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Playoff contenders square off as Crew hosts Fire

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Time is running out on the Columbus Crew as the team attempts to mount one final playoff push in the Eastern Conference.

With five games remaining the Crew sits four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, making Saturday's home encounter with the Chicago Fire a pivotal one for playoff positioning.

Chicago currently occupies the last playoff place, sitting four points clear of the Crew with a game in hand.

The Crew got a big boost from its last game as the team overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to win 2-1 at Montreal.

Federico Higuain assisted on both goals in the second half, with Chad Marshall leveling the contest before Dominic Oduro scored the winner 12 minutes from time.

"When you're down in the standings, this was ultra critical, I think, in our push to make a playoff spot," Crew interim head coach Brian Bliss said after the match. "We've put some pressure on some teams that are slightly above us, so it's uplifting in that regard."

In order for the Crew to keep that positive momentum going, the club must beat a Fire side that has had their number so far this season.

Chicago has won the first two league encounters between the teams as well as a weather-delayed U.S. Open Cup match in June.

If the Fire can continue that run of success against the Crew, it would allow the team to take another step toward a playoff spot with the team sitting in fifth place in the East.

The Fire's playoff chances got a big boost last weekend as the team overcame a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 over New England with two goals in the second half.

Alex came off the bench to score the winning goal for Chicago, but the play of forward Juan Luis Anangono was also a big factor.

Since joining the club over the summer, Anangono has been trying to settle into a regular role with the team, coming off the bench in the previous four games before starting and scoring his first goal for the team in the win over New England.

"I'm very happy with the consistency of the team and I'm happy with the work that was done on the field to come back and get the win tonight," Anangono said. "It always takes a little bit of time to get acclimated to a new lifestyle, but I thank everyone here at the Chicago Fire because they've been so great to me.

"Every day I feel better and more involved with the team and it shows with my performance on the field."

While a regular role in the starting lineup is not a guarantee with Chris Rolfe normally partnering Mike Magee in the Fire attack, the club at least knows it has another attacking option in Anangono.

09/20 16:20:07 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
1st
CHA 10
CHI 14
 
1st
DUR 0
NOR 0
 
Final
CIN 4
PIT 0
Final
BAL 3
TAM 0
Final
NYY 3
CHC 0
Final
MIL 5
STL 1
Final
ARI 2
NYM 5
1st
PHI 0
ATL 0
 
1st
NYY 0
CHC 0
 
1st
DET 0
CLE 1
 
2nd
MIA 0
WAS 0
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
8:10pm Tonight
MIN 0
TOR 0
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
1st
CHA 10
CHI 14
 
1st
ORL 10
IND 4
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
1st
TAM 0
MON 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
1st
DUR 0
NOR 0