Six weeks after the
quarterfinals for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the tournament returned at full
speed with the semifinals on Wednesday night. Chicago Fire (8-9-4 in the MLS)
hosted D.C. United (3-15-4 in the MLS) at the Toyota Park to battle for the
first spot in the final match.
Both teams started with much respect for each other as well as studying each
other’s formations, so no major plays took place in the first 15 minutes.
However, tough tackles were happening left and right on the pitch.
It was not until the close to the end of the first half that real action came
In the 44th minute, United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, 35, found the back of the net making it yea fo1-0 for the visitors.
Fire goalie Sean Johnson wasn't able to fully catch a deflected shot, so the Canadian international used it to punish the host.
In the second half, United came out strong and three minutes into it they
doubled their lead. At this time the score was via 23-year-old Nick DeLeon
Even though the Men in Red were already two goals behind early in the second part of the game, the sense urgency only hit them after the 75th minute.
They almost got a crack on Joe Willis with a mishandled save by the United ‘keeper. In a moment of blackout in the Black-and-Red defense, Mike Magee chipped in for Austin Berry whose header got through the arms of Willis and came close to go in, but it touched the post instead.
For the rare occasions of offensive aptitude on Wednesday’s semi-final by the Fire, the club will have to turn their attention entirely to the MLS and figure out how to improve their current seventh place in the Eastern Conference, so they can reach the playoffs.
Overall, Willis had a very consistent and secure night, while the same can’t be said about Fire’s goalie. Johnson was sloppy, nothing close to his performance on the weekend against Philadelphia Union.
Most effective player for DC United: Nick DeLeon
Most effective player for Chicago Fire: Patrick Nyarko
Least effective player for DC United: James Riley
Least effective player for Chicago Fire: Sean Johson
As predetermined in a coin flip, the winner of Chicago Fire vs DC United would go on the road against either Real Salt Lake or Portland Timbers.
Since RSL won 2-1 versus the Timbers, United will visit Sandy, Utah, on October 1 to fight for their third Cup silverware knowing this is the last hope to give a more bearable end of the season for their fans.