Chicago Fire Player Development Update
CHICAGO FIRE ACADEMY TEAMS OPEN SEASON WITH 3-0-1 RECORD IN WEEKEND ACTION
The Chicago Fire U-18 and U-16 Academy squads went 3-0-1 this past weekend to kick off the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. Jeffrey Farina scored two hat tricks as the U-18s defeated the Internationals (OH) 7-0 on Saturday and the Crew Soccer Academy 4-1 on Sunday. The U-16s and the Internationals played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday before the U-16s picking up their first victory with a 2-0 win over the Crew Soccer Academy on Sunday. All four matches were played on the Toyota Park Turf Field.
The Fire U-18s kicked off Saturday, Sept. 22 against the Internationals. Jeffrey Farina broke the deadlock with the first goal of the match in the 43rd minute. After the half, the Fire came out immediately with goals in the 47th and 49th minute, courtesy of Farina and Marcus Epps. Grant Lillard added to the lead in the 59th minute and Anthony Smith notched the fifth goal in the 69th minute. Just one minute later, Farina completed his hat trick in the 70th minute. Epps completed his brace in the 85th and Christian Lomelli earned the shutout as the Fire U-18s opened their season with a convincing 7-0 victory.
In the second match of the day, Fire goalkeeper Jorge Trujillo kept a clean sheet as the Fire U-16s and the Internationals played to a scoreless draw.
The next day the Fire U-18s welcomed the Crew Soccer Academy to Toyota Park. Farina put the Fire up ahead early when he found the back of the net in just the seventh minute and doubled the lead in the 22nd. The Crew pulled one back in the 39th minute courtesy of a Rylee Woods goal and the Fire entered halftime with a 2-1 lead. Farina would complete his second hat trick in two days when he scored in the 75th minute and A.J. Jeffries added a late 90th minute goal to give the Fire a 4-1 win.
In the second fixture of the day, Collin Fernandez scored in the 60th minute and Juan Carlos Lujan doubled the lead in the 80th minute as the Fire U-16s defeated the Crew Soccer Academy 2-0. Jorge Trujillo was in goal for his second shutout in as many days.
The Chicago Fire Development Academy teams return to action on Saturday, Sept. 29 when the U-18s and U-16s travel to take on St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro at Metro United Soccer Complex in Collinsville, Ill. The U-18s will kick off first at 2:00 p.m. CT and the U-16s match will follow at 4:30 p.m. CT.
ACADEMY PLAYERS GAIN EXPERIENCE IN FIRE RESERVE MATCH
Five Academy players were called up for the Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas Reserve match on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Grant Lillard earned the start and played the entire 90 minutes as the Fire defeated FC Dallas 2-1. Marcus Epps entered the match in the 61st minute for two-time World Cup veteran Guillermo Franco and Ricardo Aldape entered the match in the 67th minute for Fire forward Dominic Oduro. Cody Witkowski and Oscar Gonzales were unused substitutes for the match.
FIRE ACADEMY ALUMNUS ANDREW OLIVER LEADS INDIANA UNIVERSITY PAST OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
Former Fire Academy player Andrew Oliver led Indiana University to a 2-0 victory over Ohio State Sunday afternoon.
Oliver, a freshman at IU and member of the Fire U-18 Academy squad last season, scored his first collegiate goal of the year in the 31st minute. Oliver also drew the penalty that was converted by Eriq Zavaleta in the 46th minute as the Hoosiers opened Big Ten play with the victory.