Photo by Tracy Allen/ISIphotos.com
Jalil Anibaba was drafted by Chicago to prevent goals from being scored. As it turns out, he can score some pretty dazzling ones as well.
Anibaba's 40-yard blast beat Colorado Rapids backup keeper Ian Joyce and snuck inside the right post to lift the Fire to a 2-1 victory over the Rapids in U.S. Open Cup qualifying at Bradley University Wednesday night.
Chicago trotted out a team comprised primarily of starters while Colorado opted for a lineup of reserves. Nevertheless, the teams played to an even scoreline for the first hour, with Chicago's Gaston Puerari and Colorado's Andre Akpan supplying the goals.
Anibaba scored his first professional goal in the 61st-minute, bringing the Fire to within one game of the Open Cup field. Chicago will face the winner of the San Jose-Portland qualifier in a final play-in game. Highlights of the Fire-Rapids match can be found here.
Here are a few more items from around MLS:
NAGBE NEARS DEBUT
Heralded rookie Darlington Nagbe is close to returning from a preseason sports hernia that required surgery and cost him the beginning of his first MLS season.
Nagbe was an unused substitute in Portland's 2-0 victory over Chivas USA in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, and coach John Spencer reportedly said that had the match gone to extra time, Nagbe may have been pressed into action.
The Timbers could certainly use Nagbe's presence on offense. The club has scored just one goal in two league games thus far.
NOWAK GETS NEW TITLE
Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak was named the club's executive vice president of soccer operations on Wednesday.
The new title doesn't change much from Nowak's daily responsibilities, as he already oversees all personnel and technical decisions. He'll also continue to be the manager for the Union, which is off to a 2-0 start in its second season in MLS.
D.C. UNITED LAUNCHES WOMEN'S TEAM
D.C. United joined the Vancouver Whitecaps as MLS franchises to field a women's team by entering a club in the USL W-League on Wednesday.
The DCU women will play their home matches at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md., where the WPS' Washington Freedom used to play. With the Freedom, now named MagicJack SC, relocated to Florida, the stadium and opportunity for a women's team in the area became available.
Impressed by Anibaba's finish? Which of the three teams (Chicago, San Jose, Portland) do you see moving on to the Open Cup field? How much of a difference do you think Nagbe can make for the Timbers? How would you rate Nowak's job at handling personnel? Do you think all MLS clubs should have a women's team?
Share your thoughts below.