Fire defeat Fort Lauderdale, advance to USOC Semifinals

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.

Fire line-up

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.

Update 7/21

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.

Filed under: 2016 US Open Cup

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Guillermo, what is your opinion of our overall level of play last night?

    Good, poor, skated by just enough?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    It was good. The level of competition wasn't exactly up to par but you have to beat that team by multiple goals.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Ft. Lauderdale is a team that is not only from a lower division, but that suffers from some of the same problems as NASL 2.0 (that is, the late 70s and early 89s, not the pre-Pélé NASL) - they're apparently missing payrolls and may go the way of the original Strikers and their late 90s MLS neighbors in Florida. Not to mention that they are 11th out of 12 teams in the NASL (granted they've only played 4 games in this portion of the season, but have only gotten 1 point).

    The talk about the Strikers playing to get transfers didn't seem to result in impressive individual performances, and it certainly didn't result in an impressive team performance. They certainly didn't review any tape of Accam, or put into place any kind of plan to stop him.

  • In your honest opinion, if the Fire get by the Revolution in the semifinal do they stand a chance against either Dallas or LA in the final?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    At least we'd have an extra day or two of rest before the final.

    For LA:

    9/18 vs SKC in KC
    09/21 USOC Final
    09/25 vs Sounders

    For Dallas:

    09/17 vs NYCFC in NY
    09/21 USOC Final
    09/24 RSL in SLC

    For Chicago:

    09/16 DC in CHI
    09/21 USOC Final
    09/23 NYCFC in NY

    ...and the regular season still means something to LA and Dallas, so the league games after the final may come into play as well.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    It's MLS...they'll have a chance in a home game but both teams would clearly be favored over Chicago.

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    As you mentioned the level of competition was pretty low but I still thought there were a lot of positives. Vincent actually looked like an all-star in this game. His crosses into the box (with both feet too) were much better, his defending was better, and he was dangerous going forward. Really excited to see him turn the corner. Thiam also seems to have done the same. I think for both, they are finally settled into the team and growing in confidence. Even though I probably like Igbo more than most fans, it has always been obvious that him and Accam just dont compliment each other in the attack. While both de Leeuw and Accam had great games, it was even more encouraging to see how well they were already feeding off one another. One performance that may have gone unnoticed was Alverez'. He just seemed to be having a field day out there. He was just dribbling through 2 or 3 defenders every time he got the ball. I think every player out there just looked to actually be enjoying themselves last night...even the commentators were alluding to how refreshing it was to watch. Again, I know that Ft. Lauderdale (or as Dan Kelly calls them "florida" lol) isnt exactly flush with talent right now but never the less, Chicago had a dominant performance and the boost in confidence may just carry over to league play.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    There some positives. De Leeuw is solid, demands the ball, and is consistently talking to the guys around him on what he'd like to see happen. The defense continues to look organized and difficult to break down in the final third. Thiam and Polster look to be the better combination at holding midfield. Accam has moments of very special play (although he missed a header that should have been a goal because he appeared to be watching the defender and not the ball).

    However, I absolutely disagree about Alverez. I was at the game and there were significant periods where he looked disinterested. Yes, he would break down two guys in the midfield third, but then he'd fail to distribute, get a shot off, and ultimately lose the ball. Everything he tried to do was to his favored left and by the end of the game Ft Lauderdale defenders played him to go left, which he still tried, and he would cut left directly into a defender. He was ineffective and his right leg is little more than a wooden peg.

    Finally, I think they missed Goosens in the middle. Before the Strikers went down a man they were holding possession in the midfield and consistently broke through the fire midfield (another reason I think Alverez look bad was his slow minded and footed defense). Yes, the fire were up 2-0, but the Fire's possession was in the defensive third and very little in the mid and offensive third. To me, they showed that even against a mediocre NASL team they are close to a one dimensional counter attacking team. I'd like to believe Goosens would have helped with the ability to defend and possess and attack through the midfield more than Cocis was able to do ... and way more than LaBrocca and Thiam after Cosic went out (Thiam had two wide open attempts to turn in the midfield with the ball and take space, but never looked over his shoulder to see what was there and instead played a neutral or negative pass).

    A good result, but this teams is missing some pieces still.

  • Guillermo, will the semifinal game be played on the 9th or 10th? I've read both, but according to the USOC site, "They will face the New England Revolution in the first Semifinal on Tuesday, Aug. 9." I was hoping it would be on the 10th, so I could make it to that (if we win the draw to host) and the Orlando City game on the 14th while I'm in town.

  • In reply to jimmyblackcloud:

    Semifinal on August 9 at New England.

  • The goal by DeLeeuw was no gimme. He really scooped it in. It would have been very easy to hit that one wide. Hopefully, a precursor for better finishing in the coming months.

  • .....aaaaaaaaand the finals just got a lot less likely

  • Anybody else cringe a little during the "Lionking" goal call? It was after the 2nd goal...i like the basis of the nickname, but i feel like DK really butchered it

  • In reply to AJties:

    At least he didn't sing hakuna matata.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I would rather listen to that then his actual announcing. Is he really the only announcer they can get. The Fire stands a chance against the Revs during the Open Cup because they will have no one there to watch. Their stadium attendance makes the Fire's look awesome.

  • In reply to AJties:

    "The Lion" is okay (from what I saw on the twitters, appearantly he's called "Lion" by the other players in the locker room.)

    Lionking is just so much "no."

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I think DK was trying to combine "the lion" (de leewu) and "King David" (accam) into Lionking for when they combine to score...he just stumbled all over it while doing the DK crescendo to yell

  • In reply to AJties:

    As long as he's announcing a goal for us, I don't care.

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