The Fire opened up this year's Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament with a 3-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo. Sherjill MacDonald, Dilly Duka (ruled an own goal), and Jeff Larentowicz provided the scoring for Chicago. Frank Klopas has to be happy that the starting eleven generated several good scoring chances and finished three of them against a quality opponent. Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall kept Duka from scoring just before the half and denied Chris Rolfe in the 47th minute to keep the score close. Duka played very well in 60 minutes before giving way to rookie Yazid Atouba.
Atouba continued to show why he has likely cemented a spot on the roster. The Cameroon youth international made things happen again when he was tripped in the box by a Houston defender in the 81st minute drawing a penalty call. Maicon Santos was denied by Hall on the ensuing attempt in his first game action since returning from a groin injury.
On the negative side, the Fire allowed two set piece goals against a Houston side that has excelled in that area over the last several seasons. Gonzalo Segares also left the match in the 31st minute with an apparent injury. The veteran left back limped off the field before being replaced by Jalil Anibaba, who slotted into the right back spot while Logan Pause moved to the left side. There is no word yet on the extent of the injury.
Fire Line Up
D Segares (Anibaba 31'), Berry (Videira 83'), Friedrich (Kinney 60'), Pause (Jumper 69')
M Duka (Atouba 60'), Larentowicz (Thompson 79'), Lindpere (Paladini 64'), Nyarko (Bone 60')
F Rolfe (Alex 64'), MacDonald (Santos 69')
The Fire's next match is Wednesday night against the Charleston Battery, but the reserves will take on Coastal Carolina University Sunday afternoon.