CHARLESTON, S.C. – Uruguayan striker Federico Puppo buried one of the few real scoring chances of the night with a right-footed blast in the 80th minute to lead the Chicago Fire past the Columbus Crew 1-0 in the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium on Wednesday night.
Puppo’s late goal and a strong outing from Italian trialist goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi were enough for the Fire on what was largely a frustrating night for both teams in their second game of the tournament.
The Fire made amends for their loss to D.C. United in the tournament opener on Saturday night, while the Crew remained winless after the loss Wednesday and a draw against the host Charleston Battery in their opener.
Puppo’s goal was the product of both good fortune and a gutsy surge down the left flank from defender Gonzalo Segares. The veteran defender drifted a cross into the box that the Crew failed to clear, and Puppo promptly rocketed a shot past helpless goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum for the lone tally of the night.
The goal held up thanks mostly to Tornaghi, the Inter Milan youth goalkeeper who is currently on trial with Chicago. His best moment came in the 26th minute, when he parried a shot from Crew defender Nemanja Vukovic before making a sprawling kick save on a rebound attempt from rookie forward Ethan Finlay.
Tornaghi also turned away Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven in the 25th minute to preserve the shutout.
Gruenebaum also had a moment to shine in the first half, when he stoned Puppo on breakaway chance set up by Kheli Dube’s through ball in the 23rd minute. He also turned away a solid chance for Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini in the closing seconds of the match.
CHI – Federico Puppo, 80’
CHI - Amador Sanyang, 39’ (caution)
CLB – Tony Tchani, 73’ (caution)
CHI – Gonzalo Segares, 75’ (caution)
Columbus Crew: Andy Gruenebaum; Sebastien Miranda (Josh Williams, 45’), Chad Marshall (Eric Gehrig 45’), Danny O’Rourke (Corey Veeder, 82’), Nemanja Vukovic (Aaron Horton, 73’); Tony Tchani (Kirk Urso, 82’), Milovan Mirosevic (Olman Vargas, 45’), Stephane Auvray (Kevon George, 65’), Ethan Finlay; Eddie Gaven (Shawn Francis, 45’), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann, 45’).
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Gonzalo Segares, Hunter Jumper, Jalil Anibaba, Dan Gargan (Tony Walls, 79’); Rafael Robayo (Mike Vidiera, 84’), Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause (Pari Pantazopoulos, 90’), Amador Sanyong (Corben Bone, 45’); Kheli Dube (Lucky Mkosana, 79’) Fedrico Puppo.