The Chicago Fire started their quest for a fifth U.S. Open Cup title in spectacular fashion, beating the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Wednesday in the first round of MLS qualifying. Jalil Anibaba provided the winning goal on a strike from about 45 yards in the 61st minute that several reports suggest was aided by smoke from flares Fire supporters had lit.
Fast forward to 4:20 if you're only interested in Anibaba's goal
Here's what Hot Time In Old Town, SB Nation's Chicago Fire blog, had to say about the goal:
Around this same time period, a mysterious smoke cloud began to engulf the area around the goal the Rapids were trying to protect in the 2nd half. Allegedly this smoke came from the same area where about seventy Section 8 Chicago members were waving large flags, singing, and playing the drums but I've been to Peoria. Let me tell you the strangest coincidences happen in that town. Most of the smoke was gone after five minutes but it would be fair to say that some 'haziness' persisted on that half. In the 61st minute, Jalil Anibaba had just crossed midfield when he got the inclination to whip the ball towards the goal. As if being pulled in by Section 8 on a string, the ball sailed over 40 yards and right past the arms of a late jumping Joyce and right into the top right hand corner of the net.
The Fire got on the scoreboard first on a goal from Gaston Puerari. In just his third match in a Fire uniform, Puerari has now scored two goals and drawn two red cards on the opposition.
Andre Akpan scored the Rapids' goal in the 47th minute. The loss marks the fourth straight year that the Rapids have failed to make the main draw of the Open Cup. It's also worth noting that the Rapids only brought three bench players.
Jack Jewsbury and Eric Brunner scored second-half goals to move the Timbers into the second round of Open Cup qualifying. Both goals came after the 84th minute and were scored just two minutes apart. Chivas USA had been forced to play with 10 men after Andrew Boyens picked up his second yellow card in the 43rd minute.