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Fire scorches Morelia, 3-1
by Ridge Mahoney, February 26th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] Chicago won the second of its two preseason games in Mexico, beating Morelia, 3-1, Tuesday with goals by Brian McBride, Austin Washington and Mike Banner.

McBride opened the scoring in the first half by heading in a Justin Mapp free kick whistled when Morelia fouled Patrick Nyarko near the edge of the penalty area. Sergio Blancas equalized for Morelia from the penalty spot in the 58th minute, but the Fire regained the lead four minutes later when Chris Rolfe chipped a ball into the goalmouth for defender Austin Washington to head home.

Banner, who replaced Mapp in the 80th minute, added the third goal in the 89th minute. Cuauhtemoc Blanco replaced Nyarko in the second half as Coach Denis Hamlett used 18 players. Four players, including McBride, went the full 90, and goalies Nick Noble and Andrew Dykstra each played a half.

The Fire returns to Chicago Thursday for a few days of training before heading to Southern California and Arizona for the final portion of preseason. In Southern California, Chicago will train at Mount San Antonio College and plays Chivas USA a week from Saturday (March 7) at Home Depot Center.

The Fire heads to Arizona March 11 and plays its final preseason game March 14 against the Galaxy at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

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