BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (July 23, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club fell 2-0 to Cruz Azul in the quarterfinal of the Leagues Cup at SeatGeek Stadium on Tuesday night. The match marked the first ever meeting between both sides.
With the Fire playing its third game in seven days, Head Coach Veljko Paunović made seven changes to the starting lineup that featured in the team’s previous match against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday, July 20. Eighteen-year-old Fire Academy product Andre Reynolds II made his professional debut in Tuesday’s game. Midfielder Amando Moreno made his first start with the Fire after being acquired from the New York Red Bulls during the offseason. Goalkeeper Richard Sánchez earned his first start since a preseason match versus FC Cincinnati, making six saves, including a strong save on a blistering Juan Escobar strike in the 78th minute (WATCH).
After a tightly contested first half, Cruz Azul took the lead in the 43rd minute when midfielder Roberto Alvarado reacted to a loose ball in the box and volleyed a shot in the far top corner, giving the visitors a 1-0 edge going into halftime.
In the opening stages of the second half, the Fire responded with a close opportunity to level the score when Reynolds produced a strong challenge in Cruz Azul’s half and knocked the ball forward to midfielder Fabian Herbers. Reacting to Reynolds’ challenge, Herbers took a touch toward goal and fired a low, powerful effort that forced a difficult diving save from goalkeeper Jesús Corona. Pouncing on the rebound, Moreno took a follow-up shot from a tight angle that was deflected wide by Corona (WATCH).
Three minutes later, the Men in Red created another scoring opportunity when a dangerous corner kick from defender Diego Campos led to a close-range chance for forward Nemanja Nikolić. With Campos driving his corner kick to the edge of the six-yard box, defender Grant Lillard flicked the ball to the far post to Nikolić, who nodded his header high of the target (WATCH).
In the 90th minute, Cruz Azul scored the game’s final goal when midfielder Elías Hernández received a cross from midfielder Edgar Méndez and tucked the ball just inside the near post.
Looking ahead, the Fire will return to league play on Saturday, July 27 when the team hosts D.C. United at SeatGeek Stadium. Scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. CT, the match will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and transmitted locally in Spanish on Univision Radio 93.5 Latino Mix.
Chicago Fire 0:2 Cruz Azul
CA – Alvarado 43’
CA – Hernández (Méndez) 90’
CHI – Marcelo 60’
CA – Aguilar 70’
CHI – Herbers 72’
CHI – Campos 82’
CA –Lichnovsky 86’
CHI – Bronico 90’+3’
Chicago Fire: GK Sánchez, D Campos, D Marcelo, D Lillard, D Reynolds (Calvo 58’), M Bronico, M Gutjahr, M Herbers, M Frankowski (Schweinsteiger 58’), M Moreno (Sapong 64’), F Nikolić©
Subs not used: Ousted, Kappelhof, McCarty, Mihailović
Shots: 5 Shots on goal: 1 Fouls: 17 Offsides: 0 Corners: 3
Cruz Azul: GK Corona©, D Escobar, D Madueña, D Domínguez, D Aguilar, M Rodríguez, M Lichnovsky, M Yotún, M Pineda (Méndez 64’), M Alvarado (Fernández 70’), F Caraglio (Hernández 87’)
Subs not used: Cauteruccio, Domínguez, Baca, Allison
Shots: 14 Shots on goal: 7 Fouls: 12 Offsides: 3 Corners: 11
Referee: Oshane Nation
Assistant Referees: Juan Francisco Zumba, Juan Carlos Mora
Fourth Official: Daneon Parchment
VAR: Alan Kelly