Toyota Park Troubles: Why Can’t Crew SC Win At Chicago Fire?

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BRIDGEVIEW, IL - SEPTEMBER 22: Chad Marshall #14 of the Columbus Crew reacts to his teams 2-1 loss over the Chicago Fire in their MLS soccer match at Toyota Park on September 22, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 5-4. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, Columbus Crew SC played rival Chicago Fire for the second time this season. This time in Bridgeview. On opening day, the teams fought to a 1-1 draw back in Columbus, Ohio at MAPFRE Stadium; Home of Crew SC. The second meeting at Toyota Park. Crew SC would lose to their rival counterparts by a score of 1-0.

Toyota Park Troubles: Why Can’t Crew SC Win At Chicago Fire?

Toyota Park Background

We’ll get to that point in a few. How about a little background history on it first? Toyota Park opened its doors in 2006. Since it’s opening, the stadium has hosted multiple music festivals, and been the home to the Chicago Fire, Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL, and Chicago Bliss of the Legends Football League.

The facility is owned by the Village of Bridgeview. The seating capacity ranges, depending on events; 20,000 for sporting, and 28,000 for concerts. Along with the variety of seats include 34 executive suites, and six stage suites available for sporting events.

Toyota Park is easily accessible from just about every crook and cranny of the Chicago area and is located approximately 15 miles from the Chicago Loop.

Why Can’t Crew SC Win At Toyota Park?

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. As mentioned before, Toyota Park is home to the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS). Since the club joined the league in 1997, they have had their share of Soldier Field as their home turf until they got one of their own.

Now that they have it, they seem to have very great success against one club, Columbus Crew SC. It’s like the American version of the Azteca. Chicago always manages to squeeze out a draw, or earn a well-deserved win over their bitter rivals from the Buckeye State. But why hasn’t Columbus won much there? Is it just the home-field advantage for the Fire? Is it a possible jet-lag, although Illinois is only one hour away? Who knows.

Chicago and Columbus have been going at it since the late 1990’s. (Columbus joined the league in 1996, becoming Charter Member #01 when the league was also formed in 1996.)

There’s never a dull moment when these two teams meet. Whether it’s in the great 614 of Ohio or the Windy City of Chicago; These two teams do not like each other.

The All-Time series between these two great clubs is in favor for the Fire; 24-17-17. The series while in Chicago also leans in favor of Chicago; 15-6-10.

Fifteen wins for Chicago at home. It’s incredible. But only six for Columbus? Why?

Columbus Last Win In Toyota Park

It almost hurts for this author to write this. But let’s see just how long ago Columbus got their last win in Chicago.

2016 saw Crew SC travel to Toyota Park three times in all competitions (Two MLS, one U.S. Open Cup.) Crew SC would take a draw in the first meeting, seeing the score play out to a nil-nil draw. The second meeting, being the US Open Cup, Chicago would defeat the Black and Gold 2-1. The third and final meeting would also play out to a 2-2 draw.

2015 saw Crew SC defeat the Fire by a score of 1-0 on July 15th. So just almost about two years ago is when Columbus got their last win at Toyota Park. 2015 was also the year Crew SC made their trip to the MLS Cup Final for the second time in franchise history (defeated New York Red Bulls in MLS Cup Final 2008).

What Needs To Change?

Nothing really needs to change for Crew SC to get success at Toyota Park. Just keep playing their game and get the result they need. It’s almost as if they get a bad mojo every time the team bus pulls into the parking lot. Not sure though. But whatever it is, if they want results, they need to “shake it off” as artist Taylor Swift would say.

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