The Chicago Fire Academy U-15s took a major step in international play on Friday morning, downing fellow MLS Academy Toronto FC 2-1 in the semifinals of the Liga Bancomer MX tournament in Mexico City.
The Fire Academy side had to battle back for the victory after conceding a first half goal to TFC’s Jordan Faria.
Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland reinvigorated the side, coming out punching in the second half before Florida Fire Juniors’ Sebastian Joffre was pulled down in the box for a penalty kick. David Portugal calmly stepped up and put his spot kick to the keeper’s left to equalize in the 45th minute.
Playing 35-minute halves, the Fire pushed for the go ahead goal and found it as Joffre worked his magic once again, beating a man in the box before firing past the TFC netminder for a 2-1 advantage in the 58th minute.
With a place in Saturday’s final on the line, Toronto FC heaved pressure into the box through the closing moments but Fire ‘keeper Raymon Rosas was strong controlling his box against a bigger TFC side and the Fire closed out with a 2-1 win.
The Fire Academy will now play in Saturday’s final vs. the winner of Monarcas Morelia and Pachuca in the tournament final at the historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City with the game set to kickoff at 11:00am CT. Fans can follow the match live @ChiFireAcademy on Twitter.
The Fire Academy lost their opening match of the tournament 4-1 to Pachuca, drew 1-1 with the Houston Dynamo and lost 3-2 to Chivas de Guadalajara in group play earlier this week.
Despite not winning in pool play, the tournament is set up so the top MLS and top FMF side in each group advance to the semifinals which set up the Fire’s date with Toronto FC on Friday.