The Chicago Fire, desperately needing any kind of victory, found itself in something of a no-win situation Wednesday.
The Fire, a disappointing 2-4-8 in MLS play so far this season, was finally able to get that victory against the USL-Pro Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a rain-delayed U.S. Open Cup game at Toyota Park. The Fire was declared a 2-1 winner when the match was finally declared over after 3:33 was played in the second half. This short return to action had followed a lengthy delay that extended the intermission.
Still, it's hard to take much joy from defeating a minor-league team.
The Fire advanced to host MLS rival Columbus Crew on June 25 at Toyota Park in the fifth round of Open Cup play.
The game did not kick off until 9:22 p.m., a delay of nearly two hours, because of storms in the area.
After a slow start while both teams got accustomed to the soggy field conditions, the Fire scored first in the 22nd minute. Grant Ward finished from 10 yards out off a Quincy Amarikwa pass. It was the first goal in a Fire uniform for the recent Tottenham transfer.
The match saw the return to action of forward Mike Magee, who missed four games due to a calf injury, and Magee responded with the second goal.
Jeff Larentowicz won a header off a Harry Shipp corner kick, and Magee, lurking just a couple of yards off the right post, slammed the ball into the net.
Pittsburgh got that one back in the 41st minute on a goal by Andrew Marshall that Larentowicz appeared to have cleared off the line.
The assistant referee raised his flag immediately, however, to signal the ball had crossed the line.
Collins John, once a rising star with Fulham who had a short stay with the Fire in 2010, returned to Toyota Park with the Riverhounds. He was held scoreless by his former team.
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