Fire rallies for 5-4 penalty kick win

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
From Daily Herald News Services
Updated 5/25/2011 12:02 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two second-half goals spurred the Chicago Fire to overcome a two-goal deficit to tie the match in regulation before edning the San Jose Earthquakes 5-4 on penalty kicks in a U.S. Open Cup qualifying match at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara on Tuesday night.

Daniel Paladini's penalty kick proved the difference and now the Fire advances to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the 14th time in club history.

 

San Jose got the scoring started in the 14th minute when Ellis McLoughlin picked up a loose ball in front of the 18-yard box. The Quakes forward strode in on goal before blasting a shot that was deflected by Cuesta's boot and past Sean Johnson and into the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead.

With the first half coming to a close the Quakes tallied a goal against the run of play. McLoughlin collected possession at the right side of the penalty area. The 20-year-old Seattle product hit a low, well-struck ball that forced Johnson to dive to his right. As the Fire goalkeeper attempted to collect the shot the ball popped out and Justin Morrow opportunely tumbled the ball over the line for a two-goal cushion heading into halftime.

The Fire made two changes to start the second interval, as Carlos de los Cobos brought on Orr Barouch and Dominic Oduro to jump-start the Fire offense. The change paid dividends in the 61st minute when Paladini combined with Segares to find Barouch at the top of the box. The 19-year-old striker turned and sent a rolling effort past Quakes goalie Andrew Weber and inside the far post to pull one back for the Fire.

In the 76th minute, the Fire pulled level when Yamith Cuesta nodded a corner kick down towards the feet of Weber. The San Jose keeper was unable to corral the ball and it rolled over the line to knot the game at 2-2.

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Neither club was able to break the deadlock and regulation came to a close with the two sides headed towards overtime. Eight minutes into the first extra session Khari Stephenson hauled down Paladini in the middle of the park to earn a yellow card. In the aftermath of the booking, Gonzalo Segares was shown straight red, reducing the Fire to 10 men for the remainder of the overtime.

Despite opportunities for both sides in the extra sessions, neither team was able to break through, and the game was decided on penalties. The Fire prevailed 5-4 after six rounds with Paladini's kick elevating the Fire after 120 minutes.

The Fire now will face the 'Quakes at Toyota Park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (CSN).