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Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Best Fire Lead is Being Down 0-2; Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Here We Come

It looked like the story was going to be more dreary gloom and doom as the Chicago Fire and San Jose Earthquakes entered the halftime locker rooms with San Jose up 2-0.  Instead the Chicago Fire showed their best lead this year is being down 0-2.  Led by goals from Orr Barouch (61') and Yamith Cuesta (76'), the Fire took San Jose into overtime and then to penalty kicks.  This was remarkable considering the fact that Gonzalo Segares was ejected in the 98th minute and the Fire held on for 20+ minutes down 10 men to 11 before the PKs started. 

Marco Pappa, Cristian Nazarit, Barouch, Dominic Oduro and Daniel Paladini all made their PKs for Chicago.  Chris Wondolowski, Ramiro Corrales, Khari Stephenson, and Brandon McDonald made their PKs for San Jose. Logan Pause for Chicago and Sam Cornin for San Jose missed their PKs before the sudden death PKs started.  When the Earthquakes Scott Sealy had the game on the line, he hit the crossbar and the Fire had advanced to the next round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Hunt on Tuesday, June 28th.  The positive outcome of the U.S. Open Cup Play-In Match belonged to Chicago. 

The June 28th game makes it 7 matches in the month of June highlighted by a stretch of June 18 vs. New England Revolution, June 22 against Real Salt Lake, June 26 against New York Red Bulls, now June 28 against TBD and even a game on July 2 against Chivas USA.  How's 5 games in 15 days sound?  It should be interesting to see who has any legs that point.  Thoughts on the lineup used in the game and video of the penalty kick sequence are after the break.

Starting Lineup Notes

Starting XI: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba (Dominic Oduro 46), Yamith Cuesta, Dasan Robinson (Cory Gibbs 88), Gonzalo Segares; Bratislav Ristic, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa; Cristian Nazarit, Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46)

Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Corben Bone, Baggio Husidic, Pari Pantazopoulos

Last night's game marked the first time Sean Johnson played in a USOC game or MLS Regular Season match since April 17th's game against the Los Angeles Galaxy.  It sounded like he had some shaky moments and the second goal came from Johnson coughing up a save and San Jose's Justin Morrow taking advantage.  After halftime though, Johnson shut out the Earthquakes for 75 minutes.  I hope and expect Johnson to start this weekend and all of the rest of the games this year.  Logan Pause made his first start since the April 23rd game against Houston.  He played all 120 minutes.  Carlos de los Cobos will either want to give him a break and not risk re-injury this weekend or give him another start because he is relatively fresh after resting for a month.

Yamith Cuesta started his 6th game in a row while Daniel Paladini was starting his 5th game in a row.  Those two have sneaked under the radar giving solid performances every time out.  Cuesta scored his first goal for Chicago in the 76th minute of the game.  The young Colombian defender cleaned up a free kick that San Jose didn't fully handle and Cuesta headed it in the goal.  Paladini picked up yet another yellow card.  If this would have been a MLS regular season game, he would have been suspended the next game for yellow card accumulation.  

Dasan Robinson made a rare start at RB.  His only other starts were in the last USOC game against Colorado and on the disastrous road trip to Seattle and Portland.  The start was questionable because Robinson had to be subbed out in the 88th minute for Cory Gibbs.  I don't think Robinson can go a full 90 minutes anymore and USOC always risk going 120 minutes+.  Should we start a defender we know we'll have to sub out?

Gonzalo Segares and Marco Pappa are the last two players remaining that have started every USOC or MLS Regular Season game for the Chicago Fire.  Jalil Anibaba has started 11 out of 12 games with Philadelphia's game being his only rest.  Diego Chaves saw his streak of 11 straight starts snapped.  The Fire said he had a right foot contusion.  The team flew out Pari Pantazopoulos to fill out a full bench in Chaves' place.

Bratislav Ristic is officially back in the mix as a utility player.  Ristic played RM tonight after playing RB against Philadelphia this past weekend.  Ristic had been a sub in the two games prior to the Philadelphia game and he has at least made the bench since the April 14th game against Portland.

Gaston Puerari continues to get subbed out early.  It represents the 4th time he has been subbed out before the 70th minute mark and the 6th time in a row he has been subbed out for when he has started.  Orr Barouch continues to be the supersub working in early into the game.  Barouch still hasn't started a single game but this was his 8th appearance in 12  USOC/MLS games and the 5th time he has entered before the 70th minute.  I understand the logic of using Barouch as a supersub but perhaps we should be looking at Puerari as more of a substitute too.  I don't like the idea of a player needing an automatic replacement.  

Last but not least we have the positive news of Cristian Nazarit.  Nazarit made his first USOC/MLS appearance and appeared to score a goal before an offsides was called.  By all accounts Nazarit was active in the air and posing some threats.  He did come up cramping in overtime so we may not see him this weekend.   

A very encouraging come from behind win that again shows Chicago will not go down easily to anyone.  There is a great deal of fight in this squad.  Players are learning their roles and the squad is looking deep.  The first string still needs some work but across the board the depth is there to make a deep run in the USOC.  The Kings of the Cup move along in their quest.

Game Summary

SJ - Ellis McLoughlin (unassissted) 14
SJ - Justin Morrow (unassisted) 43
CHI - Orr Barouch (Gonzalo Segares) 61
CHI - Yamith Cuesta (unassisted) 76

Penalty Kick Summary:

CHI - Marco Pappa (Goal), Logan Pause (High); Cristian Nazarit (Goal), Orr Barouch (Goal), Dominic Oduro (Goal), Daniel Paladini (Goal).

SJ - Chris Wondolowski (Goal), Sam Cronin (Crossbar), Ramiro Corrales (Goal), Khari Stephenson (Goal), Brandon McDonald (Goal), Scott Sealy (Crossbar).

SJ - Chris Wondolowski (caution) 37
CHI - Yamith Cuesta (caution) 39
CHI - Daniel Paladini (caution) 63
SJ - Brad Ring (caution) 69
CHI - Orr Barouch (caution) 69
CHI - Bratislav Ristic (caution) 74
CHI - Cristian Nazarit (caution) 89
SJ - Khari Stephenson (caution) 97
CHI - Gonzalo Segares (ejection) 98

Chicago - Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba (Dominic Oduro 46), Yamith Cuesta, Dasan Robinson (Cory Gibbs 88), Gonzalo Segares; Bratislav Ristic, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa; Cristian Nazarit, Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46)
Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Corben Bone, Baggio Husidic, Pari Pantazopoulos

San Jose - Andrew Weber; Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales; Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Steven Lenhart 83), Sam Cronin, Brad Ring (Khari Stephenson 71), Justin Morrow; Ellis McLoughlin (Scott Sealy 46), Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used: Jon Busch, Bobby Convey, Matt Luzunaris, Ike Opara

Referee: Daniel Radford
Referee's Assistants: Mike Kampmeinert, Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Weather: Clear and 62 degrees
Attendance: 4,124

UPDATE: Twitter user @BigCountryCA has a video of the Penalty Kick sequence.