Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pappa, shorthanded Fire pull off win over Toronto

Fire midfielder Marco Pappa -- ISI Photos
Though it was not by design, the Chicago Fire's opening game of the eighth annual Carolina Challenge Cup against Toronto FC turned into a strong preseason test.

Marco Pappa netted the game's lone goal and Chicago played down a man for about 55 minutes and hung on to a 1-0 win over the Reds on Saturday in Charleston, S.C.

The Fire had to abandon their new three-man defensive line early as captain and defensive midfielder Logan Pause was issued a straight red card in the 36th minute for a two-footed challenge against Toronto's Oscar Cordon around midfield.

But Chicago already had its lead and the defense held up en route to the shutout. Pappa tallied his third goal of the preseason in the 6th minute on a well-executed sequence. Gaston Puerari provided the cross from the right side to Davis Paul, who then dropped the ball back to Pappa who darted into the box for the finish and the 1-0 lead.

"I got toward the left post and could have taken a shot, but I saw Marco coming in," Paul said. "I passed it back to him and he had a class finish."


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