The Fire PDL defeated the Croatian Eagles from Milwaukee 1-0 last night in a tense US Open Cup first round match. The PDL team, who only trained four times before playing this match, looked comfortable for long stretches of the game and should have finished the tie by halftime. The only goal of the game came in the 5th minute when Mark Blades was set free on the left, broke into the box and squared for an unmarked Isaac Kannah to finish.
The PDL squandered many chances in the first half including a couple of 1v1 situations where Eagles goalkeeper Bryce Boyd made some brilliant saves. The Eagles were unable to match the Fire’s technical superiority and relied on fouling to slow the pace of the game. The Eagles received three yellow cards in the first half alone. The PDL dominated possession for much of the match and played some lovely soccer at times, with lots of flicks and dummys in attack. Unfortunately for the PDL, they seem to have taken a page out of the first team’s book, failing to finish their chances, which led to a nervy finish.
The second half was similar to the first but the Eagles had a few more chances in the dying minutes. Brady Wahl hit the bar for the Fire and Boyd made another handful of saves but in the end the Fire had just enough to hold on. The changes in the US Open Cup format this season means the PDL have little time to reflect on the victory as they are drawn to play the USL-Pro Dayton Dutch Lions at Toyota Park Practice Field next Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00 PM CST. The PDL will have another week’s worth of practice under their belts and will be boosted by the return of a few of the squad members who are still away at college.