The Chicago Fire U-18 Academy opened up the 2014 U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs with a 2-1 win over fellow MLS side Portland Timbers Monday in Westin, Ind.
After both teams traded early chances, the Chicago Fire slowly took control of the match, finding the game’s first goal in the 33rd minute.
U.S. youth international Cameron Lindley slotted a ball for Collin Fernandez towards the box where he was brought down by a Portland defender, giving the Fire a dangerous free kick.
Lindley calmly stepped up and picked up the top right corner to give the Fire a 1-0 lead.
“We kind of took the game from them at that point,” said Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland.
The side would double its lead just five minutes later when Alex Underwood put a pinpoint cross in from the right corner, giving Jeff Farina (pictured above) an easy, tap-in finish at the near post in the 38th minute.
The Fire had early chances to put Portland away in the second half but couldn’t convert. They paid for it in the 61st minute when Sam Werner sent in a cross for Foster Langsdorf to make it 2-1.
The Fire absorbed pressure to close out the game however, taking three points from their first match at National Playoffs.
“Overall it was a good result, said Sunderland. “It was too easy for us at a certain point and when things get too easy you lose some urgency and focus and the game gets hard because the other team takes it back.”
The Chicago Fire play their next group match on Tuesday at 11:15am CT vs. Charlotte Soccer Academy who fell 4-1 to FC Dallas on Monday.
The Fire close out the playoffs with a clash vs. FC Dallas at 9:00am CT on Thursday, in a match that could be pivotal as only the top group finishers advanced to next month’s USSFDA Finals.
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For full coverage of the U-18 Academy Playoffs, please visit U.S. Soccer's Academy site.