The U.S. Open Cup is a tradition that dates back to 1914. The City of Chicago has been around since 1837. The Chicago Fire were founded in 1997. It's a little crazy to think about but the founding of Chicago is chronologically closer to the beginning of the U.S. Open Cup than the founding of the soccer club we call our own. Despite all of that, the Fire stand on the brink of becoming the most successful team in U.S. Open Cup history. One more USOC trophy and the team will be tied with two teams that each have 5 USOC trophies of their own. That path continues this Tuesday, July 12th and you should be at Toyota Park at 7:30 PM ready to cheer on the kick-off versus the New York Red Bulls It's only 3 more USOC wins till everlasting glory.
U.S. Open Cup games at Toyota Park started out with a bang in 2006. The park had just been christened on June 11th and the first ever USOC TP game was on August 18th when the Fire defeated the Kansas City Wizards 2-0. The team went on to beat New England 2-1 on August 23rd, D.C. United 3-0 on September 6th, and faced theon October 27th. On a day that saw gusts living up to the Windy City reputation, the Fire lifted the USOC championship trophy after dispatching LA 3-1. That sterling 4-0 record has been tarnished over the years to a more modest 5-2. 2007, 2008, and 2009 witnessed Fire teams getting eliminated on the road. Last year Chicago lost at home at the hands of the Charleston Battery in PKs 3-0. In fact, the last time the Fire won a USOC at Toyota Park was on July 1, 2008 when Chicago crushed the Cleveland City Stars 4-1. It's time to change that record. It's time to get to Toyota Park next Tuesday.
The reason the game is being played at Toyota Park is because owner Andrew Hauptman worked with the front office to put forward a successful bid. The nature of hosting USOC games relies on a team putting together a package that takes venue, kick-off time, and money all into consideration. Hauptman & company outbid the international soft drink company Red Bull and have demonstrated a serious commitment to the importance of the USOC and what it means to the history of this organization. The Fire lost on the road between 2007 through 2009 in part because the team failed to outbid their opponents on hosting these crucial games. The 2006 run featured 4 straight games at Toyota Park and four straight victories. The organization has come around and stepped up to the plate. It's time to join them next week.
Purchasing Tickets/Getting Excited
If you don't have season tickets, you can call 1-888-MLS-FIRE or visit the Ticketmaster page for the game. The price points for the game are $20 for the Harlem End, $28 for Corner Kick, and $40 for Premier seating. I was just able to get a listing for two tickets in Section 127, Row 6, Seats 11-12. If you are a non-season ticket holder and have always wanted to try out Section 8, the USOC is a great game for you as they are offering $10 tickets for groups of 5 or more. Even if you only have 3 people interested, you will save $10 off the total purchase and have 2 extra tickets to invite more people. Believe me, the more voices on Tuesday, the better.
If you are a season ticket holder, the prices are obviously better. You can trade in unused tickets and future tickets in your season ticket package for tickets to this Tuesday's game. That's a price point that can't be beat. Additional tickets for Tuesday cost $10 in the Harlem End, $20 for Corner Kick, and $30 for Premier seating. Section 8 ups the ante by providing $5 beer buses that will take off from Small Bar Fullerton at 1415 W. Fullerton at 4:45 PM and Small Bar Division at 2049 W. Division and Elephant & Castle at 111 W. Adams departing at 5:00 PM. With a 7:30 PM kick-off, this is the best transportation option if you are going to be downtown or up north.
If you have already purchased tickets or need that last push to do so, Section 8 is holding a USOC extravaganza on Monday night at the Globe Pub at 1934 W. Irving Park in Chicago. Starting at 7:30 PM, all USOC championship games will be shown on the TVs. In addition the GM for the Fire during their first 3 USOC championships, Peter Wilt, will be in attendance and Section 8 President Tom Dunmore will be presenting the USOC documentary he has been working on with Ethan F and others. A sample of Tom's findings can be seen in the photos of all of the Chicago teams that have hoisted the USOC trophy. Get pumped, get excited, get to Toyota Park to support the Kings of the Cup.