David Accam seems to like the U.S. Open Cup.
The Chicago Fire forward scored a goal and the clinching penalty kick in the Fire’s win against Indy Eleven earlier this month. On Tuesday Accam added to his Open Cup goal tally with a pair of goals in the first half to lead the Fire to a 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew in the round of 16.
The Fire advanced to a quarterfinal to be played at Toyota Park on July 20. The winner of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and Orlando City match, to be played on Wednesday, will head to Bridgeview for that quarterfinal.
Accam gave the Fire an early lead in the seventh minute. John Goossens, making his first start since April 16 due to injury, made a driving run with the ball and found Accam on the left wing. Accam cut inside to score with his right foot from the corner of the box.
“We wanted to start the game early and we wanted them to be on the back foot," Accam said. "It paid off.”
The Ghanaian doubled the lead in the 29th minute when he redirected a well-delivered cross from Rodrigo Ramos into the net.
“I think everybody played well," Goossens said. "We found men behind their midfield line. They tried to put us under pressure, but the first half we tried to play to somebody behind their line and every time we found that man.”
The Fire fielded a full strength lineup, but the Crew did not. Already without playmaker Federico Higuain due to injury, coach Gregg Berhalter also left key players in Wil Trapp and Ethan Finlay on the bench. Both Trapp and Finlay came on at halftime, but weren’t able to spark a two-goal comeback.
Finley did get one back for the Crew when his shot in the box deflected off Johan Kappelhof’s arm for a handball and penalty kick. Finlay converted the penalty in the 79th minute, but the Fire held onto the lead.
Unlike the Philadelphia game, where Accam scored in the second minute and the Fire trailed by two goals before halftime, the Fire were able to hold onto an early lead.
“The lesson we got in the game against Philly, I can see we learned a lot," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. "We were able to use that experience in order to perform better today defensively and have a result in our favor. These things are always helpful.”
For the Fire it was just about a perfect scenario. They got the win to advance, avoided any major injuries and were able to sub Accam, Kennedy Igboananike and Goossens off in the second half to give them some rest ahead of Friday's league match against San Jose.