Fire down Orlando City 3-1, advance to USOC semi-finals

The beauty of the US Open Cup tournament is that every team has a chance to win in a one game elimination format. By virtue of the 3-1 victory over Orlando City, the Fire have advanced to the USOC semi-finals on August 11 in Philadelphia. They will face is a Union team that is tied with them for the most losses (11) in MLS during the regular season so far.

Chicago took the advantage early when Patrick Nyarko was able to get behind the Orlando City back line in the third minute. He managed to track down Jon Busch's long ball over the top and beat goalkeeper Tally Hall to give the Fire the lead. In controlling most of the first half, the Fire were clearly the better side on both ends of the pitch out-shooting Orlando 8-2 while not allowing one shot on target.

Shaun Maloney returned to action for this first time since the June 16 Cup match against Louisville City. Joevin Jones was back from Gold Cup action and David Accam was electric as a second half substitute.

Despite having the better of the play, the Fire surrendered the lead in the 56th minute. Matt Polster lost his mark on fellow rookie Cyle Larin and Eric Avila's cross found him over the outstretched arms of Jon Busch for the equalizer. It was the only shot on frame Orlando City would register all night.

Accam's introduction into the match in the 59th caused all sorts of problems for Orlando City and the Fire were finally able to break the deadlock late. Matt Watson sprung Accam with a pass near midfield in the 87th minute and the Ghanaian attacker raced up the field by defenders to get a shot off the post past Hall. The rebound fell to Kennedy Igboananike for the game winner.

Jones found Igboananike over the top in the 89th to send him in 1v1 against Hall. After working his way around him, the ensuing shot found the back of the net and sent the Fire into the semi-finals.

One of the two most frequently defeated sides in MLS will have a chance to play for hardware this season, but that's the beauty of the Cup.

Drogba update

After the match Frank Yallop said that he was expecting an answer on the contract offer made to Didier Drogba within the next 48 hours. "We are just waiting for a decision from their side and which way he wants to go. He has choices. He feels like we have put a good pitch in and is very happy with what we have done. But again it is up to the person to choose and we will see."

Check out post game video with comments from Igboananike and Accam here.

Fire line up

Busch

Polster, Gehrig, Adailton, Jones

Nyarko (Accam 59'), Watson, Cocis, Shipp

Maloney (Igboananike 66'), Johnson (Stephens 90')

Not used: S. Johnson, Cochrane, Palmer, Fernandez

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Filed under: 2015 US Open Cup

Tags: Chicago Fire

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Comments

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  • That may have been the best game I have seen the Fire play in a while. The team was aggressive throughout the game. Although the crowd was small, I thought the atmosphere was really good. Of course, scoring and winning can help that.

    The Fire really have a short line up on the field. Orlando City looked huge, and their corner kicks really worried me. Great to see Accam's speed and energy.

    Great to celebrate a victory!

  • In reply to Gladbach:

    Sight seen in the Fire locker room....on the white board:
    "Energy! Fight! Do you want to win the Cup!!!!"

  • Thoughts:

    -Accam continues to shine. To have him for another year seems almost a dream.
    -I'm not sold that Iggy has turned a corner or anything like that. He continues to underwhelm me.
    -I get the impression that Polster was slotted in RB to make room for Watson in midfield and the fact that in Yallop's eyes, Polster is too good not to play.

    That said, coupled with his [Polster] performance at that spot and Yallop's tendency to try pushing round pegs through square holes, do we see Polster in RB again?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I think it's possible we might start seeing Polster at RB more often. The back line could be Polster, Gehrig, Adailton, Jones, with Larentowicz and Cocis in front of them in the midfield. It'll be interesting to see what Yallop does now that everyone is either becoming healthy or returning from international duty.

    I don't really understand the "fitness" issue with Palmer. It's midseason and he's been playing games, he should be fit. Unless it's an injury or some other issue I'm not buying the whole fitness excuse.

  • My thoughts on the game:

    Fire played with energy like they havent for a while.

    Starting to see the speed on the counter that Yallop wanted by signing speed in the off season, only issue is that for the Fire to really show it they need a lead to stretch the opposing team.

    Watson was all over the place in center midfield, but his performances are too inconsistent for me.

    The finishing over the first 84 min, aside from Nyarkos shot, is the reason they still need Drogba (a proven finisher around the net). Fire create more then enough chances but only hit the target maybe once out of 8.

    Maloney looked refreshed and good on the ball. Jones was missed very much.

    Lastly, our CB pairing was getting owned by Larin on every 50/50 ball. Need a CB that can hold their own in the air and win the "jump balls"

    All in all very happy with the team performance but when they play like that you see the potential with someone who can finish chances.

  • G, Curious to hear your thoughts on individual performances last night.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I thought Cocis and Watson were pretty good against Kaka. Cocis has been solid of late.

    Maloney also gave them an assured, confident outlet that was able to maneuver with the ball at his feet. He hasn't been spectacular but he is missed when he's not there.

    The back line was composed with the exception of the goal where Polster didn't get back quickly enough to stay with Larin.

    All in all, a pretty good team performance.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    agree on Cocis being good as of late. Hopefully that becomes the norm for him.

  • I think the clear difference maker in the game was Shaun Maloney. In particular, after the Fire would lose the ball in the final third, he pressed and closed down Orlanda so fast that he either won the ball back or forced bad clearances that allowed others to intercept. That happened on numerous occasions. Shipp needs to either learn from Maloney's defensive skills or he needs to sit. He gives up too easily.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Agree with you in Shipp. Still loses the ball too easily.

  • Guys Accam is the most exciting fire player that I have seen in many years. There is no way one defender can cover him. It will be interesting to see how teams attempt to defend against him. If their new signing comes along I am predicting and undefeated rest of season.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Accam is very exciting. Your statement is implying that this team is one signing away from going 15 games undefeated. That seems like a pretty far stretch.

  • Last night was not terrible to watch for once. They were keeping some possession and trying to actually play soccer. It also looked like they had some sort of game plan against kaka. Nothing to really complain about other than Polster playing right back. He was constantly out of position last night and many of their breaks were coming from that side. He needs to be back in the middle of the field. Yallop seems to have bought him some more time to try and save his job but I would still like to watch him leave the club.

    Hopefully they build from this and can stay healthy for the rest of the season.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agree about Polster, although he wasn't awful at RB this time. And Watson had a surprisingly OK game, considering his usual.

    Polster looked better at RB this game than he did last time he played CB. Hopefully Palmer can get out of Yallop's doghouse, if not, at least Larentowizc will be back soon so Gehrig can shift over if need be.

    Yallop bought him some time. We'll see if the return of Maloney, Jones. etc makes a difference. Playoffs are out of the picture, but consistent improvement may soften my view of Yallop, especially if it comes with an US Open Cup.

  • The semi-final date has been changed from August 11 to August 12.

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