After many missed opportunities in 2013, four goal second half vs. Orlando was coming for Fire
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire’s second half explosion of goals in Wednesday night’s 5-1 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win over Orlando City sort of felt like it had been coming for a while and still the final score might be slightly deceiving.
Though they scored early from Chris Rolfe’s sixth minute header, they conceded the equalizer six minutes after halftime when City’s Rob Valentino finished from close range.
In the moments after conceding the goal, Orlando looked the better side, threatening Sean Johnson’s frame multiple times.
Like he has so much this season, winger Patrick Nyarko took matters into his own hands, blasting up the left flank and finishing past Miguel Gallardo to restore the 2-1 lead.
“I think Patrick’s goal was game changing,” said Rolfe. “At that point we’re looking at a tied game and they had tons of momentum and we didn’t look to have much life.”
The goal certainly woke the Fire up and moments later, Jeff Larentowicz chipped Rolfe into the box where he finished for his second of the match and third in the 2013 competition.
Asked if he felt stress after not tallying since a 2-0 third round win over Charlotte Eagles, Rolfe said “There’s always stress. [I’m] Always trying to get better, always trying to help the team.
If I feel like I’m not helping the team then I get frustrated. I’m glad you haven’t seen that come out on the field. We’re all working hard to get better and tonight it came together.”
Together it indeed did come. If the third goal didn’t put Orlando away, Yann Songo’o’s sending off after pulling down substitute Joel Lindpere outside the area in the 71st minute put City to the sword.
From there, Mike Magee sprung up and scored his seventh goal in as many matches since joining the Fire.
A second red card was shown to the Lions in the 85th minute as Adama Mbengue went in recklessly on Jalil Anibaba.
With the Fire up two men, Lindpere chipped in another icing goal off a feed from Duka in second half stoppage time to close out a 5-1 win.
After plenty of games this season where the Fire created multiple chances but saw their finishing go begging, the 5-1 scoreline was coming according to Duka.
“I think our chemistry is getting better,” said Duka. “The score line doesn’t show how this game really went. The other team played well – give credit to them. Every game our chemistry is building and right now we’re just finishing our chances.”
As for the next round, the Fire will face D.C. United at home on August 7 after the capitol city club defeated the New England Revolution 3-1 earlier Thursday night in Germantown, Maryland.
Though D.C. sit bottom of the 19-team Major League Soccer standings and the Fire comfortably beat them 2-0 earlier this month, United’s run in the 2013 Open Cup seems similar to the Fire’s run to the final in 2011.
“D.C. looks like they’re trying to make a long run in this Open Cup,” said Duka. “Maybe their season’s not going so well so they’re putting their eggs in this basket.
"It’s going to be a tough game and we just have to go in sharp in the final third and just finish. If we do that it might end up like tonight.”