NOTEBOOK: After defeat of Sporting KC, Fire know Orlando City's potential in Open Cup quarterfinals
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire will look to close out an three-games in eight-day stretch when they welcome the Orlando City Lions to Toyota Park for U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal action on Wednesday (LIVE 7:30pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com).
Unbeaten in the last seven matches across all competitions (5-0-2), the Fire are riding their best stretch of the season heading into Wednesday’s Open Cup clash.
The club should feel heightened by the fact that the team is 20-0-1 all-time in U.S. Open Cup matches played in the state of Illinois and has never fallen at the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, going 6-0-2 in eight appearances.
QUARTERFINAL TICKETS: Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC
Still, the Fire are well aware Wednesday’s opponent are the talk of the current tournament after knocking off 2012 champions Sporting KC 1-0 in the fourth round at Sporting Park on June 12.
“You can’t underestimate any opponent,” head coach Frank Klopas said Tuesday. “The Open Cup is a prestigious tournament and just the fact that you look and see them beat a team like KC -- the guys know that.
Add to their upset that Orlando City was without forward and leading scorer Dom Dwyer (who is on loan from Sporting KC and leads USL PRO with 15 goals) in the match and the Fire know Wednesday’s game will be anything but easy.
“We’re focused, we’re serious, we’re preparing from a mental standpoint to expect a difficult opponent and we’re not taking this game lightly by any means. That’s been the message everyday in training.”
Klopas and his staff have managed the eight-day stretch of games quite well up to this point, rotating a few players through the lineup in matching 2-1 wins over Colorado last Wednesday and Columbus on Saturday.
READ: Athletico Injury Report
While the squad enters Wednesday’s match mostly healthy, midfielders Logan Pause and Joel Lindpere left Saturday’s win early with injuries.
Lindpere trained in full on Tuesday while Klopas said “it would be difficult” for Pause to play Wednesday as the Fire captain is currently suffering from a lower back injury.
Tuesday’s Athletico Injury Report confirmed this, with Pause officially listed as Out with Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction.