Eddie Gaven turned out a strong performance at Crew Stadium on Saturday, scoring once and adding an assist to help the Columbus Crew earn a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.
After getting the home side off the mark inside the opening 10 minutes, Gaven helped Emilio Renteria continue his fine run of form by setting up the Crew striker just before the half.
Austin Berry pulled the visitors to within a goal, but it was not enough to spark a comeback as the Crew (5-4-3) picked up a second straight win to go level with the Fire (5-4-3) on 18 points apiece.
Gaven opened the scoring after just nine minutes, collecting a pass from Shaun Francis at the edge of the penalty area and firing a low shot past Sean Johnson at the near post.
Renteria doubled the advantage two minutes before the break and it was Gaven who turned provider. The Crew midfielder got to the endline and picked out Renteria at the corner of the six-yard box. The Venezuelan turned his defender and curled his shot into the far upper corner for his second goal in as many games.
Chicago cut the deficit in half when Berry rose above a cluster of Columbus defenders to head home a cross from Daniel Paladini, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal as the Crew held on to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Both clubs return to action with a trip to Gillette Stadium. Chicago will face the New England Revolution on June 2 while Columbus will enjoy a three-week break before getting back into the swing of things on June 16.