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King over Columbus: Fire beat Crew 2-1 in Open Cup

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David Accam once again carried the Fire offensively, scoring a brace in the first half to lift the Men in Red over the Crew for a spot in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. Chicago is now a perfect 6-0 against their rivals in Cup play and 24-1-2 at home in the tournament.

Brandon Vincent and the Fire had a lot to clap about after advancing in the Open Cup Tuesday.
Brandon Vincent and the Fire had a lot to clap about after advancing in the Open Cup Tuesday.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

There is not much else to say about David Accam at this point.

The King struck early again Tuesday, scoring one of the best goals of the Fire's season in the 4th minute to set the tone for the rest of the important Round of 16 game against Columbus. It was a beautiful goal set up by a tenacious run from John Goossens who managed to toe poke a pass to Accam before falling after his lengthy trot up field. Accam proceeded to take the ball to top left corner of the box, cut back on two defenders and rocket a shot to the side netting with his right foot.

Unlike the game against Philadelphia, this early strike from Accam seemed to give the team the energy and confidence for the remainder of the game.

Chicago still conceded possession, but it was one of the best overall performances of the season as the counter attack was dangerous throughout and the defense maintained its form. Chicago has rarely been able to put both sides of the ball together as well as it did Tuesday.

Shortly after the Fire scored -- a usually vulnerable time for the defense -- they kept the pressure and energy up. Goossens wasted no time in making another powerful run up the middle for a look and Accam followed after with a run that split two defenders before his shot sailed high and wide.

Columbus relied on Justin Meram early on in the half to create opportunities, but he faded as the half went on. Instead, it was Crew midfielder Hector Jimenez who sent in a shot that deflected off Ola Kamara for Columbus' best chance of the half. The deflection, however, went right into the arms of Matt Lampson.

The Fire never looked content with the one-goal lead and continued to attack, finally breaking through again in the 28th minute. Rodrigo Ramos sent in a great cross that found the end of a perfectly timed Accam run to the back post. Accam had the easy tap in for his second goal of the night.

Chicago had a couple other chances in the half, one from Kennedy Igboananike that forced a modest diving stop from Brad Stuver and another off a second great cross from Ramos. The Ramos cross just missed the head of Johan Kappelhof and deflected wide off an unexpecting Razvan Cocis.

The Crew had a rare chance at the end of the half with a free kick right outside of the box, but Kamara's attempt went well high of the goal.

The Fire started the second half with a spring in their step as Igboananike put in some work early on. He started the half with a shot from the left side that looked dangerous but was blocked by Chad Barson. He followed that up with a cross destined for a hat-trick hungry Accam before that too was well defended in the end.

After the promising start, the second half would be more of a nervy spell for the Fire who faced more danger with the additions of Wil Trapp and Ethan Finlay into the lineup. The Crew looked to pull within a goal in the 58th minute when Cristian Martinez looked to have finish off a deflected Meram shot for the score. However, the referee raised his flag and the goal was waived off on the offside call.

Columbus eventually did pull within a goal after the referee did Chicago no favors on a handball call to Kappelhof in the 78th minute. The somewhat questionable call allowed Finlay the chance to take a penalty kick and he made no mistake. The rest of the game saw the Fire go into complete lockdown mode, but they did not wither under Columbus pressure and held on for the 2-1 win.

Chicago will find out its next opponent tonight when Orlando City FC take on the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The good news is regardless of the winner, the Fire will host the quarterfinal and the Fire have only lost once on home turf in the Open Cup.