Chicago Fire Battle FC Cincinnati to a 1-1 Draw in Carolina Challenge Cup
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club battled FC Cincinnati to a 1-1 draw in the Carolina Challenge Cup at MUSC Health Stadium on Wednesday night.
After creating several chances in the first half, the Fire opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the second half when midfielder Aleksandar Katai was able to find the back of the net, scoring his third preseason goal in four games played. Katai managed to get on the scoresheet after the Fire dispossessed FC Cincinnati deep inside their own half, with forward Nemanja Nikolic playing the ball into space to create the scoring opportunity for Katai.
With six minutes remaining in the match, FC Cincinnati leveled the score when midfielder Roland Lamah converted a long-range effort in the 84th minute of play.
Hitting five shots on target in the first half, the Fire created two dangerous opportunities to take the lead in the opening 45. In the 29th minute of play, midfielder Amando Moreno rounded the goalkeeper for a chance on goal but his final effort was cleared off the line by the defense. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, midfielder Cristian Martinez came close to scoring with a powerful attempt near the far left side of the box, forcing a strong diving save from the goalkeeper.
The Fire are now 0-2-0 (W-D-L) in the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup. The Fire tied Columbus Crew SC 1-1 on Feb. 16. The Men in Red next play host Charleston Battery on Sat. Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed live at www.charlestonbattery.com.
Wednesday's match marked the first meeting between the Fire and FC Cincinnati as MLS clubs. The Men in Red previously faced FC Cincinnati in U.S. Open Cup play during the 2017 campaign.
Midfielder Aleksandar Katai scored his third 2019 preseason goal and his first in the Carolina Challenge Cup during Wednesday's match.
Three players earned their first preseason start for the Fire, including midfielders Amando Moreno and Jeremiah Gutjahr and forward Fabian Herbers.
Przemyslaw Frankowski made his first appearance in the Carolina Challenge Cup, entering the match at the start of the second half.
The Fire's all-time record in CCC play currently stands at 2-3-0 (W-D-L).
With the 1-1 draw, the Fire currently rank tied for second place in the CCC standings alongside Columbus Crew SC.
Fire broadcast duo Dan Kelly (play-by-play) and Frank Klopas (color analyst) called their first preseason match of the 2019 campaign.
Chicago Fire 1:1 FC Cincinnati
CHI - Katai (1) (Nikolic) 53'
FCC - Lamah (1) 84'
CHI - Adams (Caution) 45+1
FCC - Adi (Caution) 79'
CHI - Katai (Caution) 87'
Chicago Fire: Sanchez (Ousted 46'); Hasler, Marcelo (Kappelhof 46'), Lillard (Schweinsteiger 46'), Corrales (Campos 46'); Adams, Gutjahr (Mihailovic 46'); Moreno (Katai 46'), Bronico © (McCarty 66'), Martinez (Frankowski 46'), Herbers (Nikolic 46')
FC Cincinnati: Richey; Lasso (Deplagne 70'), Smith (Hagglund 70'), Ndam (Hoyte 70'); Albadawi (Powell 70'), Cruz (Ulloa 70'), Bone © (Bertone 70'), Amaya (Alexander 70'), Stanko, Ledesma (Lamah 70'); Mattocks (Adi 70')
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