When: Wednesday June 18th at 7:30PM
Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
Where to Watch: Toyota Park Stands, Streaming live on Chicago-Fire.com
Hey, What Happened?
Back on May 21st the Chicago Fire were drawn to face the winner of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and RWB Adria match in the third round of the US Open Cup. The Fire, as with all other MLS teams, enter in the fourth round of this tournament. Lest we forget, the Fire are four-time Open Cup champions, a record for teams in the MLS era.
The Riverhounds began cup play in the second round with an easy victory over the New York Red Bulls U23 squad. They were next able to beat the Croatian-American ametuer side from Chicago by a scoreline of 3-2 after extra time to setup a date with the Fire at Toyota Park. This present run matches the best ever for Pittsburgh, reaching this stage last in 2003.
Hey, What's Happening?
Tomorrow evening, the Fire host last-place USL Pro side Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a 4th round US Open Cup matchup. The two teams have met once in the US Open Cup - back in 2001, when the Fire were able to beat the Riverhounds with a legendary goal the 111th minute from Amos "Chesty" Magee. For the Fire, this will be their first competitive match since June 6, while the visitors last played a home scoreless draw to Harrisburg City on the 14th .
Hey, What Should Happen?
The Fire should be able to control this match. This would be a great match for the Fire to work on tightening up their defense as long as they can keep former Fire player, Collins John, in check. There is no doubt that he has the skills to compete in some of the toughest leagues in the world but he just doesn't have the work rate to go along with it - but might he summon some extra oomph for his former club?
He is not the only player to worry about as the Riverhounds have other players with MLS experience such as Joseph Ngwenya, Jose Angulo, Anthony Obidai, and the Houston Dynamo quartet of loanees Jason Johnson, Anthony Arena, Bryan Salazaar, and goalie Michael Lisch. This is not going to be a picnic for the Fire but instead will require more work in pressing their opponents and creating quality chances than seen in typical 4th round matches.
Hey, What's Going to Happen?
I would expect Frank Yallop to take this game seriously as the next league game for the Fire isn't until July 2nd. With the exception of a few regulars out due to minor surgeries, I would expect all starters to play some part in this match.
One player I would expect to see get minutes is Mike Magee, who is coming off an extended injury layoff. Magee will look to build off of his impressive 2013 Open Cup campaign (two goals and an assist in three matches). There will be the few reserves in the starting XI but I expect that since there is no fixture congestion like in previous season all starters should get playing time in order to stay in game ready condition.
With that said and with what I would hope to be a strong starting XI, the Fire should win this one by a scoreline of 3-0. Will another cf97 player go down in the folklore of the Fire, or go down in injury? Will the Fire go on to recapture a title they haven't had since 2006 or falter once again? The trophy cabinet is getting a little dusty now.