Fire 1, Pumas 0

Fire beat Pumas to rescue SuperLiga appearance


BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Fire defender Wilman Conde scored in the 35th minute and Chicago made the lead stand up, defeating Mexican club Pumas UNAM 1-0 in SuperLiga action.

Pumas needed to win to have a shot at advancing. But rather than looking like a club bent on earning the victory at all cost, they instead seemed like an unmotivated bunch.

Chicago took advantage of Pumas' lackadaisical attitude and struck the only goal of the encounter. The Fire’s two All-Stars, Marco Pappa and Conde, connected to give Chicago the lead in the 35th minute. First XI winger Pappa curled a corner in from the right side and a completely unmarked Conde got on the end of it, heading the ball home from five yards out.

Pumas nearly equalized just five minutes later. Forward Juan Carlos Cacho rolled a cross in from the right side of the area towards strike partner Juan Francisco Palencia in the six-yard box. It looked as if Palencia was going to get a foot to the ball, but he missed on a diving lunge and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

The Mexico City club pushed forward and came agonizingly close to drawing level in first half stoppage time. Midfielder Leandro Augusto stepped onto a loose ball 30 yards from goal, took a touch, and fired with his right. His shot, however, went just over the right upper corner.

Pumas head coach Guillermo Vasquez made two changes at halftime, bringing midfielder Oscar Rojas on for Cacho and forward Martin Bravo on for midfielder Fernando Espinoza.

Rojas had a pair of second half chances. The first came in the 69th minute, when he dribbled through the Fire midfield and unleashed a powerful right-footed shot from 20 yards out that sailed wide of the right post. The second chance came in the 15 minutes later, as Rojas got free in the right side of the box and hit a shot towards the far post from 15 yards out that Fire keeper Sean Johnson – making his second consecutive start – did well to parry away and then stop a Pumas follow up shot.

Pumas continued attacking until the bitter end, and nearly nabbed an equalizer in the 90th minute, when Bravo’s bicycle kick near the penalty spot took a deflection off C.J. Brown and nearly went in.

The result puts an end to SuperLiga for both the Fire and Pumas.
Chicago (0-2-1, three points) finished third in Group B, while Pumas
(0-2-1, one point) brought up the rear. The New England Revolution
(3-0-0, nine points) and Monarcas Morelia (1-1-1, four points) advanced
to the semifinals.

Scoring Summary:

CHI – Wilman Conde (Marco Pappa) 35'

Discipline Summary:

PUM – Leandro Augusto (caution) 42’

CHI – Wilman Conde (caution) 43’

Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson; Tim Ward (Kwame Watson-Siriboe, 53’), CJ Brown (c), Wilman Conde, Krzysztof Krol; Marco Pappa, Corben Bone, Mike Banner, Justin Mapp (Stefan Dimitrov, 67’), Deris Umanzor; Collins John (Brian McBride, 72’)

Substitutes note used: Andrew Dykstra

Pumas UNAM -- Sergio Bernal (c); Marco Antonio Palacios, Dario Veron, Luis Fuentes, Efrain Velarde; Leandro Oldoni, Fernando Espinosa (Martin Bravo, 46’), Israel Castro; Dante Lopez (Jehu Chiapas, 65’), Juan Carlos Cacho (Oscar Rojas, 46’), Francisco Palencia (Javier Cortes, 56’)

Substitutes Not Used: Miguel Palacios, Victor Rosales, Eduardo Gamez

Referee: Jose Pineda
Referee’s Assistants: Juan Rodas, Oscar Velasquez
4th Referee: Abby Okulaja
Attendance: 9,429