Fire win 5-1 - advance to USOC semi-final

Two wins away from a trophy and CONCACAF Champions League play in 2014.

The Fire advanced to the US Open Cup semi-finals by defeating USL-Pro side Orlando City SC 5-1. Strong performances from Sean Johnson, Chris Rolfe, Patrick Nyarko, and Dilly Duka pushed the Fire past the giant-slaying underdog darlings of this year's tournament.

Johnson kept Orlando City from making the game closer and allowed Chicago's offense to take control with several outstanding saves in the second half. The final score line may be slightly misleading because the Lions actually tied the match at one apiece in the 51st minute when the Fire defense let up after a short corner and Rob Valentino tapped in a pass beating a stationary Alex to the near post.

Chris Rolfe scored twice and looked more like the player that scored eight goals for the Fire last season. If Rolfe can get his game going in MLS play the second half of the season should be a good one for Chicago. Another player that seems to be gaining confidence with each passing week is Dilly Duka. Another strong outing from the left midfielder provides high hopes that he has found his groove. A combination of Duka and Rolfe continuing to play at a high level in tandem with Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee makes a playoff run in league play entirely possible.

Magee scored the Fire's fourth goal of the night and has now scored a goal in seven consecutive appearances for the club. Patrick Nyarko provided the game winner when he answered the Lions' tally eight minutes after they tied the match. Nyarko took the ball almost from midfield and beat several defenders on his way up the left side of the field to finish with a fantastic misdirection to his left and an even better shot placement to beat the keeper. (Catch postgame comments from Nyarko and Rolfe at the Fire Confidential Facebook page)

Now on an eight game unbeaten run in all competitions, the Fire are idle this weekend but face San Jose at Toyota Park next Wednesday. They'll face DC United in the semi-final in Bridgeview on August 7. Portland and Real Salt Lake are the finalists on the other side of the bracket.

The Fire now have a legitimate chance of winning a trophy in 2013. Two wins stand in the way of a record tying fifth US Open Cup championship and a ticket to participate in next year's CONCACAF Champions League. After an awful start, the rest of the summer is going to get very interesting.

Fire Line Up

GK Johnson

D Anibaba, Berry, Soumare, Segares

M Nyarko (Lindpere 66'), Alex (Paladini 54'), Larentowicz, Duka

F Rolfe (Santos 80'), Magee

Scoring Summary

CHI-Rolfe (Duka) 6'

OCSC - Valentino (unassisted) 51'

CHI - Nyarko (unassisted) 59'

CHI - Rolfe (Larentowicz) 64'

CHI - Magee (Santos) 83'

CHI - Lindpere (Duka) 90"

 

Comments

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  • Yes, I really think Duka is coming to his own on this club. He must have been getting good practice because Frank stuck with him when we were all still scratching our heads at what he was doing out there. I have started seeing in these past 4-5 games that he's got good pace and when he's controlled, he can be quite devastating. Wasn't Dilly drafted around the same time as Bone? I know not the same year, but he was highly drafted as well a few years back. Glad to see him fulfilling some of that potential.

    The goals that Rolfe took had the quality to team play involved. He didn't waste Duka's pass and was a calm finish. I hope he can get away from MLS markers because they have been marking him very close. Some of the through passes in this game opened my eyes to the finishing quality our squad has. They can finish, they just need service.

    Anyway, I completely agree with you G. I am quietly optimistic about this year. And I do want to win that US Open Cup. I keep thinking that in 20 years when people start to really take notice of Soccer in this country, it would have been good to rack up these trophies before everybody wants a piece of them.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Get in there early and often. We're currently number 2. I didn't think to look. When does the poll finish?

  • Sean Johnson has been named to the Gold Cup roster. Will likely miss most of July......

    http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2013/06/23-Player-Roster-to-Compete-in-2013-Gold-Cup.aspx

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    SJ huge. Right when we are getting some momentum, bye bye keeper.

  • In reply to Kao Xiong:

    Tornaghi's going to have to step it up now. He did pretty well in 3 starts last season but he's been just okay in reserve games this year. The last game against Charlotte a few weeks was pretty strong however. Defense will also need to tighten up.

  • If the defense makes some of the mistakes of the past few weeks with Tornaghi in net, it could be a long month. Namely, Soumare and Berry need to significantly tighten up the central defense. Anibaba has done a serviceable job at RB, and Sega's been good at LB. A little nervous about us centrally after the last few games though. Our CB's did ok against a 3rd division side last night, but play like that against the likes of KC, Vancouver, or Houston could spell a long month.

  • fb_avatar

    The short kick goal against Orlando was weak. Guys just standing around. Sean had no chance when his defenders are standing still like that right in front of goal.

  • The ball literally rolled right by Alex. My only guess is that he thought Johnson was going to grab it. That's what we get for an attacking midfielder guarding the front post on a set piece.

  • I heard pineda was subbed into the ghana match at the U-20s

    anyone know how well he fared? (hopefully better than the team as a whole)

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    maybe pineda will get more playing time with the cf97 first team?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    He was subbed in, but the game was lost by that point. I think it was 3-1. He didn't have a chance to do much, and that's what he did, at least from my distracted view of things.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He came on late and looked lost because the team had no shape at that point. They needed to win the game and were down by 2 goals. I have never really seen much of him but he looks tall and pretty quick. I would like to see him get some minutes in the upcoming months. He was out wide for the US but I hope we mold him to be more of an attacking mid than a winger type. Just my 2 cents.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    He's played all over midfield in the Fire system but mostly out wide and in the central holding spot.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    He plays more attacking for the US right? I think the holding spot is easier to find out there. That attacking minded midfielder is not. If we have a chance to make him that then I think we should.

  • so any rumblings on potential transfer targets lately or is it all quiet on that front? maybe since the team is doing much better they won't bring in any significant signings and just bring in some backups at certain positions?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I got a few nibbles, but Guillermo would laugh at me if I posted them, so I'll pass.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Post them Iron....there's nothing wrong with finding links and reporting rumors. I only laugh at the report not the guy finding the report. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Well, today we get another report that the Fire are in for 37 y/o La Liga CB Sergio Ballesteros. This repeats what MLSSoccer.com reported a couple days ago. It's weird because MLSSoccer normally repeats foreign articles, but this time they have their own sources.

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/es/news/article/2013/06/26/se-dice-en-europa-sergio-ballesteros-llegar%C3%AD-chicago-fire-y-%C2%BFqu%C3%A9-pasar%C3%A1-con-?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    http://www.superdeporte.es/levante/2013/06/28/ballesteros-quedara-busca-equipo/200336.html

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Going by past practice, the less we hear out of the Fire, the more likely it is that a signing is imminent.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    They've got 2-3 on the radar that they're looking at.....I don't believe anything has been signed yet with anyone.

  • This article helps explain why not only whimsical play by play and entertaining video segments will be missed when Brendan Hannan heads to Los Angeles......

    http://joefavorito.com/2013/06/28/burn-fire-score-with-unique-promos/

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    He will be missed. Hate seeing talent of Brendan's level leave the club. Definitely one of the best in the business.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Doubt it. They're looking in Spain but not for a 37 year old center back.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I can see the Cosmos going for him, but I hope the Fire are not really interested. 37? Really?

  • Picks this weekend

    Toronto FC 1 Real Salt Lake 2
    Philadelphia 1 FC Dallas 1
    DC United 1 Vancouver 2
    Montreal 2 Colorado 1
    Sporting KC 2 Columbus 0
    Chivas USA 0 New England 1
    San Jose 1 Los Angeles 2
    New York 1 Houston 0

    Season record 71/150

  • Any idea as to how Klinsmann plans to use his goalkeepers in the GOld Cup? Is SJ the top guy?

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Rimando is probably the #1. I'm expecting Johnson to be gone for the entire month of July assuming USA advances to the final. He'll at least be the back-up ahead of Hamid IMO.

  • Got a chance to watch the Uruguay-Italy game. Forlan needs to be here now!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    the way things have been going the past few years, i'm not going to hold my breath about forlan to cf97. i just don't think they will make a big splash like we are all hoping. but i do agree that forlan needs to be here.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    My advice.....definitely don't hold your breath for that.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    for forlan or for any moves or both of those?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Forlan. They're going to make a move, it may not be a big one (Keane money) but they're going to make a move.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Why make a move if its not a big one, doesn't have to be huge just
    bigger than what we have now, getting tired of their bargain basement finds that don't quite turn out as we were led to believe.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    My sentiments exactly. Save the money then, don't throw 200K at a washed up never was just to pretend that you're trying to acquire talent. If they didn't waste money on all the crap foreign players they would have the money to bring in a quality proven player. I'd rather them go in strong for a real DP and if it didn't work out just be open about the offers made and do the best with what they got.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    A big move is the only move worth making, we don't need another over paid mediocre player to solidify our spot in the middle.

  • Newest episode of the podcast is up, featuring Mr. Mike Magee.

    http://FirePodFC.com

  • Happy to see that Pineda got a half in the reserve match. Surprised to see we played a 4-3-3. Surprised to see Bone as captain. Good that Tornaghi got a match in before taking over starting duties. Losing at home, however, really hurts.

  • Chivas USA has signed Carlos Bocanegra.........

    http://www.cdchivasusa.com/news/2013/07/chivas-usa-sign-us-mens-national-team-captain-carlos-bocanegra

    Traded 2015 first round pick and international spot to Toronto FC for the allocation pick.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That's lame, I guess he is a luxury not a necessity for this team but its still kind of sucks.

  • In reply to john:

    I guess he wanted to play close to home badly enough that playing for that disaster of a franchise didn't matter.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yeah, he one upped Magee for sure! What's with all these home sick players? Too bad Messi isn't from Chicago

  • In reply to john:

    No, but he *IS* going to be in Chicago this weekend. Does the club have any Argentine connections?? :)

  • Just don't let him take penalty kicks!

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