The Fire Academy teams put up a great fight in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs, but each team was unable to win their group to make it on to the next round of championship play.
U17/18 Indiana Fire Drop Tough Game to Orlando City SC
In a must-win game, the Indiana Fire gave up their first goal of group play in the first minute against the Lions. On a great transition play, Orlando City played the ball down the line to David Loera who calmly dribbled toward the keeper and played the ball into the net from a tight angle. The rest of the half would see chances from both teams, but the score would remain 1-0 going into the break.
The Fire’s hole would get bigger when Orlando City’s Raul Aguilera would receive a cross in the box and bury one low and hard past the diving Indiana keeper in the 69th minute. The Fire refused to give up though, and in the 76th minute Ben Weber would cut the Orlando lead to one when he rocketed a shot from about 30 yards out into the upper right hand corner of the net. The Orlando City keeper had little chance on that shot.
It wouldn’t be enough, however, as Orlando City hung on for the win and move onto the knockout stages.
U15/16s Get First Win, But Not Enough to Move On
In a matchup against fellow MLS Academy side Montreal Impact, the Fire fell behind 1-0 early, with Montreal’s Moulay Abdallah Kanzi Belghiti tapping in a rebound shot off the post. The Fire would allow another Impact goal directly after halftime when Montreal’s transition play down the left hand side led to a cross into the box that Daniel Pacella volleyed past the Fire keeper in the 47th minute.
But the rest of the second half belonged to the Fire. In the 56th minute, the Fire earned a penalty kick when a trip from behind caused a Fire player in front of goal to fall. Stefan Ibronjev stepped up for the attempt and calmly placed it into the right corner. Five minutes later, the Fire scored again when a clever chip over the top was misdirected by a Montreal defender into the pathway of Carlos Cepeda, who passed the ball by the keeper and into the net. Christian Marquez scored the go-ahead goal from a beautiful cross in from the left hand side. Marquez kept his composure to trap the ball and finish it.
Chicago Fire U-17/18 Fall in Finale vs. Colorado
The U17/18 squad’s season came to an end after a defeat to the Colorado Rapids. The first Rapids goal came in the 29th minute when a cross from the end-line fell to Aaron Martinez just outside the 6-yard box, where he volleyed it past the diving Fire keeper. Chicago was able to tame the Rapids for the remainder of the half to enter intermission down just a goal.
But the second half proved to be Colorado's as they scored four more unanswered goals, winning 5-0 to punch their ticket to the USSDA Playoff knockout rounds. .