WATCH) 90+8’
CHI - Gallina (Yellow Card) 37’
CHI - Glasgow (Yellow Card) 90+8’
Chicago Fire FC II: GK Mišković; D Rochester © (Leonard, 70’), D Ueland, D Egan; M Reynolds (Flores, 46’), M Osorio, M Gallina (Nevarez, 90’), M Fleming III, M Glasgow; F Hency (Prpa, 46’), F Hernandez (Nesci, 64’)
Subs not used: GK Stechnij; D Fuderer
Columbus Crew 2: GK Scott; D Mbumba (Roberts, 46’), D Hughes, D Morris (Mohamed, 78’), D Zengue; M Parente ©, M Mrowka, M Díaz (Knight, 46’); F Molino (Micaletto, 46’), F Fuson (Bunbury, 66’), F Rayo (Adu-Gyamfi, 66’)
Subs not used: GK Lapkes; M De Libera; F Habroune
Stats Summary: CLB / CHI
Shots: 16 / 20
Shots on Goal: 8 / 6
Passing Accuracy: 84.3% / 81.7%
Saves: 2 / 6
Corners: 3 / 1
Fouls: 15 / 18
Offsides: 2 / 6
Possession: 61.8% / 38.2%
Referee: Brandon Stevis
Assistant Ref 1: Stephen Milhoan
Assistant Ref 2: Christian Little
4th Official: Gary Gutierrez