The Chicago Fire enter their 16th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night vs. USL-Pro side Charlotte Eagles in Rock Hill, S.C. Catch the match LIVE here on Chicago-Fire.com beginning at 6:00pm CT.
Watching Tuesday's result
The Chicago Fire got to sit back and watch the first results of the U.S. Open Cup third round unfold Tuesday night. Some notes…
- Homegrown forward Kellen Gulley, who is on loan to the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks scored a late 87th minute equalizer to send their match at Real Salt Lake into extra time. The second division side eventually succumbed 3-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- The first upset of the night came as the Colorado Rapids fell 3-1 away to USL-Pro’s Orlando City after goalkeeper Steward Ceus was sent off in the 56th minute.
- The other upset came shortly after as the Charleston Battery received a 73rd minute goal from Colin Falvey before the San Jose Earthquakes Brad Ring was sent off one minute later, aiding the USL side in their 1-0 home win.
- After two sendings off to Chris Korb and Carlos Ruiz in extra time, D.C. United nearly took the same fate as San Jose and Colorado but rallied to defeat Richmond Kickers 4-2 in penalties after a scoreless draw.
- There was so much talk and traffic going on about last night’s games that TheCup.us actually crashed. Check out MLSsoccer.com for recaps of all the matches.
Now for the Fire…
Fire head coach Frank Klopas has said multiple times in the past weeks that he plans to the squad that has the best chance to win on the field tonight in Rock Hill, S.C.
One player that should be in the lineup tonight is captain Logan Pause.
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If he appears vs. Charotte, he’ll move into a tie for second all-time with Zach Thornton on the club’s U.S. Open Cup appearance list with 24.
A Fire Cup run this season could see him take over the lead in that category as C.J. Brown currently sits first at 25.
The Fire captain echoed Klopas’ sentiments about the importance of taking the Charlotte Eagles seriously this week, saying:
“It’s a big tournament and since the club’s inception we’ve tried to win it, we’ve tried to win trophies. We’ve had success in the last decade and a half and you don’t go into any game taking any of these teams lightly. The tournament’s romanticism is that it’s open to all levels of teams in this country and we remember. We had an early exit last year and I think it’s important for us to go in with the right mentality and the right focus against Charlotte.”
Chris Rolfe hasn’t scored in the Open Cup
Despite being the club’s second all-time leading goal scorer, Chris Rolfe has never bagged a goal in the Open Cup. Perhaps that’s because he had been oft-injured during many early U.S. Open Cup matches and didn’t get one in either of his first two seasons in Chicago.
If he sees the field tonight, it’ll be just his eighth tournament appearance for the Fire. If he scores tonight, it’ll mark his 50th goal across all competitions.
Mike Magee Debut? Paolo Tornaghi back in goal
Newest Fire addition Mike Magee told reporters Monday that he would like to make his Fire debut in Wednesday’s game vs. Charlotte. Klopas wouldn’t say officially whether Magee would get the nod on Monday but said “it was highly likely”.
Good thing there’s a stream of tonight’s game LIVE at 6:00pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com.
The only first-choice player missing tonight is goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who is with the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of tonight’s friendly vs. Belgium in Cleveland. Replacing Johnson will be Italian goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi who will look to earn some redemption after last year’s 3-2 extra time defeat at this same stage to the Michigan Bucks.
0-2-0 in North Carolina
Lastly, the Chicago Fire are 0-2-0 all-time in the state of North Carolina where the Charlotte Eagles are based. 1-0 defeats to the Carolina Rail Hawks in 2007 and Wilmington Hammerheads at this stage in 2009 were difficult results to swallow for sure.
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Luckily for the Fire, Charlotte is hosting tonight’s game in Rock Hill, S.C., where the team won a small piece of hardware earlier this season, taking the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston.
Tonight’s match marks the first competitive Fire game in the state of South Carolina.