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Fire Sun May 23 2010

Friendly Tournament Ends in Defeat for Fire

I'll be honest, I couldn't--and still can't--pronounce the names of the Polish players as they handily cut, crossed and scored against the Chicago Fire last night. Those unique names went flying through the Fire players, resulting in a 3-0 win for Legia Warsaw, giving them the official third place title in the Chicago Sister Cities International Cup.

The first half saw no goals as both teams battled at an even level. The Fire had some prime opportunities to obtain the lead but couldn't seem to get past Legia goalie Kostyantyn Makhonovsky. (See what I mean, that's difficult.) It all fell apart in the second half. In the 59th minute, Maciej Rybus fired a cross to Maciej Gorski, who quickly nudged the ball to Maciej Iwanski. (It makes it easy when I only have to know one name.) Iwanski then shot it past Fire goalie Andrew Dykstra to put Legia up 1-0. Even when Fire coach Carlos de los Cabos brought out his big players--McBride, John and Pappa--it did no good against Legia. The next two goals were scored by Sebastian Szalachowski in the 69th and 85th minutes.

Despite the loss and the last place finish, the Fire gained great experience from the tournament. The team was able to test the waters with some of their reserve players as well as get a look at some prospectives from the competing teams looking to make a move to the MLS. Also, the tournament encouraged friendly competition and a positive relationship with Chicago's Sister Cities. And if fans weren't already excited, the international play certainly boosted enthusiasm for the upcoming World Cup.

The Fire return to regular MLS play on Thursday, May 27 against FC Dalla at Toyota Park at 7 p.m.

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