05 October 2011
Posted in Chicago Fire
I don't think I need to tell you, but we lost 2-0 tonight to the Sounders. Despite playing an excellent first half - and really, we played well all game - we fell short in the end. Seattle managed to score on a corner in the 77th minute, and again toward the end of stoppage time. It wasn't a total shock, considering the Sounders rattled the posts twice earlier in the match, but I'll be damned if I didn't honestly believe the Fire could come back all the way through the 5 minutes of stoppage time. What an exciting match. It really was anyone's game for 90+ minutes. Sadly, the Fire fell short of their 5th US Open Cup trophy.
What a match though. If you didn't watch it, you missed a gripping game. I don't want to rub it in, but it was a hell of a match to witness. I was in a place where the audio wasn't available, but I was lost in my own world for the duration. Everyone played well from what I saw. The standouts were obviously Sean Johnson and... Sean Johnson. Really, i hope he stays with the Fire until he retires. Yes, we lost 2-0, but the two goals that slipped by were shots that were initially blocked but then followed up by Seattle. I'm not sure how many saves SJ had but it's a significant number. Add in all the clearances he had and it's lucky we only gave up two goals. That's not to say the defense wasn't tough. Gibbs, Gargan (then Grazzini after the 85th), Mikulic (before he came off in the 61st minute), Segares, and Anibaba all played well. They did a great job defending the many corners that Seattle earned, and an even better job shutting down Seattle's attacks. How about Segares' tackle in the box in the 34th minute? All ball - picture perfect. Pappa had some great shots on goal that really put pressure on Keller and Seattle. I would have liked to have seen some more chances from the rest of the Fire, but I really can't complain. Nyarko's and Paladini's yellow cards (26' and 37', respectively) showed that the Fire had the passion to win this USOC Final. Unfortunately, the Seattle defense was just a bit too tough to crack. Chances were hard to find, and those that were taken were stopped by Keller. By the way, why is he retiring?
It looks like we'll have to wait until next year for another US Open Cup trophy. I'm still beyond inspired by the progress the Fire have made in recent weeks, and the fact that we actually have a shot at the playoffs makes this loss much easier to bear. In the meantime, regardless of the final score, the Chicago Fire are still Kings of the Cup. 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006. Enough said.
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