February 23, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Chicago Fire drew 1-1 with Vancouver Whitecaps FC Saturday evening at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. Maicon Santos scored the lone Fire goal as the Men in Red went 2-0-1 in the tournament, securing the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup title. The Fire compiled a 4-1-2 record throughout its three phases of preseason training camp.
Both teams looked sharp from the first whistle but neither team could find the back of the net. The Whitecaps' most dangerous chance came in the 11th minute when YP Lee whipped in a cross to Kobayashi Diago on the far post but his volley sailed over the goal.
The Fire would threaten in the 23rd minute when Sherjill MacDonald played the ball back to Logan Pause who unleashed a shot from 20 yards out but his effort went just wide.
The Fire's best offensive effort came in the 31st minute when Jalil Anibaba threaded the needle and played a pinpoint ball through the Whitecaps defense to MacDonald, who broke through and took a shot that Whitecaps 'keeper Joe Cannon punched out. Chris Rolfe collected the rebound and took a quick shot from the top of the six but Cannon again made the diving save to thwart the Fire.
In the second half the Fire would break the deadlock to seal the Carolina Challenge Cup title. Rolfe received the ball in the 57th minute and played it to Santos just outside of the 18-yard box. The Brazilian striker took a touch and blasted a shot that nicked the underside of the crossbar and ricocheted down for the first goal of the evening.
The Whitecaps equalized in the 67th minute when Steven Kinney went shoulder-to-shoulder with Kenny Miller in the penalty area, bumped him off the ball, and was whistled for the infraction. Darren Mattocks lined up the ensuing penalty kick and blasted it to Sean Johnson's left for the equalizer.
In the 74th minute, Darren Mattocks broke past the Fire defense and went racing towards goal. Johnson rushed off his line and smothered the shot to preserve the 1-1 score line.
With the draw the Fire clinched the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup championship and recorded a 2-0-1 record during its stay in South Carolina. The Fire return to Chicago on Sunday and will train at the Bridgeview Soccer & Sports Dome (8900 S. 77th Ave., Bridgeview, IL 60455) on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 10:00 a.m. CT before departing to take on two-time defending MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. CT (Univision) for the first match of the 2013 MLS season.
Chicago Fire Season Tickets and #cf97withdrawals Winter Packs, which give fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action on Opening Night against the New England Revolution on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network), while donning the four Fire hats and four pairs of Fire gloves, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.