ROCK HILL, S.C. (May 29, 2013) – The newly-formed strike tandem of Mike Magee and Chris Rolfe proved the difference as the Chicago Fire trumped the Charlotte Eagles (USL-PRO) 2-0 in the 3rd Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night on the campus of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Fire will host the Columbus Crew in the 4th Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Toyota Park on Wednesday, June 12. Time is TBA. Tickets for the Fire – Crew Open Cup tilt go on-sale on Thursday, May 30 at noon via Ticketmaster and by calling 888-MLS-Fire. The match is Bonus Game 2 for Fire Season Ticket Holders.
Fire head man Frank Klopas trotted out a first team lineup featuring the club’s newest acquisitions Baky Soumare and Magee. The visitors controlled the match from the opening whistle, utilizing the lion’s share of possession to take the lead in the opening minutes.
In the 11th minute the Fire capitalized on the team’s industrious start as Fire defender Gonzalo Segares sent a driven ball to the back post. Magee, making his Fire debut after being acquired from LA Galaxy for the right of first refusal for midfielder Robbie Rogers, met the ball with enthusiasm and headed it past Charlotte goalkeeper Eric Reed to give the four-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions a 1-0 advantage.
The home side looked to bounce back from the early deficit when Jorge Herrera played a measured ball into space for Shaun Francis charging in on goal. The former Columbus Crew defender took a touch a clanged his effort off of the crossbar.
Charlotte came close again in the 52nd minute as Fire defender Austin Berry collided with Eagles midfielder Sam Asante in the offensive third. The ball trickled to Stefan Smith but Fire ‘keeper Paolo Tornaghi rushed off his line to clear away the fifth-fifty challenge from the Antigua and Barbuda forward. Tornaghi earned his second career shutout while donning a Fire shirt.
The Fire put the game away on a wonderstrike from the boot of Rolfe in the 57th minute. With the Fire on the attack, Rolfe and Magee combined to drive toward goal. Magee fed Rolfe in stride and the Fire’s second all-time leading scorer smacked a dipping ball that pierced the back of the net to give the Fire a 2-0 lead. The strike was Rolfe’s first for the Fire in the U.S. Open Cup and his 50th goal across all competitions for the Men in Red.
The Fire return to MLS action when they host Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United at Toyota Park on Sunday, June 2 at 4:00 p.m. CT (UniMas/My50/La Ley 107.9 FM). Tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com.
- With the win, the Fire improve to 30-11-4 all-time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup since the club’s foray into the tournament in 1998.
- After being acquired Saturday from the LA Galaxy, Mike Magee made his Fire debut.
- Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause made his 24 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearance. With the start Pause ties Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton for second most all-time appearances in the Open Cup. With his next appearance the Fire veteran will tie Fire Original C.J. Brown for most Fire appearances in the Open Cup.
- Chris Rolfe notched his first Fire goal in the U.S. Open Cup. The Fire previously scored a goal for the Fire Reserves (PDL) in 2004.
- Fire defender Baky Soumare made his second start in his second stint with the Fire after being acquired via trade from the Philadelphia Union last week.
- Paolo Tornaghi got his second career U.S. Open Cup start.
- The Fire were without the services of Sean Johnson who was with the U.S. Men’s National Team in Cleveland for its match against Belgium.
Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas
Thoughts on the team's performance...
“It was great not only for Mike to have a good game and score but also for Chris Rolfe. 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 again 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. The facilities here were great, they're a great team and we kept a clean sheet and so it was nice for us.”
On the play of the attacking four...
“I think Mike had a lot to do with the success in attack. 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.”
On facing Columbus in the next round...
“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.”
Chicago Fire 2 – 0 Charlotte Eagles
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Baky Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause © (Jeff Larentowicz, 46’); Dilly Duka, Alex, Patrick Nyarko (Joel Lindpere, 52’); Chris Rolfe (Sherjill MacDonald, 72’), Mike Magee
Substitutes not used: Alec Kaan, Michael Videira, Hunter Jumper
Charlotte Eagles: Eric Reed; Ben Newnam, Matt Gold, Fejiro Okiomah, Shaun Francis; Stephen Okai, Juan Guzman (Drew Yates, 75’); Jorge Herrera, Sam Asante, Nate Thornton (Sergio Villasenor, 45’); Stefan Smith (Christian Meza, 59’)
Substitutes not used: Brock Duckworth, Christian Ramirez, Evan Harding, Nick Courtney
CHI – Mike Magee (Gonzalo Segares) 11’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Mike Magee) 57’
CHI – Baky Soumare (caution) 39’
CHA – Sergio Villasenor (caution) 85’
Referee: Lance Jacob Vanhaitsma
Assistants: Jeff Muschik, Jude Carr
Fourth Official: Mark Buda