Welcome to Fire20, a new weekly series that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club by making deep dives into the team’s history. This week we look back at a resounding blowout win over Kansas City in 2001.
The 2000 season for the Fire was capped off with an exhilarating (err, sort of) 2-1 win in U.S. Open Cup final.
I say sort of, well, because the Fire won that open cup final one week after losing the MLS Cup to Kansas City. Don’t get me wrong, the Men in Red were more than happy to walk away with their third major title in as many seasons. It’s just that the disappointment not to capture the playoff title was evident.
"We are obviously very happy to win this U.S. Open Cup. It helps a little, but not all the way of taking some of the sting out of last week's loss,” Bob Bradley said in an interview with U.S. Soccer after the match.
One phrase from that quote really sticks: “but not all the way.”
The air of disappointment, and surely anger, that the Fire had about them following their MLS Cup defeat showed when they visited Kansas City in 2001. The Fire drubbed the Wizards in record fashion, as Bradley’s team blew seven goals past Kansas City—in their own stadium.
A 7-0 victory is fun. Delivering it to the team that beat you in MLS Cup the season before is even more fun. In fact, it’s so fun that only one other team in league history can say they have achieved the same score line.
And well, since this series is meant to celebrate Fire history, let’s do just that— one goal at a time.
1st minute, 1-0: Yes, you read that correctly. The Fire were up 1-nil in the first minute of the game, yet another Fire record. Jamar Beasley, DeMarcus’ older brother, set the record for the fastest goal in franchise history, scoring just 27 seconds into the match (this record no longer stands. Dominic Oduro scored 25 seconds into a match against Toronto in 2012). He celebrated in style, too, taking his shirt off and taunting the Kansas City faithful.
7th minute, 2-0: The Fire doubled their lead just six minutes later with yet another, mind you less significant, bit of history. Sergi Daniv scored his first goal for the club in this run of play. The Ukrainian was played through on a delightful chipped ball from Peter Nowak, and then slotted the ball past goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi.
44th minute, 3-0: Fire, United States, other clubs and Fox Sports legend Eric Wynalda decided to get in on the scoring. The American international picked up the ball at the top of the 18-yard-box, took one touch and then blasted it past Oshoniyi. It was truly a class finish, and the Kansas City goalkeeper could do nothing to keep it out of his near post.
HALF TIME: Let’s pause and catch our breath for a moment. After all, we have four more goals to get through. I’m not going to lie, writing this week’s Fire20 has been tough so far. It’s not easy to watch a group of human beings get humiliated—writing about it is even tougher… Wait, who am I kidding, this is awesome. Let’s move on.
72nd minute, 4-0: After setting up a goal, the captain decided to get in on the action. Nowak received a ball from Jesse Marsch at the top of the box, settled it in front of him and then hit a low, hard drive to the far post.
81st minute, 5-0: The match was really getting out of hand at this point, but Nowak didn’t seem to mind, adding to his point total in cheeky fashion. David Vaudreuil played an early ball across the top of the box, which Nowak collected and finished in style. The Chicago captain had Oshoniyi on the ground before he even took the shot, coolly passing the ball into the net as the Wizards’ goalkeeper lay helpless on the ground. Man, this was really a rough day for ole’ Bo.
83rd minute, 6-0: This is getting ridiculous now. Second half substitute Hristo Stoitchkov did what we all know him for: scored goals. The Bulgarian was played in behind the Kansas City backline, and easily beat Oshoniyi one-on-one, passing the ball to the far post. The best part of this goal though, must be the celebration. The former Barcelona striker celebrated with some peculiar dance moves—ones I can’t quite describe.
88th minute, 7-0: Finally, we have reached the end of our journey. The seventh, and final goal of this match, was setup by the man who started this all. Jamar Beasley made a streaking run down the middle of the park, and then simply played Stoitchkov through. The Bulgarian striker capped off a dominant performance with a little bit of luck, shooting the ball directly into Oshoniyi. However, the day got worse for the American goalkeeper: the ball squirted underneath him and ended up in the back of the net.
Boy, that was a marathon. Then again, one needs to write a marathon to properly describe a marathon.
Winning 7-0 was one, if not the, highlight of Chicago’s 2001 season. The Men in Red lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the semifinals of both the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup, and walked away from their fourth season not having lived up to expectations.
But I digress.
I leave you with one other item: the highlights of that historic 7-0 win. If my words were not enough for you, enjoy the “massacre,” as the video refers to it, of Kansas City yourself.