The Chicago Fire seems to have found a way to win: Avoid 90-minute games.
The Fire won its second consecutive game in the U.S. Open Cup, going overtime to defeat MLS rival Columbus 4-2 Wednesday night at Toyota Park. It will play at Atlanta on July 9 in the Open Cup quarterfinals.
Last week the Fire defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a game shortened to 49 minutes because of stormy weather. The Fire is 2-4-8 in MLS play so far this season.
"We've got to be better at doing a 90-minute game and making sure that we see it through and do our thing," Fire coach Frank Yallop said. "What I will say is the fighting spirit in the guys to come back again and to go on and win the match is great. It'd just be nice to put in a good performance and win 2- or 3-nil at some point. But we're not there yet. We're trying hard."
Out-of-favor forward Juan Luis Anangono came to the Fire's rescue, entering as a 77th-minute substitute and tying the game at 2-2 in the 83rd minute to send the match into the two 15-minute overtime periods.
Quincy Amarikwa gave the Fire the lead for good in the 91st minute with his header from 8 yards out on Harry Shipp's second assist of the night. Anangono put the game away in the 108th minute with a side volley from an Alex assist.
"He's a terrific professional," Fire coach Frank Yallop said. "He's been right with the team all along with not getting many minutes lately because of Quincy's play, if you like. But what I like about the way he goes about it is the way he goes about it, he tries very hard for the team. I'm very, very happy for him to get the two goals tonight."
"The win tonight was a team effort and therefore the entire team played hero," Anangono said through a team translator. "This is a team, and as a team we win. There is never one hero when you have 11 players on the field, six or seven on the bench and at all times the entire team is pushing for a win."
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