BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Mike Banner scored two goals to help the Chicago Fire outclass the third-tier Cleveland City Stars with a 4-1 win Tuesday night in round three of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Fire will face D.C. United, a 2-0 winner over the USL first division's Rochester Rhinos, in the quarterfinals of the tournament open to essentially all American soccer clubs.
Banner struck first in the 14th minute, soaring a perfect ball past Cleveland goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap.
The Fire's Calen Carr added a goal in the 23rd minute, slipping a left-footed shot through the defensive line and to the left of Gilstrap for a 2-0 advantage.
Three minutes later, Chad Barrett drilled home a penalty after Cleveland's Jeremy Tolleson took down Chris Rolfe in the box.
The USL second division City Stars made push offensively in the second half and scored in the 61st minute when Kiel McClung lobbed a high ball over Fire goalkeeper Nick Noble.
But Banner got the goal back for Chicago in the 73rd, ending any threat and ensuring the Fire would get through.
Historically, the Fire has been tough to beat in Open Cup competition. The Fire has a 26-6-2 overall record and four Open Cup titles (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006).
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press