20’s Advance to Semis
The Chicago Fire Super-20 team advanced to the USL Super-20
North American Finals Friday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Beachside SC
(CT) in their third of four Group A matches.
After playing to a 1-1 deadlock with the Connecticut-based
side Thursday afternoon, the Fire got things started early when Javier Torres
streaked up the left flank and fired a low-driven shot which was saved by
goalkeeper Sergio Lara, but Ethan Finlay was there to bury the rebound in the 2nd
As the side looked for the second goal, midfielder Kirk Urso
stepped up the attack, providing three dangerous sequences in the span of five
The UNC product crossed from the right, finding a sliding
Finlay who put the ball just over the bar in the sixth minute. Just seconds
later, Urso’s 25-yard blast was deflected out for a corner kick. The Lombard,
IL native finally came good with a beautiful give-and-go with Domenic Barone,
putting the Michigan State striker through one-on-one with Lara, finishing
coolly in the 10th minute.
Beachside responded almost immediately with Scott Brown
marching down the field and finishing past Fire goalkeeper David Meves in the
The Fire controlled possession throughout the half, but
couldn’t find a third goal before the interval.
A number of Fire opportunities went begging as the hosts
outshot Beachside 11-0 but couldn’t find the insurance goal as Lara thwarted
the team six times to keep the match 2-1. The score line was enough to clinch
the Fire’s qualification to their fourth consecutive North American semifinals
with one group match left to play later in the day.
“I thought it was a good win,” said Super-20 head coach
Larry Sunderland. “We played better with the ball today than we did with them
yesterday but we still squandered a lot of chances and Lara made some very good
saves. I don’t know whether the score was necessarily reflective of the game but
credit to Beachside -- they counterattack, they get after you, they work really
hard throughout the game. At the end the 2-1 result is fair enough and we’re
happy to be moving on.”
Fire down Alpharetta
Despite having already qualified for the semi-finals, the
Fire defeated Alpharetta United (GA) 5-1 Friday afternoon.
Greg Jordan put the Fire ahead in the 17th minute
and then it became the Ian Christenson show, with the Fire Academy product
striking in the 26th, 27th and 47th minutes of
the match, before MichiganState striker Cyrus Saydee added a fifth goal with
nine minutes remaining.
United salvaged a consolation goal late in the match to put
the full time score at 5-1.
With the win, the Fire finish atop Group A with 10 points,
taking their overall record to 13-0-1 in 2010.
After Monday morning’s results, the Fire will meet the Los
Angeles Galaxy in the tournament’s semifinals, with the two club’s first teams
set to face each other in a regular season match Sunday night in Carson, CA.
The Super-20 match kicks off at 6pm at Wedgebury Stadium on the campus of
SportScore II in Rockford, IL.