The Chicago Fire (2-7-2, 8 points) have struggled this season for offensive consistency but that wasn’t the case in their opening match in the U.S. Open Cup tournament.
The Fire were able to advance to the 4th round of the U.S. Open Cup after a 2-0 victory over the Charlotte Eagles on Wednesday. The club played with its first team starters in what proved to be an important match for the Fire.
It didn’t take long for Fire newcomer Mike Magee to make his first impression with the club as he scored in the 11th minute. Magee was able to get an assist from defender Gonzalo Segares and notched his first goal with the Fire.
“It was great not only for Mike to have a good game and score but also for Chris Rolfe,” said FIre head coach Frank Klopas. “I think games like this are never easy, you see around the world just the upsets that take place and there are great opportunities for teams like Charlotte to compete against MLS teams and also for players to showcase their abilities. More than anything we had to take the game very serious, which we did but it was a great night.”
Chris Rolfe added the other goal for the Fire in the 57th minute. Rolfe notched his first Fire goal in U.S. Open Cup play with an assist from Magee.
The Fire were able to shut out an opponent without the services of their star goalkeeper, Sean Johnson. Johnson was with U.S. Men’s National Team for their match with Belgium in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Reserve goalkepper Paolo Tornaghi made his second career start in a U.S. Open Cup match and recorded his first clean sheet.
“I think Mike had a lot to do with the success in attack,” Klopas said. “He connected a lot of passes and he’s already thinking a couple steps ahead before the ball comes. He’s a guy to connect and play with and so he helped all around. I think Alex also in the middle, his ability to be on the ball and kind of dictate the possession and rhythm of play was good. More than anything it was a good effort by the group and now we move on. We wanted to make sure we were focused and took this match seriously so I give a lot of credit to my players.”
The Fire will face Eastern Conference foe Columbus Crew on June 12 at Toyota Park. The club’s next match in MLS play will be this Sunday when they welcome D.C. United to Bridgeview.
“We shift our focus back to the league and D.C. United for Sunday now but we’re looking forward to getting to play this tournament at our home stadium against a rival in Columbus,” Klopas said.