Friday, December 5, 2008

Chivas USA and Chicago Fire Fight to 2-2 Draw

On short notice, Chivas USA and Chicago Fire took the field for a nationally televised game on FSC. The two sides delivered, putting in a sterling effort en route to a 2-2 draw.

The Fire had the best chance of the opening minutes, when the Fire's Atta Ozbay forced a good save out of Chivas goalkeeper Juan Quiroz from a free kick. The Fire dominated the early going but were caught out on the counter by Chivas. Cesar Zamora lead a counter attack in the 24th minute, streaking across midfield before feeding teammate Andy Lopez. Lopez took the ball at full speed before slotting home past the onrushing Jordan Maman in the Fire net.

Chicago pushed for an equalizer, and it came later in the first half. A quick free kick by Bryan Ciesiulka opened up the Chivas defense, and the Fire worked the ball around Andy Huftlain finished low to the far post in the 33rd minute.

The game looked to be heading for a deadlock at halftime, but a goalkeeping error lead resulted in Chivas taking the lead. The swirling Lancaster winds fooled Maman, and Chivas' Victor Sanchez Jr. capitalized to put the Goats one up at the break.

The Fire came out quickly in the second half, and just three minutes into the second period the scores were level. Huftlain grabbed his brace, rising highest to meet a teasing Joel Del Toro cross and head home past Quiroz.With the scores tied, both teams went forward for the win. The Fire were denied twice by the woodwork - once when Ciesulka's freekick rattled the cross bar, and again late on when Ian Christianson's shot came back off the upright. Chivas had chances of their own, but every time Maman was equal to the task. In the end the 2-2 draw was a fair result, and both teams left the field knowing they put in a good effort in their first game of the weekend.

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