The Fire scored three times in the second half to come away with a 3-2 win over Minnesota United in their Leagues Cup debut.
The last time the Fire played a competitive game was two weeks ago, July 15, in a 1-0 win over Toronto. Against Minnesota United, that rust was apparent.
After a first half with few scoring opportunities from either side, the floodgates opened in the second.
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Bongokuhle Hlongwane scored the first of his two goals in the 62nd minute, culminating some of the early dominance Minnesota displayed in the second half.
The Fire equalized sort of out of nowhere thanks to a solo play by Brian Gutierrez. The 20-year-old drove inside the box and as he tried to make way through two Minnesota defenders, he was tripped up by Wil Trapp and awarded a penalty. Xherdan Shaqiri stepped up and converted to tie the game.
Minnesota retook the lead four minutes after the Fire equalized as Hlongwane thundered a ball past Fire goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
But the Fire simply wouldn’t give up and equalized shortly thereafter. Down the left, Shaqiri laid the ball off to Miguel Navarro who sent in a low cross from just outside the box. The ball went across goal without anyone getting a touch before Arnaud Souquet put the ball in the back of the net.
Kei Kamara scored the winner in the 83rd minute as Mauricio Pineda crossed the ball into the box where Kamara met it with a header near the penalty mark. It was a bit of a strange play as Kamara inadvertently made contact with a Minnesota United defender, resulting in a VAR review. The goal stood but then the game was delayed for 34 minutes on account of lightning in the area.
The game did eventually resume and the Fire were able to hang on. Richey made a great save in stoppage time to avoid a Minnesota equalizer.
The win means the Fire have won six out of their last seven games in all competitions. What makes this win over Minnesota that much better is they were able to come back on two occasions.
In addition to the win, the match also saw the debut of the Fire’s new Designated Player Ousmane Doumbia, who entered the game in the 65th minute.
The Fire’s next Leagues Cup game is on Monday, July 31 when they host Liga MX side Puebla at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.