The Chicago Fire Premier opened up the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with a 1-0 win over the Iowa Menace. The two teams looked like they were headed to a scoreless extra session, but Chris Estridge broke the tie in the 87th minute to keep the Fire’s streak of First Round wins alive (4-0-0).
While Iowa qualified out of the USASA, unlike their Region II team that got them into the tournament, the majority of the players on the roster were members of the team’s PDL squad. So the match just seemed like a regular league match between two of the top PDL teams in North America. The game ended up being even throughout, as both teams had the same number of shots (8) and corner kicks (3), and roughly similar numbers in fouls (Chicago 8-6) and yellow cards (Iowa 3-2).
Photo: Jodi Jurik
The fireworks were provided by mother nature instead of the pitch most of the night, as a lightning storm south of the stadium threatened to make it two Open Cup games delayed by lightning. However, the storms in Des Moines spared this game the fate of ASC New Stars vs Orlando City, and the match went uninterrupted. The play picked up in the last third of the game, as both teams missed chances to break the tie. Finally, in the 87th minute, Chicago’s Chris Estridge split defenders on a long run and knocked the ball in to take the lead. Iowa challenged back furiously, but could not find an equalizer in five minutes of stoppage time.
Chicago will now travel to Madison, WI, to take on the NPSL’s Madison 56ers. Game time is 8 PM EDT at Breese Stevens Field.
Scoring Summary 87th minute: Chris Estridge (Chicago)