Fire ousted in U.S. Open Cup semis by cellar-dwelling D.C. United
BY SARAH TROTTO For Sun-Times Media August 7, 2013 10:17PM
Chicago Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko, left, and D.C. United midfielder Luis Silva chase the ball during the first half of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal soccer match on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Bridgeview, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: ILNH103
Updated: September 9, 2013 3:04PM
D.C. United arrived in Chicago with the MLS’ worst record, but it looked like a different team in a 2-0 victory against the Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
United scored a goal right before halftime and another right after the break on Wednesday night before 11,036 at Toyota Park, advancing to the Cup final against Real Salt Lake, which beat the Portland Timbers 2-1.
At the bottom of the MLS standings with a 3-15-4 record, United had been routed 4-1 by the Fire (8-9-4) last month. But forward Dwayne DeRosario missed that match and United has added
“The difference between this game and the last time was we scored early,” Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz said. “Obviously, this is a different game. It’s a Cup game. It’s going to be probably a little tighter. It was even the first half. They scored on a mistake.
“Overall, it was fairly even.”
DeRosario scored unassisted in the 44th minute when he knocked in a ball that got away from goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who admitted he “should have just punched it away.” Nick DeLeon (off an assist by James Riley) then scored in the 48th minute.
The Fire suffered a blow when midfielder Patrick Nyarko exited with a head injury in the 36th minute.
“Patrick coming out with his head injury had a little bit of an effect because his ability with pace to stretch the team, we were a little bit different,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said. “We had chances and sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
The Fire had a 15-8 advantage in shots and a 9-3 edge on corner kicks.
Forward Juan Luis Anangono made his Fire debut in the 57th minute. He received his international transfer certificate last week but missed Saturday’s victory over the Philadelphia Union with hamstring tightness.
The Fire had several opportunities late. Alex’s shot was blocked in the 76th minute and Austin Berry’s shot dribbled past the goalkeeper in the 78th, but Perry Kitchen saved it. The Fire had beaten United 2-0 on June 2 and 4-1 on July 20.
“I don’t think they were that different,” Klopas said. “Pretty much the back line was the same other than [Dejan] Jakovic. “Sometimes, it’s one of those games. Those little things just don’t go our way.”
The Fire has won the Cup four times, the most among MLS teams. D.C. has won the Cup twice.
The Fire are five points shy of fifth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We have to regroup and focus on the league because we’re right there,” Klopas said. “Some big games are coming up.”
Saturday, the Fire hosts the Montreal Impact.
“Our goal is to continue to push to the playoffs,” Larentowicz said.