There wasn't much doubt to this one from the start. The Fire easily handled the last NASL squad left standing in the US Open Cup tournament. A comfortable 3-0 win has landed them in the Semifinals for the twelfth time in club history.
Veljko Paunovic fielded a near first choice line-up to back up his emphasis on the Cup and things turned in the Fire's favor early. David Accam was tripped in the penalty area by Strikers goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in the fourth minute before converting the spot kick to give Chicago the lead.
Thirty minutes later, Accam abused centerback Gale Agbossoumonde and two other defenders en route to finding Michael de Leeuw in front of the net for an easy tap-in. Agbossoumonde was turned around and dropped to the turf as Accam dribbled around him in embarrassing fashion.
Fort Lauderdale never seriously threatened the Chicago goal and the match was put away early in the second half. Khaly Thiam knocked in a rebound of Nick Labrocca's corner kick header in the 51st minute to seal it. Fort Lauderdale played the final 20 minutes down a man after Agbossoumonde was issued a second yellow card.
The Fire will now face the New England Revolution, who defeated the Philadelphia Union on penalty kick tonight, in the one of the Semifinals on August 9. The draw for that match will take place tomorrow.
Lampson; Ramos, Kappelhof, Campbell, Vincent; Thiam, Polster; Alvarez, Cocis (LaBrocca 45'), Accam (Stephens 72'); de Leeuw (Igboananike 53')
- Razvan Cocis left the match in first half stoppage time with a calf injury.
- Sean Johnson did not make the 18 for a second consecutive match.
- The Fire will face New England away on Saturday. The Revolution currently hold the sixth spot in the East; six points ahead of the Fire with 2 more games played.
The Fire will play at New England on August 9 in one of the Semifinal matches. If they can beat the Revolution they will host the winner of Los Angeles/FC Dallas at Toyota Park in September in US Open Cup Final.