Tim Melia goes up for the ball against the Chicago Fire's Patrick Nyarko. Melia would be named TheCup.us Player of the Round for his eight-save performance against the Chicago Fire. Photo: Brian Kersey | Chicago Fire
After a scoreless two hours, the Chicago Fire’s scoreless woes continued as USL-2’s Charleston won the penalty shootout 3-0. Battery goalkeeper Tim Melia, on loan from MLS’s Real Salt Lake, was the star of the night, stopping all 8 of the Fire’s shots on goal, and adding a save in the shootout.
The Fire started several players not in the regular starting lineup, and the inexperience showed as Charleston dominated early play, Chicago only having one shot until 34′. Play was more even for the rest of the half, but neither team mounted any serious chances.
Chicago substituted two regulars to begin the second half, but still could not generate a goal, despite gaining an advantage over the Battery in play. The Fire got more chances in extra time, but Melia was equal to the challenge.
Melia would be up to the challenge in the penalty shootout, while things unravled for the Fire. Chicago captain Brian McBride, who subbed in at the beginning of extra time, kicked the first penalty shot well high of the goal, while the Battery’s Lamar Neagle was able to convert against Chicago keeper Sean Johnson. Melia saved Krzysztov Krol’s kick, while Mike Zaher converted, putting the Fire down to the Battery 2-0. With the pressure on Wilman Conde to get the Fire on the board, he couldn’t pull through and hit the crossbar. This gave Charleston’s Ian Fuller the opportunity to give his team their fourth straight trip to the Quarterfinals, and put it in the net to do just that.
Charleston will head north to play Columbus on July 6, attempting to make the Semifinals for the second time in three years.
CHI (0)- McBride miss (high), Krol miss (save), Conde miss (off crossbar)
CHS (3)- Neagle goal, Zaher goal, Fuller goal
CHS- Armstrong 16′ (yellow, Reckless tackle)
CHI- Nyarko 48′ (yellow, Unsporting behavior)
CHI- Conde 70′ (yellow, Persistent infringement)
CHI- Watson-Siriboe 73′ (yellow, Reckless foul)
CHI- Pappa 88′ (yellow, Persistent infringement)
CHS- Zaher 90′ (yellow, Tactical foul)
Chicago: Sean Johnson (GK), Deris Umanzor, Krzystof Krol, Steven Kinney, Kwame Watson, Peter Lowry (Brian McBride – 90th), Marco Pappa, Logan Pause (Wilman Conde – 52nd), Corben Bone, Mike Banner (Patrick Nyarko – 45th), Stefan Dimitrov
Charleston: Tim Melia (GK), Yeniel Bermudez (Jon Gruenewald – 90th), Nigel Marples, John Wilson, Colin Falvey, Stephen Armstrong (Mike Zaher – 65th), Ian Fuller, Alioune Gueye, Rudolph Mayard, Tom Heinemann, Lamar Neagle
Charleston: SHOTS: 10 (Mayard 5); SAVES: 8 (Melia 8); FOULS: 15 (Gueye 3); CORNER KICKS: 4; OFFSIDES: 1; PENALTY KICKS:(NONE); CAUTIONS: Armstrong 16, Zaher 90;
Chicago: SHOTS: 18 (Pappa 6); SAVES: 2 (Johnson 2); FOULS: 18 (Umanzor 4); CORNER KICKS: 6; OFFSIDES: 2; PENALTY KICKS: (NONE); CAUTIONS: Nyarko 48, Conde 70, Watson 73, Pappa 88;