With two goals in extra time the Chicago Fire improve to 4-0-0 all-time against the Columbus Crew in US Open Cup play. Photo: Chicago Fire
For the second time in as many years the Chicago Fire ended the Columbus Crew’s US Open Cup campaign, this time led by a brace from Juan Luis Anangono during a 4-2 victory in extra time.
Substitutes played a key role for both sides, accounting for three of the six goals scored over the 120 minutes of play.
“The fighting spirit of the guys to come back and go on and win the match is great,” Fire coach Frank Yallop said. “I was pleased with the subs that came on. They did a nice job. I think the whole team responded when we did that.”
In an uneventful first half, the Fire found themselves enjoying one-way traffic though they were only able to challenge Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark on rare occasion. Clark was first called into action at the 14-minute mark when Grant Ward sent a cross in from the right side of the box to Quincy Amarikwa who put a solid header on the pass. Clark extinguished the shot.
It was 20 minutes later when the Fire got on the scoreboard. Standing only a few yards in front of the center line, Harry Shipp took a deep free kick and sent in a precision pass to an unmarked Patrick Ianni who streaked down the middle of the box and beat Clark with a sliding shot on goal.
The Crew enjoyed slightly more possession in the last five minutes of the first half with their best chance coming on a free kick from about 20 yards out. After Matt Watson was called for a penalty right at the top of the center of the box, Justin Meram lined up to take a free kick but was unable to put the shot on frame as Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson watched the attempt sail over his head.
Chicago outshout Columbus 10-2 in the first half, putting five on frame compared to the Crew’s zero.
The second half was a different story for the Crew who found a spark offensively when Jairo Arrieta came in for Meram to start the half.
Right from his introduction, Arrieta helped create the Crew’s best chance to that point when he was wide open to the left of Johnson. Arrieta missed the wide open goal on his first opportunity but soon redeemed himself about 10 minutes later, converting a much more difficult chance.
On a long free kick, Ben Speas sent a ball to the left side of the box that was chased down and chipped to the middle by Ben Sweat. Arrieta, lurking in the middle of the box, attempted a bicycle kick and made no mistake, finding the back of the net to even the score.
The Crew continued its pressure throughout the half and find the back of the net at the 69th minute when a deflected cross fell to Bernador Anor at the top of the box. Anor fired a shot past Johnson to give Columbus a 2-1 lead.
Both teams opted for substitutions in the 71st minute with Columbus bringing on Michael Parkhurst and Will Trapp for Hector Jimenez and Tony Tchani, respectively, while the Fire brought Alex on for Logan Pause to push for a late goal. It was the 77th minute substitution of Anangono for Mike Magee that proved to be the difference.
With only seven minutes of regular time remaining, Matt Watson made a run down the right sideline, cut inside the box and found an unmarked Anangono who fired a shot past Clark to even the score at 2-2.
The late momentum for the Fire continued in part because of a reckless challenge by Parkhurst on Amarikwa in the 97th minute that drew a red card without any protest.
It was just the beginning for the Ecuadorian striker who played a pivotal role both of Chicago’s goals in extra time. Only two minutes into the extra period, Greg Cochrane crossed a ball into the box and found Anangono who hit a header to Shipp, then hit the ball to Amarikwa who finished the sequence with a header of his own to give the Fire a 3-2 lead.
Anangono got into the action again only three minutes into the second set of extra time. Alex, making a run up the left side, found a streaking Anangono unmarked in the center which led to the team’s final goal.
“He is a terrific professional,” Yallop said of Anangono. “He tries very hard for the team. I am very, very happy for him.”
Chicago will visit the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks on July 9 in a Quarterfinal matchup. Atlanta will be undermanned after three players were shown red cards in the game against Colorado on Tuesday.
Jeff Engelhardt is a contributor to the Chicago soccer site Hot Time In Old Town. You can follow him on Twitter @JWEngelhardt.
HIGHLIGHTS: COLUMBUS CREW AT CHICAGO FIRE
FULL MATCH REPLAY: COLUMBUS CREW AT CHICAGO FIRE
POST-GAME: QUINCY AMARIKWA
POST-GAME: FRANK YALLOP
POST-GAME: JUAN LUIS ANANGONO