BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Two sensational late goals from substitute Kennedy Igboananike sealed a 3-1 victory for the Chicago Fire over Orlando City in an absorbing US Open Cup quarterfinal at Toyota Park on Wednesday.
Inspired by the injection of pace from fellow substitute David Accam, Igboananike struck in the 87th and 90 minutes to give Chicago coach Frank Yallop’s men a victory they richly deserved after dominating the visitors for much of the 90 minutes.
The Fire showed three changes from the side beaten by the Columbus Crew last time out, with Jon Busch starting in goal for Sean Johnson, while Joevin Jones returned from Gold Cup duty with Trinidad & Tobago to start at left back and Shaun Maloney started just behind Jason Johnson up top.
Orlando made four changes of their own, with Seb Hines and Luke Boden coming into the defense for Aurélien Collin and Corey Ashe, with Eric Avila and Pedro Ribeiro replacing Carlos Rivas and Lewis Neal in midfield.
The hosts got off to a dream start when Busch’s long punt from inside his own box caught the Orlando defense napping in the third minute, with Patrick Nyarko finding himself clean through on goal. The Ghanaian made no mistake, holding his nerve to calmly slot the ball past the helpless Tally Hall and put Chicago men ahead.
Hall then pushed over a dangerous Maloney free kick in the 16th minute, while a minute later Ribeiro’s header almost crept past Busch from Orlando’s first meaningful attack.
Rookie of the Year contender Cyle Larin drew the visitors level in the 56th minute. Industrious right back Rafael Ramos broke forward and found Avila with the space to pick Larin out for the simplest of headers past Busch.
Both sides continued to push for the lead in a wide open second half, with Accam in particular causing all kinds of problems for the Orlando defense.
It was the combination of Accam and fellow DP substitute Igboananike who ultimately propelled the Fire to victory with two dramatic late goals.
First, a searching ball from Matt Watson in the 87th minute released Accam, and his right-footed shot came back off the post into the path of Igboananike, who made no mistake from eight yards.
The Nigerian then added a security goal in the 90th minute when Jones’ clearance from left back put Igboananike through on goal at the halfway line, and the Nigerian rounded Hall before hammering home from seven yards.
The Fire now advance to an Open Cup semifinal meeting with the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 11.