The last week saw the Chicago Fire Reserves win their biggest matches of the season thus far. On Wednesday the Reserves defeated SAC Wisla Chicago in the First Round of the US Open Cup, and then overcame PDL Powerhouse Mid Michigan Bucks 3-1 in Detroit on Saturday.
USASA SAC Wisla Chicago brought their best game, as well as hundreds of fans, to the US Open Cup 1st Round match, and played the Reserves to a standstill for much of the first half, but goals on either side of the interval changed the match for good. Striker Julian Nash set up Chris Rolfe's first half stoppage time strike, and then converted his own breakaway goal in the first minute of the second half. SAC Wisla became the first team to score on the Reserves in 2004, when Macin Okarmus slid the ball past Reserves Keeper Brad Guzan in the 60th minute, but the Reserves were not to be stopped, scoring 4 goal in the second half to take the match 1-0, and advance to the 2nd round of "The '04 Lamar".
On Saturday the Reserves traveled to Detroit to face the PDL's perennial powerhouse, the undefeated Michigan Bucks. This match was always going to go a Central Conference Playoff Preview, and a scoreless first half showed the chess match that was taking place between Reserves coach Mike Matkovich and Bucks head man Don Gemmell. It was another breakaway goal by Reserves Striker Julian Nash that broke the deadlock in the 59th minute. The match was still up for grabs in the 80th minute, when Chris Rolfe bagged his 4th goal of the season. Down 2-0 the Bucks fought back and were rewarded with a penalty in the 86th minute. The Reserves held their nerve and grabbed a stoppage time breakaway goal by Boyzz Khumalo, to secure the win and keep their 2004 record unblemished.
This Week the 7-0-0 Reserves will host the 2-7-1 Kansas City Brass on Saturday (8:00PM @ Lemont High School Stadium) in the second half of a double header with the Women's W-League Windy City Blues.
Then the Reserves return to US Open Cup action, as they travel to face the 4-2-1 New Hampshire Phantoms of the PSL in the 2nd Round. The Phantoms sit atop the Northern Division with 13 points. Led by Richard Fleming who leads the team with 7 assists, the Phantoms will be a tough challenge for the Reserves.
Don't forget to mark your calendars for Wednesday June 23rd, as the Reserves will host their parent club the Chicago Fire on at St. Laurence High School, just steps away from the Fire's future home in Bridgeview. The match will be the second game of a doubleheader that also features the Chicago Fire Juniors U-23 team vs Morelia's U-20 team from Mexico.
For more information on the Fire Reserves check out their web-site at www.firereserves.com