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Jeff Larentowicz scores late goal to give Fire 1-0 win over Crew

Updated: May 22, 2013 7:13AM

After trading for Jeff Larentowicz this offseason, the Fire had high expectations for a player who has been an integral part of a MLS Cup Championship team.

But through the first six games, Larentowicz struggled at times.

The veteran holding midfielder finally broke out in Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park when he scored the game’s only goal in the 83rd minute of a 1-0 Fire win. The goal came when Larentowicz headed the ball into the net from six yards out after a flick-on by center back Austin Berry and long throw-in from outside back Jalil Anibaba.

“When the ball was going forward I was trying to get in the box as much as possible,” Larentowicz said. “Between [fellow holding midfielder] Logan [Pause] and I, we try to offset each other and when one’s up, the other’s back. But I think that I was able to get forward a little tonight.”

Though the win was crucial in the attempt by the Fire (2-4-1) to keep pace in the Eastern Conference, it was met with some controversy between Fire players.

With the game tied at zero in the 78th minute, striker Sherjill MacDonald was subbed out of the game. Dejected, he casually walked toward the Fire bench despite urging from teammates to move faster.

Pause, the team’s captain, then began to yell at MacDonald and pushed him in the back.

“At that time we were pushing, we were trying to win the game,’’ Pause said. “I wanted him to just speed up because every second counts and so I understand the frustrations of being subbed out.’’

After both teams played an uneventful first half, the Fire came out in the second half and immediately began to push the game.

“In the second half, we created enough chances and we finally scored a nice goal,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said. “We defended well as a group. I’m proud of the group and the effort.”

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