The Chicago Fire have endured their share of struggles this season with a league-low 18 points, and they found a new way to put themselves in an early hole Sunday evening.
The Fire conceded a penalty directly off the opening kick in their match against the Columbus Crew, with goalkeeper Sean Johnson taking out Ethan Finlay eight seconds into their Eastern Conference battle at MAPFRE Stadium in Ohio. Columbus opted to go direct right off the first kick, launching a ball forward for Kei Kamara, who flicked on toward Finlay. The onrushing Johnson pulled up while both went for the ball, but made enough contact for referee Chris Penso to waste no time in blowing the whistle.
Federico Higuain converted the penalty in the second minute–his 13th PK goal since joining the Crew, which ties Guillermo Barros Schelotto's club record–to give the hosts the early lead in the second straight meeting between the two sides. Columbus took a 1–0 win in Chicago on July 15.
Watch the unusual beginning to their latest match below: