A sellout crowd of 20,042 at Toyota Park saw Liga MX champion Club America defeat the Fire 3-2 in a pretty entertaining affair as these mid-season international friendlies go. A wide open first half ended in a 1-1 score after Daniel Paladini put the Fire ahead initially with a pretty chest trap and volley following a pass from Maicon Santos in the 19th minute. The Fire's woes on set piece defending continued when America tied it in the 25th. Luis Gabriel Rey tapped in a loose ball that ensued from a free kick just outside of the penalty area.
The visitors got the benefit of the doubt from referee Ted Unkel in the second and converted two rather soft penalty calls in the second half to seal the victory. The first call, a handball against Paladini in the 63rd could have gone either way but the second appeared to be the result of a dive by Antonio Lopez when challenged by Mike Videira. The call was particularly questionable because Unkel ignored an apparent foul against Quincy Amarikwa in the box just minutes earlier.
The Fire scored a consolation goal in stoppage time when Amarikwa fed the ball forward to disgruntled striker Sherjill MacDonald, who earlier told the Sun Times that he was looking to move elsewhere and didn't care if he played anymore. The Dutch forward hasn't scored or assisted on a goal all season and has deservedly found his way to the bench but after the game Frank Klopas wasn't as quick to dismiss him as he apparently has been to dismiss the club.
“I was happy for him. I think everyone on the team was. He’s worked hard and I think it’s good sometimes to get rewarded like that. Quincy Amarikwa played a terrific through ball and you see the pace. It’s good for his confidence. He’s been working hard and it’s good to see him score. But a lot of times it’s not just the goals. You see guys that sometimes have difficulty scoring or things don’t go their way, I think you have to find other ways to help the team. He’s been positive; he’s been working hard and helping the team in other ways. But obviously it’s a great feeling for him to get the goal. I know for myself and every one of the players they feel good for him," said Klopas in the post game press conference.
Paolo Tornaghi showed well as did newly signed leftback Shaun Francis who will be available to face Vancouver this weekend. Trialists Yamith Cuesta and Elias Vasquez are still with the club but were not eligible for this contest. The best part of this friendly was that the Fire didn't use a majority of their regular eleven and everyone appeared to escape healthy.
D Thompson (King 86'), Videira, Jumper. Segares (Francis 46')
M Duka (Pineda 46'), Alex (Bone 46'), Paladini, Lindpere (Atouba 63')
F Amarikwa, Santos (MacDonald 63')