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Chicago Fire Battles to 2-1 Victory Against Sockers FC in Local Matchup at 2010 Finals Week

CARSON, Calif. (July 10, 2010) – In a battle of the Academy Central Conference at the 2010 Development Academy Finals Week, Chicago Fire U-15/16 came out on top against Chicago rivals Sockers FC 2-1 at Field 3 at the Home Depot Center.

After a lackluster first half, the local rivals came to life in the second half to produce an entertaining finish to their Development Academy Finals Week openers. The Fire’s Victor Pineda opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 55th minute but a Damien Sampson goal in the 69th cancelled out the Fire’s advantage. Right back Keaton Albert provided the game winner with just nine minutes left to give the Fire three points and the Group 1 lead after the first day of matches.

The first half started as expected with two teams familiar with each other’s tactics. As a shot was not fired until the 15th minute, the two Chicago sides were feeling each other out while staying compact in the back, cautious not to give up an early advantage. The Fire were especially committed to playing an organized, defensive posture in the opening exchanges.

It was not until the 26th minute when either side looked to make a breakthrough as the first corner kick of the match produced the best scoring chance up until that point. Sockers FC played in a corner from the right which was met by the head of Thomas Arn in the penalty area. His effort beat the ‘keeper and crashed onto the crossbar bouncing directly to ground but not over the line. In the ensuing scramble, the Fire defense was able to clear the ball to safety.

The Sockers were able to enjoy a majority of possession for the remainder of the half but could not turn it into an clear cut chances as the Fire defense remained compact and organized.

The Fire started the second half brightly, playing with intent and linking passes through the midfield which resulted in a half chance on 44 minutes after a combination down the right flank.

After a similar chance saw David Caban blast over from 12 yards in the 52nd minute, the Fire found their breakthrough just a minute later. Substitute Manuel Rios was brought down in the box after being put through by Pineda in the 53rd minute. Pineda stepped up to the spot and put Sockers ‘keeper Jeffrey Gal the wrong way to make it 1-0.

With just twenty minutes remaining, Sockers FC began a concerted push for the equalizer leading to them winning a succession of corners in a row. As the game opened up, both teams were finding more gaps in opposing defenses.

On 69 minutes, the Sockers found the equalizer after a patient build up found midfielder Andrew Chang at the top of the area for a shot. His effort was deflected across the box by a sliding defender to the oncoming Sampson who finished across the goalkeeper to the far post from 12 yards.

The Fire sought to answer the equalizer and found a response after two minutes when Pineda again found Rios in the area. He shielded his defender on the left side of the penalty area and slipped a pass back to the supporting Andrew Connor. The midfielder then played a chipped ball over the defense to a wide open Keaton Albert who made no mistake from 15 yards.

The Fire had regained the lead and, with less than 10 minutes left, were able to resume their tight defensive play to see out the match for three points. They next face D.C. United at 6 p.m. PT on Field 3 at The Home Depot Center on July 12. Sockers FC will face De Anza on July 12 at 7 p.m. ET on Field 3 as they look to rebound in the Group 1 standings.

Development Academy Finals Week Match Report

Match: Chicago Fire U-15/16 vs. Sockers FC U-15/16
Date: July 10, 2010
Competition: Development Academy Finals Week
Venue: The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local time

Scoring Summary:   1     2     F
FIRE                          0     2     2
SOCK                        0     1     1

FIRE – Victor Pineda (penalty)               55th minute
SOCK – Damien Sampson                     69
FIRE – Keaton Albert (Andrew Connor)  71

FIRE: 1-Robert Euler; 53-David Caban, 58-Peter Beasley, 46-Anthony Torres, 60-Keaton Albert; 52-Andrew Connor (88-Joel Salmeron , 81), 51-Eduardo Cuautle (56-Elliott Borge, 40), 55-Victor Pineda, 49-Luis Medina, 59-Luis Baraja; 45-Patryk Ruta (43-Manual Rios)
Subs not used: 47-Horacio Sanchez, 42-Francisco Sajuan, 62-Henok Russell, 54-Mitch Reavis, 45-Chidozie Nwagbara, 50-Jesus Medina, 44-Henrik Egly, 57-Johnny Contreras, 00-Zak Allen
Head Coach: Larry Sunderland

SOCK: 55-Jeffrey Gal; 18-Marcin Modzelewski, 26-Taylor Cole, 50-Charles Giovenco; 13-Damien Sampson, 2-Andrew Chang, 27-Kei Glaser (7-Daniel Aparicio, 77), 11-Luke Comerouski (41-Alex Wetterman, 60); 46-Thomas Arns, 33-Khaliq McKenzie, 37-David Selvaggi
Subs not used: 31-Patrick Schulz, 24-Zachary Radwanski, 12-Jonathan Pothast, 9-Saul Mencilla, 17-Jason Lesch, 21-Nicholas Landsberger, 35-Jeffrey Kreutz, 43-Jason Kayne, 53-Hugo Gonzalez, 23-Adam Gatza, 8-Michael Chang, 42-Arman Arami
Head Coach: David Richardson

Stats Summary: FIRE / SOCK
Shots: 5 / 2
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 0 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 4 / 8
Offside: 3 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
SOCK – Taylor Cole   (caution)  54th minute
FIRE – Elliot Borge    (caution)  62
FIRE – David Caban  (caution)  70