The month of May is one day away which means the U.S. Open Cup begins just a week from today.
The 68-team field for the 100th edition of the historic tournament is set, with the play-in round commencing next Tuesday with two matches.
Then every Tuesday throughout the month of May will be a U.S. Open Cup date, with the Fire and Major League Soccer sides entering in the tournament's third round on May 28.
Coming off a difficult extra time loss to the Michigan Bucks at the first hurdle last season, there's no doubt that the four-time tournament champions Chicago Fire are chomping at the bit to get back to Open Cup play.
Be sure to keep up with this year's tournament via the excellent coverage provided by Josh Hakala and his team at TheCup.us
A quick look back on the Fire's four U.S. Open Cup titles:
Our MLSsoccer.com friends Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle give their view on how Saturday's game vs. Montreal will play out...
Some of the best tweets in the lead-up to, during and after Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew...
We got some great news today that Saturday's match vs. Columbus will be carried LIVE and for FREE on MLSsoccer.com as the el Jimador Tequila MLS Stream of the Week.
A few notes in order to watch on Saturday...
* The stream is available only at MLSsoccer.com and fans must use a device with Adobe Flash player.
* The stream is available to fans inside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
* An MLS Network account is required. Register at MLSsoccer.com or at the top left of Chicago-Fire.com
Saturday's game will be carried on television in Chicago with a carrier announcement to come on Thursday.
There are many words to express what the Trib's Sports Section did today...
To the people of Boston and our friends at the New England Revolution, we're with you.
As they do every week, MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle give their view on Sunday's clash between the Fire and Dynamo...
Maicon Santos’ two-goal substitute performance had me thinking this week, how often have Fire players come off the bench to tally a brace?
The Answer: It’s a very rare thing… Santos’ effort on Sunday was just the fifth time (or .008%) in the club’s 573 all-time competitive matches that a player has scored two goals off the bench. It was just the third time in MLS league play and first since 2006.
Orr Barouch - Chicago Fire 4, New York Red Bulls 0 - U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal (7/12/2011)
In a memorable match that was moved up to 5pm because of a massive power outage at Toyota Park, Barouch came on at halftime for Cristian Nazarit with the Fire already leading 2-0. It took the Israeli youth international just five minutes to make it 3-0 before closing the scoring off a feed from Diego Chaves in the 69th minute (WATCH).
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Barouch led the side with three goals in Open Cup play on the way to the tournament final that year.
Chad Barrett – Chicago Fire 2, Real Salt Lake 1 – MLS Regular Season (6/28/2006)
Throughout much of his first two seasons with the Men in Red, Chad Barrett was an oft-used second half attacking sub. In this match, he repaid Dave Sarachan’s faith in him, entering for captain Chris Armas in the 68th minute before heading home the equalizer off a cross from Justin Mapp in the 80th minute (WATCH).
Five minutes later, Mapp would slot Barrett through the RSL backline before the second-year striker put slid his effort past Scott Garlick and in off the post for the winner (WATCH).
The effort was the first of two braces for Barrett during his time with the Men in Red, the other coming in a 5-1 victory at Red Bull on May 25, 2008.
Dipsy Selolwane – Chicago Fire 4, San Juan Jabloteh 0 – CONCACAF Champions Cup (3/17/2004)
With the team coming off a somewhat shocking 5-2 first leg defeat away to the Trinidadian side, the Men in Red returned to Soldier Field needing four goals in the second leg in order to advance.
Though Damani Ralph took the aggregate score to 5-3 just before halftime, Selolwane entered for current Fire captain Logan Pause to provide more offense after the break. The Botswanan international’s long-range effort in the 51st minute brought the Fire to within a goal before his empty net finish 11 minutes later brought the score level.
Selolwane proved to be Man of the Match when he set up Chris Armas’ 90th minute series winner to push the Fire past Jabloteh 6-5 on aggregate and into the Champions Cup semifinals.
Interestingly, that performance was the only brace of Selolwane's Fire career, though he did come up with back-to-back game-winners in the team's run to the U.S. Open Cup final that season.
Hristo Stoitchkov – Chicago Fire 7, Kansas City Wizards 0 – MLS Regular Season (7/4/2001)
Of course the Mad Bulgarian was the first to do this with the Fire and of course it came in the Fourth of July Massacre.
With the team already leading 4-0, there was little need for Stoitchkov to come on in the 78th. One minute after entering the match, Piotr Nowak scored his second to take the game to 5-0 and then Stoitchkov proceeded to drive the dagger in tallying in the 83rd and 88th minutes to exact revenge for the Fire’s MLS Cup loss to Kansas City the year before (WATCH).
Like Barrett, Stoitchkov tallied two braces while with the Men in Red. The first came in his debut appearance, a 4-2 Opening Day loss to the Dallas Burn on March 18, 2000.
Following Sunday's 3-1 win over New York the two club's reserve sides also played. With a lot of injuries, the Fire were forced to field five Academy and one guest player in what we'll call a character-building 6-1 defeat...
I'll be honest, there wasn't much pretty about the game but Fire rookie midfielder Yazid Atouba did reward the fans that stuck around with the beautiful strike. Que Golazo!
Maicon Santos' 83rd minute goal on Sunday was big for more than one reason. Yes it was the game-winner. Yes it got the 899 minute scoreless monkey off his back but it also stands as the 700th regular season goal in Chicago Fire history.
See below the list of other Fire centurions... Ironically enough, three of the club's seven centurion goals came against New York...
|100||Josh Wolff||8/22/1999 4-3 L (SO) at Dallas|
|200||David Hayes||6/30/2001 3-1 W vs. MetroStars|
|300||Damani Ralph||7/19/2003 3-1 W vs. New England|
|400||Thiago||8/10/2005 3-2 L vs. Kansas City|
|500||Chad Barrett||5/25/2008 5-1 W vs. New York|
|600||Peter Lowry||10/8/2010 vs. Columbus|
|700||Maicon Santos||4/7/2013 vs. New York|
Now, what could be better? Maicon's 83rd minute winner is also up for MLS Goal of the Week. VOTE HERE or Text G5 to 22442!