To put it lightly, Cuauhtemoc Blanco has been struggling as of late. The Mexican forward hadn't played a good match in weeks but when the Fire needed 'Temo to step up in tonight's SuperLiga semifinal match at New England he did, and in a big way.
Blanco notched an assist and scored the game winning goal for the Fire in their 2-1 victory over the Revolution that propels the club into the August 5th SuperLiga tournament final. The Fire gets back into action on Saturday when they host San Jose in MLS action but for now they have to be savoring tonight's win.
The Fire were able to score the first goal of the match in the 34th minute when Blanco was able to evade several Revolution defenders to hit a perfect cross to the feet of a waiting Brian McBride who made no mistake in slotting the ball past keeper Matt Reis from the penalty spot. The Revolution was determined to not let the Fire get to the half with the lead though and their efforts paid off one minute before the break when a wide open Edgaras Jankauskas hit his shot from the top of the 18 home.
The Fire had to be disappointed after surrendering a goal right before the half but they came out in the second half with some nice attacking play and got the game winner in the 63rd minute of play.
This time Blanco got the goal himself virtue of a free kick from 20 yards. Temo hit his right footed shot over the wall and towards the near post and Matt Reis could do nothing but watch as it sailed into the back of the net.
The Revolution weren't finished though and they carried on their attack in earnest, putting a ton of pressure on the Fire defense and even hitting the crossbar twice.
But in the end the Fire held onto the 2-1 lead and left Gillette Stadium with their ticket to the final booked. I'm excited for the Fire to get a chance at a trophy coming up in a few weeks and (best of all) the team will get their shot at Toyota Park against either San Luis (who the Fire beat 1-0 on May 20th) or Santos Laguna (the club that Cuauhtemoc Blanco played with last year during the MLS offseason).
*Correction --- The above sentence should read either Tigres UANL or Santos Laguna. Tigres beat Santos Laguna last night so the Fire will face them for the second time this tournament (the first match saw them lose 2-1).*
Oh, and in case it isn't clear, Cuauhtemoc Blanco was my man of the match.