July 22, 2012
FIRE FINISH SECOND IN GROUP
U 15/16s to play for third place
HOUSTON – Goals from Jeff Farina and Shannon Seymour paced the Chicago Fire to a 2-0 win against Pateadores, landing the Fire second place in Group 1 with six points from three matches. The Fire now have the chance to play for third in the 2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week, facing Crew Soccer Academy Wolves on Monday, July 23 at 5 p.m. CT at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
“For the most part we had a pretty good performance,” said Fire head coach Larry Sunderland. “We felt comfortable with the game today and our plan based on the scouting. It’s great to get to play for third place. We’re happy with the way we played and the improvement and development the players have shown during the course of the year. It’s a very young group, and it says a lot about where we are going in the future.”
With each team needing a win to keep their hopes of reaching the championship alive, they struggled to find a rhythm early in the game. The Fire created the first good scoring chance when Farina unleashed a full volley from the top of the 18 that forced a diving save from Pateadores goalkeeper Brandon Gomez.
As the Fire found their footing, much of the play took place in their attacking end as they probed for a goal. Chicago earned five corners in the first half and centerback James Myall nearly took advantage of one such restart, towering over his mark and heading a bouncing short toward goal that Gomez scrambled to keep out. The rest of the opening stanza was a bit uneventful, and the teams entered halftime scoreless.
Chicago took a deserved lead in the 46th minute after Brian Werchek drove in from the right flank towards the end line and drove a knee-high cross that Farina deftly redirected to the far corner.
Four minutes later, Werchek found space from the same side, delivering a heater across the box, but no one was able to latch on to it. Chances continued to come for Chicago, and in the 53rd minute Farina had his effort tipped onto the crossbar by Gomez, the ball caroming safely back into his hands.
The Fire sealed the deal in the 69th minute after a foul left them a tantalizing opportunity 30 yards from goal in the middle of the pitch. Brian Torres stood over the ball and rolled it to his right in the path of Seymour, who unloaded a rising strike that whizzed past the outstretched arms of Gomez to double Chicago’s lead.
Kyle Dal Santo made two saves as the Fire defense recorded their first shutout of the tournament.