The Chicago Fire continued to roll at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs in Westin, Ind. Tuesday, taking an easy 4-0 decision over the Charlotte Soccer Academy.
The Fire Academy got things started early when Alex Underwood crossed for Collin Fernandez (above) who took a great first touch before slotting past the Charlotte ‘keeper in the third minute.
Just before the half hour mark, Qudus Lawal doubled the lead, heading home a corner kick from close range to give the Fire Academy a 2-0 halftime lead.
“It was good to go in up 2-0,” said Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland. “It can be a dangerous lead though and the first 10 minutes of the second half we kind of lost our legs.”
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They found them quickly enough though hen Cameron Lindley made it 3-0 for the Fire Academy in the 55th minute.
Following that goal, heavy rain began to pour, making conditions difficult and the soccer, “not too pretty” according to Sunderland.
With a strong lead in hand though, the Fire saw the game out and added an important fourth goal via Mauricio Pineda from the penalty spot after Andrew Gutman was taken down in the 88th minute.
The 4-0 win combined with FC Dallas’s 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers Tuesday, sets up a crucial clash between the two MLS academies Thursday at 9:00 a.m. CT for a place in the USSDA National Finals next month.
Because of Pineda’s late penalty kick, the Fire hold a one goal advantage in the goal differential tie breaker, meaning they’ll need only a draw on Thursday to move to the national quarterfinals.
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