Jaqua goals give Fire tie with U-20s

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Chicago Fire overcame a two-goal deficit after Nate Jaqua scored in the 94th and 120th minutes to help the Fire earn a 2-2 draw against the U.S. U-20 national team in a 120-minute exhibition match held earlier today at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Today's result improves the Fire's preseason record to 3-1-1. The "Men in Red" are scheduled to face 2004 MLS Cup runner-up Kansas City Wizards in the club's last exhibition match in Bradenton on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET at the University of South Florida.

The U.S. U-20's opened the scoring after forward Sammy Ochoa tallied the first goal of the day in the 37th minute. Midfielder/forward Robbie Rogers would make it 2-0 in the 85th minute to double the lead for his side.

But the Fire did not surrender, as mid-game sub Nate Jaqua would come through for the "Men in Red." In the 94th minute, Fire defender Denny Clanton sent a nice through ball to midfielder Boyzzz Khumalo, who dribbled past defenders and sent a perfect cross to an onrushing Jaqua, who one-timed his shot from 12 yards out to cut the lead in half. The Portland product would tally again in the final seconds of the match, heading in a great cross off a corner kick from midfielder Scott Buete and past a diving U-20's keeper for the equalizer.

Fire boss Dave Sarachan allowed a total of 24 players to see action during the 120-minute scrimmage, including forward Andy Herron and defender Samuel Caballero, who had been nursing injuries this preseason.

Select Fire players and Head Coach Dave Sarachan are scheduled to participate in the Fire's annual FireFest, to be held Saturday, Feb. 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select & Convention Center Hotel in Tinley Park, IL. The team will resume preseason activities in Guadalajara, Mexico and Jackson, MS before traveling to Dallas for the 2005 MLS Opener on Saturday, Apr. 2 from the Cotton Bowl. To view the Fire's complete preseason calendar, visit

Chicago Lineup (4-4-2): GK-Matt Pickens (David Mahoney 61), D-Hollis Donaldson (Kelly Gray 61), D-Jim Curtin (Samuel Caballero 61, Jack Stewart 91), D-C.J. Brown (Denny Clanton 61), D-Gonzalo Segares (Leonard Griffin 26, Boyzzz Khumalo 91), M-John Thorrington (Will John 31), M-Jesse Marsch (Chris Rolfe 46), M-Chris Karcz (Thiago 61), M-Justin Mapp (Scott Buete 61), F-Andy Herron (Chad Barrett 61), F-Damani Ralph (Nate Jaqua 61).

Scoring Summary:
U20 - Sammy Ochoa 37'
U20 - Robbie Rogers 85'
CHI - Nate Jaqua (Khumalo) 94'
CHI - Nate Jaqua (Buete) 120'

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