Early goals in each half propelled the Chicago Fire into the fourth round of the 100th US Open Cup on Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory over the host Charlotte Eagles in Rock Hill, SC on the campus of Winthrop University.
Newly acquired midfielder Mike Magee’s 11th minute goal got the MLS-side warmed up and Chris Rolfe helped ice the match with an assist from Magee against the third-division USL Pro squad in the 57th minute.
The Fire traded for Magee over the weekend, sending midfielder Robbie Rogers’ rights in exchange.
Chicago trotted out a mostly first-team side for the crowd of 1,562. They were without the services of goalkeeper Sean Johnson who was with the US Men’s National Team for a friendly against Belgium. Starting in his place was backup Paolo Tornaghi.
“I think games like this are never easy,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said in a statement. “You see around the world just the upsets that take place and there are great opportunities for teams like Charlotte to compete again MLS teams and also for players to showcase their abilities.
“More than anything we had to take the game very serious, which we did but it was a great night”
The loss grounded the Eagles – one the lower-division darlings of last year’s cup by advancing into the quarterfinals – who were outshot 18-12.
Chicago advances to host MLS-side Columbus Crew on June 12. The four time U.S. Open Cup champs are now 30-11-4 in Open Cup play.
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Baky Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause (Jeff Larentowicz, 46’); Dilly Duka, Alex, Patrick Nyarko (Joel Lindpere, 52’); Chris Rolfe (Sherjill MacDonald, 72’), Mike Magee
Substitutes not used: Alec Kaan, Michael Videira, Hunter Jumper
Charlotte Eagles: Eric Reed; Ben Newnam, Matt Gold, Fejiro Okiomah, Shaun Francis; Stephen Okai, Juan Guzman (Drew Yates, 75’); Jorge Herrera, Sam Asante, Nate Thornton (Sergio Villasenor, 45’); Stefan Smith (Christian Meza, 59’)
Substitutes not used: Brock Duckworth, Christian Ramirez, Evan Harding, Nick Courtney
CHI – Mike Magee (Gonzalo Segares) 11’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Mike Magee) 57’
CHI – Baky Soumare (caution) 39’
CHA – Sergio Villasenor (caution) 85’