COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Dominic Oduro opened the scoring early against his former club and it got worse from there for the Chicago Fire in a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.
The Fire lost the lead and a player within the first half-hour. Oduro struck in the 15th minute and then Fire defender Bakary Soumare was ejected in the 29th minute for his challenge on Jairo Arrieta as the Costa Rican forward broke free toward the goal.
Despite being short-handed, the Fire (11-12-6) stayed in the game until goalkeeper Sean Johnson pulled down Arrieta and Federico Higuain converted the penalty for a 2-0 lead in the 70th minute.
Bernardo Anor added a goal in the 76th minute as the Crew (11-14-5) won its second straight and the Fire (11-12-6) fell to 2-3-2 in their past seven games.
Oduro, acquired in February from Chicago for midfielder Dilly Duka, scored his team-best 11th goal with a ripped strike from the right side that Johnson was able to get his hands on but could not stop.
The play was started by high pressure from Tony Tchani and Higuain that resulted in a turnover. Higuain found Arrieta, who toe-poked the ball ahead to Oduro for his second goal in as many games.
Columbus then almost immediately took advantage of Soumare's ejection as Chad Marshall got on the end of a Higuain corner kick for a powerful header that forced Johnson into a reflex save in the 31st minute.
Chicago came within inches of pulling even six minutes later when Juan Luis Anangono's header from a Mike Magee corner kick hit the crossbar.
The Fire sought a sweep of the season series after beating the Crew 1-0 at home on April 20 and 2-1 in Columbus on June 22. Chicago also defeated the visiting Crew 2-1 on June 13 in the U.S. Open Cup.
Chicago hosts Montreal on Sept. 28 and Columbus next plays at FC Dallas on Sept. 29.
NOTES: Fire defender and Ohio native (Cincinnati) Austin Berry started his 63rd consecutive game. He and defender Jalil Anibaba are the only players to see action in every minute of the Fire's first 29 games. ... Brian Bliss faced Chicago for the first time since being named the Crew's interim coach on Sept. 2. He was 0-1 vs. the Fire as Kansas City's interim coach in 2006. ... The Fire made two lineup changes in a swap of midfielders as Alex and former Crew Dilly Duka replaced Patrick Nyarko and Joel Lindpere.