Five things you should know about Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup game vs. Columbus

Celebrating an anniversary, the weather rules and a Bonus Game reminder

Happy U.S. Open Cup day! The tournament returns to Toyota Park for the first time in nearly two years as the Fire welcome the Columbus Crew (7:30pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com). Here are Five Six Things You Should Know…

Happy Two-Year Anniversary, Frank!

Wednesday night marks the two-year anniversary of Frank Klopas’ first-win as Fire head coach. Appropriately enough, it came in a 1-0 victory away to the Columbus Crew as Cristian Nazarit tapped in Orr Barouch’s individual effort late in the match on June 12, 2011.

“I can’t believe it’s been two years,” Klopas told Chicago-Fire.com. “For a coach, your first win is a lot like a striker scoring their first goal, you’ll never forget it. I remember the feeling we had on the day and the incredible traveling support we had from our fans. It all combined to make it a very special day for me and the team.”

Fire vs. Crew Open Cup History

The Fire have played Columbus three times in Open Cup matches, winning all three games in extra time.

The most memorable of these matches would be the 1998 Open Cup Final in which then player Klopas scored a 99th minute Golden Goal to earn the American double for the Fire in a 2-1 victory over the Crew.

Six years later the two sides met again in Columbus, Ohio, with Frankie Hejduk’s 27th minute strike taking the Crew into the locker room up 1-0. Damani Ralph responded in the 66th minute to send the match to extra time before the Jamaican striker tallied a 105th minute winner to send the Fire to the tournament quarterfinals.

In 2008 the two sides met in a thrilling U.S. Open Cup qualifier in Peoria, Ill. The Fire’s Stephen King struck in the 10th minute before a whirlwind four minutes in the second half. The Crew’s Emmanuel Ekpo would equalize in the 63rd before Andy Herron restored the lead in the 65th.

The Crew pulled things back to 2-2 through Jason Garey in the 67th, a strike that would ultimately send the tie to extra time but Herron struck with a 116th minute penalty to ensure the Fire would appear in the 2008 competition.

A Ticket Reminder

Wednesday night’s game counts as Bonus Game #2 in the 2013 Season Ticket Holder package. Please bring that ticket (not Bonus Game #1 which is good for the Club America friendly) in order to gain entry to Toyota Park.

The Weather Lowdown

So there are some storms in the forecast for tonight, conjuring up memories of a 2006 U.S. Open Cup match with the Kansas City Wizards which had to be postponed two weeks because of weather on the day of the game.

Here are the official rules on postponement and other things you should know should the game experience a delay tonight…

Per the U.S. Open Cup Handbook, every attempt shall be made to play the match, irrespective of how long the delay is. Postponements are only considered in extreme situations (i.e. severe weather or “act of God”). To determine a cancellation, the Match Commissioner will consult with the teams’ General Manager, referees, and U.S. Soccer representatives before solely being able to make the call.

If the match is postponed before the start of play, it must be rescheduled for the next day, “unless mitigating circumstances prevent this”. Keep in mind Columbus plays Montreal on Saturday night while the Fire site idle...

If the match is started and is delayed during play, the club has the approval from the Village of Bridgeview to play after 11pm if necessary. In the event of a delay, fans will be allowed to return to their cars if weather dictates. Fans will also be allowed to leave the parking lot and return if they would like.

Per the U.S. Open Cup Handbook, if a match is terminated after the first half, but before the end of the second half with one of the teams winning, the match is considered complete. If a match is terminated prior to the end of the first half or is otherwise tied at the time of termination and the termination is not due to the conduct of one of the teams, the match shall be replayed in its entirety on the rescheduled date.

If there were ever a time to make sure you scored early, it might be tonight…

Logan Pause going for a Record

On Tuesday I wrote that Fire captain Logan Pause is back to full-health and available to go from the start for tonight’s match vs. Columbus. If he appears Wednesday night, he will tie C.J. Brown for first on the club’s all-time U.S. Open Cup appearance chart with 25 matches.

How Well Do You Know Your Open Cup Trivia?

As a warm-up for tonight, take my 19-question quiz, presented by TrueCar.