A little more than 15 minutes was all the Columbus Crew needed to go ahead by two goals and all but put the game away against the Chicago Fire.
Eight minutes was all Columbus needed before Cucho Hernandez scored the first of his three goals to put the Crew ahead.
Long story short, it was another bad day at the office as the Fire lost 3-0 to the Crew to extend their winless streak to six games.
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Cucho Hernandez’s brace came after Columbus were awarded two penalties. Two penalties where the referee had to consult the video monitor but two penalties nonetheless.
Both actions exposed the Fire’s weaknesses in defense with the second showing the lack of pace from Arnaud Souquet.
Cucho’s hat-trick would come in the 23rd minute following a cross off a corner from Julian Gressel. Another poor display of defending from the Fire as Cucho out jumped three Fire defenders in the process.
Nothing went right for Frank Klopas and his team as both Mauricio Pineda and Rafael Czichos had to leave the game in the first half due to injury.
Up 3-0, Columbus were more than comfortable in simply playing their game in the second half as they looked to run up the score. In doing so, on the pitch it showed a team who had a plan and was executing it and another who was simply chasing with no plan once they did have the ball.
As if their night wasn’t bad enough, Xherdan Shaqiri was sent off in the 67th minute, leaving the Fire with 10 men to finish out the match.
The loss extended the Fire’s winless streak to six games. Out of all the matches during this poor run, this one has to rank near the bottom, if not the bottom, in terms of performance.
The Fire looked completely outmatched from the opening whistle and despite the talk of trying to stay positive and learn from mistakes, those same mistakes ended up leading to some of the frustration from Shaqiri and the rest of the players.
The loss means the Fire have only picked up one point out of a possible 18. It also drops them to 12th place with three teams in front of them, all fighting for the final playoff spot.
Their next match is at Soldier Field but against fourth-place New England Revolution.
As each match passes, the Fire are moving further and further away from the postseason. For all intents and purposes, the game against New England is a must win or else the possibility of making the MLS playoffs will be all but over.