Losing in the last minute of any game is hard. Losing a U.S. Open Cup 2nd round match in the last minute after equalizing seconds earlier is devastating. The Fire PDL controlled last night's U.S. Open Cup game against the Dayton Dutch Lions completely only to be undone by some lax defending on a corner as overtime loomed.
For large periods of the first half, the Fire PDL played at a very high tempo, passing the ball with speed and accuracy, constantly looking for forward Isaac Kannah who dropped deep to collect the ball and link with his teammates. Just like the first team, the PDL like to get the wing backs forward, with left back Patrick Doody causing all sorts of problems for the Dutch Lions’ defense. Unfortunately for Doody, it was on his side that the Lions got the opening goal, a quick counterattack combined with some sloppy defending allowed striker Eli Garner to score.
The second half was much like the first, with the PDL dominating possession but lacking an end product. I was particularity impressed with Bryan Ciesiulka who ran the show in the center of the park, beating players on the dribble before spreading the ball out wide. As time went on, it looked as if the Fire were going to come up short, especially after the Lions’ keeper Matt Williams made an absolutely stunning save in the dying seconds. From the resulting corner however the ball bounced out to sub Brendan King who volleyed home from the top of the box.
With the players clearly thinking about overtime, the PDL gave up a needless corner in the last minute of added time. The ball was flicked on and somehow ended up in the back of the Fire net. Seconds later, the ref blew for full time and everyone’s head dropped. Coach Mark Spooner was understandably upset at the manner of which his team let the game slip, especially with a 3rd round match against the Columbus Crew up for grabs. The PDL has no time to dwell on this loss however, they play their first league match of the season this afternoon.
Chicago Fire Start U.S. Open Cup Play
While the PDL team might be out, the Chicago Fire first team begins their hunt for the U.S. Open Cup trophy when they take on the Michigan Bucks at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich. on Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m. CST. The match will be available via a live webcast on www.Chicago-Fire.com.
The Bucks defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 at Chartiers Valley Stadium in Bridgeville, Pa. The game looked to be heading into extra time when the Bucks were awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute. Stew Givens converted the spot kick to give the Bucks the late 1-0 victory.
Section 8 Chicago is organizing a bus to Tuesday's game. Commitments are needed by Friday. Watch Section 8 Chicago's website and Twitter account for updates. Ultimate Soccer Arenas is an indoor venue so the potential is there to make the stadium quite loud. If the Fire are able to defeat the Bucks, they would play their next U.S. Open Cup game on Tuesday, June 5th. A very likely opponent for that game is the New England Revolution. Chicago plays New England in MLS Regular Season play on Saturday, June 2nd at Gillette Stadium.