The Chicago Fire’s refusal to allow a goal Wednesday was only matched by Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention
But unlike Cruz, The Men in Red put together a complete performance against the NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale’s Strikers and certainly were not booed as they walked out of Toyota Park with a 3-0 victory. The second division side from Florida never threatened the goal and David Accam pulled the strings on what will go down as one of the best performances this season.
The party started early as Accam made a strong run into the box and was taken down by goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in the 5th minute. Accam easily converted the penalty kick to put Chicago up 1-0. The offense kept clicking in the first half as Accam broke roughly 10,000 ankles on his way to delivering an assist on a platter for Michael De Leeuw.
Accam ran straight at Gale Bossagoumonde and delivered some sort of telepathic mind explosion that fell the big defender. Accam used his newly found space to deliver a low cross to De Leeuw who calmly tapped in an easy score at the back post.
The third goal came in the second half when Accam played a short corner to Brandon Vincent. Vincent sent in a cross that was headed by Nick LaBrocca. While that attempt was blocked, the rebound spilled out to the center of the six-yard box where Khaly Thiam was on the spot for the easy finish to ice the game at 3-0.
I wish I could say more about such a dominate performance, but the fact is every threatening chance the Fire took was converted. The rest was possession to disarm.
Ft. Lauderdale meanwhile failed to do anything of significance and surely nothing worth noting in a recap. The Strikers used some luck to get by D.C. United in penalties and Orlando City in extra time but it was clear they were always the lesser side. Orlando City honestly should’ve got the job done but credit to the Strikers for persevering.
This was a must-win game for the Fire and they did not disappoint. Accam was explosive and players such as De Leeuw, Arturo Alvarez and others played a key role in the victory.
Chicago will now take on New England Revolution after they defeated Philadelphia Union Wednesday in penalty kicks. The draw for home field advantage will take place tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Again, I wish I could say more about the game but the truth is the Fire dominated from whistle to whistle and any of their threatening chances ended up in the back of the net. It is a performance I do not expect to be replicated but it is promising as the Fire head on to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year.
With head coach Veljko Paunovic putting emphasis on the tournament, the Fire should have a real chance to bring home the hardware and book a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. If Chicago pulls it off, it will certainly be a season worth the struggle.