While the Chicago Fire first team were busy hosting the league’s defending champions in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Portland, the club's PDL side was down south upsetting a cup-holder of their own.
The Chicago Fire Premier Development League (PDL) team -- comprised of top regional talent at the U-23 level -- earned the claim of US Soccer National Amateur champions Saturday, defeating Chattanooga FC, 2-1 in extra time, to raise the 2016 Hank Steinbrecher Cup.
The US National Amateur Championship annually brings together representatives from the country’s biggest amateur leagues and competitions to formally crown a national champion. Chattanooga FC, who represent the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) won the 2015 edition of the championship and hosted this year's tournament at UT-Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium. US Adult Soccer Open Cup champion West Chester United (Pennsylvania) and US Adult Soccer Amateur Cup champion Quinto Elemento (Kansas) also featured in this year’s contest.
The Fire put up a 6-1 victory over West Chester United on Friday night to advance to Saturday night’s final against Chattanooga, where Chicago’s Mark Segbers opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on an assist from Elliot Collier. Chattanooga would level in the 48th minute on a shot from Luke Winter, however, as the 1-1 scoreline held through 90 minutes.
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Chicago's Mauricio Pineda would break through just two minutes into extra time, netting the game-winner in the 108th minute off a corner kick and capping a 2-1 championship victory.
The Fire will return the Steinbrecher Cup to Bridgeview in a quick turnaround for the side, as they’ll prepare to resume PDL regular season play at home on Tuesday against the St. Louis Lions. Click here to view the team's complete upcoming schedule.