Women's Soccer

MLS Ticker: Anibaba blast lifts Fire, Nagbe nears Portland debut and more


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:


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.


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 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.


  • DC Josh

    Excited to see Nagbe in MLS action. I’m hoping he can have an impact for Portland this year and team up well with Kenny Cooper. That is some quality production on the Fire/Rapids highlights, oof!


  • Modibo

    Anibaba’s goal came out of nowhere – it surprised everyone on and around the field. There was some potential controversy, as it followed as smoke from Section 8’s flares was still lingering in the air. But I don’t think Colorado complained about it – it was not that thick. Some fans actually thought that the ball hit the side netting instead of going in. Quite a way for Chicago to make a splash in the Open Cup, the competition where they have had the most success.


  • Brad

    I cant believe how the Rapid reserves almost beat the fire. And the 2nd goal was all luck. The Fire supporters section let off some sort of smoke bomb and covered half the field in smoke to the point that there is no way Joyce saw the shot.


  • fischy

    I remember Shea Stadium being a lot bigger.

    I wonder about DC United’s decision to start the women’s team. I see one of two possible motivations. One is the obvious — to raise their profile, brand recognition and brand loyalty among young women. The other possibility is more cunning — the team is working on getting a new stadium site in DC — either near the Anacostia waterfront or northeast of Union Station where the (Florida market) Capital City food market currently sits. The team will want to claim a minimum of guaranteed dates of operation each year. Having a women’s team, especially one they might be able to move up to the top-tier in the future, will allow the team to claim additional guaranteed dates — and encourage the USSF to make the stadium the East Coast home of the USWNT.

    At least, that’s what I’m thinking….


  • Chicago - Scott

    They almost beat The Fire??? What?!??!? The Fire dominated them the whole game, did you even watch it?


  • The Wild Mushroom

    Not so fast Fire fans. Last week the Fire were up a man and last night the Rapids had their scrubs in. Although the Fire won, their opponents were not at their best.


  • Matt in Detroit

    Just remember, this USL league is just unpaid college girls on summer break. They probably average about 200 fans. I doubt any stadium committee would consider that relevant as opening the stadium would cost more than the ticket revenue.

    Are the girls even going to play in RFK?


  • Matt in Detroit

    Ah, never mind. The article says they won’t. No impact on the actual stadium.


  • chris

    no no no! why does the MLS insist on investing in other things rather than the league? It is just a waste of money, im sorry but womens soccer will not help DC in any way. How about instead of wasting their limited money the MLS puts some effort in rasing the level of and turning the US second division into a feeder league for the MLS. I think a development league, like the NBA does, would help the teams greatly and loaning young players to a second division team would better simulate “1st Team minutes” than a reserve game. But thats a no for pro/reg.


  • Bryan

    I’m pretty sure it was DC’s decision, not MLS, to create a women’s team, at least from what Ives said it seemed that way. Don’t think MLS itself had anything to do with this, just DC United’s managment team.


  • Frantz Mathieu fan

    I’d like to see the Fire and it’s unknown players fly under the MLS radar for as long as possible. The team is showing a lot of promise and the players are still getting familiar with each other. We’ll see if the early success is due to other teams’ bad fortune or the real deal.


  • Chicago - Scott

    The Fire were up a man last week because they earned it. Puerari was taken out from behind in the box. I haven’t seen any Fire fans saying that we are going to win the Cup now because of these wins. I think we are just excited to see all our new guys playing good and getting wins. Time will tell just how good we are.


  • Ryan

    Yep, leave it to someone to come on the baords and be bitter. I am getting sick of reading about how we could only win by playing our first team vs. their reserves, etc. Here’s some food for though:

    1. We had LARGE roster turnover. More than any other team. So every game our first team plays together helps familiarity, teamwork, cohesiveness, etc. Why wouldn’t they be playing the first team to get the most experience together possible for these players??

    2. We don’t have another MLS league game until April 9th. If we played this weekend like everyone else, I am sure we would have had a lot more reserves in too. Why wouldn’t the Fire be playing their first team with that long of a layoff vs. letting them get rusty?

    3. We were without one of our best players (Pappa), and one of our best offseason acquisitions (Josip Mikulic). Try giving the Fire credit rather than making excuses.


  • lurking

    Was Jason Anno refereeing? He seems to like Chicago and controversy….just ask KC. Chicago will get credit when they play 11 v 11 for a full 90.


  • Frantz Mathieu fan

    I guess it’s a matter of interpretation but Puerari was free and clear and Bravo grabbed him and clipped his heel. Is that a red? It should be if he’s the last defender and stopping a clear scoring opportunity. Ditto on Shea the week before. If the Rapids decide to concede a Cup game to concentrate on the league, not much we can do about that either. I didn’t see the webcast but the consensus seems that the final score didn’t reflect Chicago’s dominance. I echo Scott, we’ll see what happens when the rest of the league starts figuring out how to handle the Uruguayans. The upcoming 3-game road trip will be a good barometer.


  • socnow

    Yep, and to take your point a little further a lot of teams right now haven’t settled on a permanent first team anyway. With the exception of RBNY and RSL I don’t see how any team can claim to have a settled first squad, especially the expansion sides and teams with a lot of turnover from last year.


  • fischy

    If you read my comment closely, you’d see I was speculating that DCU might be interested in moving their franchise up to the WPS level. Even at that level, the crowds won’t be huge — I bet they’d get bigger crowds in Maryland than in DC, though a DC site would be more attractive to the Virginians. Hopefully, crowds would be big enough to break even on costs of running a stadium for those dates, but the team wouldn’t be run as a moneymaker. I was suggesting that DCU might be planning to go up a tier and to make the case to the city about the number of guaranteed dates.


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