Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Posted: 10:14 p.m.
PEORIA, Ill. -- Gaston Puerari and Jalil Anibaba scored to lead the Chicago Fire to a 2-1 victory Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids in a play-in match for the U.S. Open Cup.
Puerari scored on a long shot in the 45th minute to make it 1-0.
Colorado tied it up in the 47th minute, when Quincy Amarikwa found an open Andre Akpan. Akpan drilled the ball into the net.
The Fire regained the lead in the 61st minute, when Anibaba blasted a 40-yard shot past diving Rapids goalkeeper Ian Joyce.
A late shot by Colorado's Sanna Nyassi in the 86th minute just missed the right post.
Chicago will face the winner of Portland-San Jose in the next round of Open Cup play.
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The Chicago Fire finished off another undefeated preseason on Saturday.
The Fire concluded preseason play in Florida with a 4-1 win against Toronto FC at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.
It was the sixth and final preseason game in the Fire's preseason. The Fire outscored the opponents, three MLS teams, two minor league clubs and a college team, 18-6 and scored 16 goals in the past four games.
The Fire started with what appears to be a likely starting lineup for the opening match at Columbus a week from today. Jorge Bava was in goal with a back four of Brandon Vincent, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira and Michael Harrington. The midfield was anchored by Dax McCarty and Juninho in the center with David Accam, Michael de Leeuw and Arturo Alvarez supporting striker Nemanja Nikolic in the attack.
With the season opener at Columbus just a week away, coach Veljko Paunovic played the starters into the second half and had five players, Bava, Vincent, Kappelhof, McCarty and Juninho, play the full 90 minutes. Meanwhile Toronto made eight changes at halftime.
Juninho scored in the ninth minute on a rocket shot from outside the box. The Fire doubled the lead just over 10 minutes later when Nemanja Nikolic converted a penalty kick after Michael de Leeuw was fouled in the box. David Accam set up de Leeuw for the third goal and the Fire led 3-0 at halftime.
In the second half de Leeuw got his second goal before Toronto pulled one back via a penalty kick from Tosaint Ricketts.
"It's good for our confidence that we win these kind of games, but at the end, next week every team is starting at zero," de Leeuw said after the match. "Everything next week is important, but I think the confidence is big after this one."
CSN Chicago has expanded their regional broadcasting plans for the 2017 Chicago Fire season.
The expansion includes 29 MLS fixtures, 36 episodes of Fire Weekly, and four behind-the-scenes episodes of Fire All-Access.
"Throughout our 20th season, CSN Chicago will be providing viewers unprecedented coverage of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club," said Fire COO Atul Khosla. "We’re thrilled to be able to team with CSN Chicago to share more than 100 hours of live, original content to fans throughout the region."
"We are proud to be the regional television home for the Fire and fans can count on us once again to deliver expert game coverage, pre-game shows for every telecast, and expanded offerings of Fire-related programming throughout the 2017 MLS campaign," added Phil Bedella, VP/GM of CSN Chicago.
Fire Weekly, presented by The PrivateBank, will debut on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. on CSN+. It will be also be available via live stream on CSNChicago.com.
Fire All-Access will premiere on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m. on CSN and streamed at CSNChicago.com.
Click here to see CSN's Broadcast Schedule.