PONTIAC, Mich. – The Chicago Fire rallied from a goal deficit as Corben Bone and Federico Puppo tallied two unanswered goals, but the Fire’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run was cut short as the Michigan Bucks came back from down 2-1 and forward Nermin Crnkic tallied a 93rd minute goal in extra time to defeat the Fire 3-2 and eliminate the four-time champions from the 99-year old tournament at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich. Tuesday night.
Playing indoors for the first time in Open Cup history, the home side used a capacity crowd and the unique conditions to its advantage. The Bucks capitalized on the surroundings early, finding goal in the 9th minute when Hunter Jumper slipped on the field turf trying to corral Tommy Catalano. Unencumbered by the challenge, Catalano broke free on goal and fired a low, driven effort past Fire ‘keeper Paolo Tornaghi to give the Bucks a 1-0 lead.
The Fire would find the equalizer later in the half. On a throw-in, Puppo collected the ball before finding Bone open at the top of the 18. The Generation adidas product ripped his shot into the back of the net to even things up at 1-1 on 28 minutes.
Knotted at the break, it would be the Bone – Puppo combo that would give the Men in Red a 2-1 lead at the start of the second interval. Bone slyly picked up an errant pass and the midfielder and was quickly into the offensive third, feeding Puppo who hammered his shot inside the right post to put the Fire up in the 51st minute.
The Fire lead would last until the 79th minute when the punchy Bucks team pulled level. Crnkic chased down a ball deep on the left flank before working his way toward the 18-yard box. The Bucks forward drifted a lofted cross to the back post where Nathaniel Boyden headed the ball home to tie the game with 11 minutes remaining in regulation. The 2-2 score line held and the Fire were left to battle it out in extra time.
Playing in their fourth match in 10 days, the Fire would be undone in the opening moments of the overtime as Crnkic’s work rate paid dividends for the PDL side. Darting up the left flank, the Bucks striker created space before slotting a powerful shot towards the back post. Tornaghi got a hand to it, but it was not enough as the ball bounced over his gloves and in to goal sending elation throughout the Ultimate Soccer Arenas.
The Fire will resume MLS action when they take on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. CT live on CSN and 97.5 ESPN Deportes. The Fire return to Toyota Park when they welcome the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, June 17 at 4:00 p.m. CT live on NBC Sports Network and 97.5 ESPN Deportes. Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.
- Fire midfielder Corben Bone scored his first professional goal.
- Federico Puppo opened his account with his 51st minute strike.
- The Fire were eliminated in the third round for the fifth time and move to 5-5-1 in third round matches. All five losses have come at the hands of lower division opponents.
- The Michigan Bucks improved their Open Cup record at home to 8-4-1.
- The Fire were one of seven MLS teams (as of press time) to lose to lower division sides on Tuesday night.
Chicago Fire 2 – 3 Michigan Bucks (OT)
Chicago Fire: Paolo Tornaghi; Tony Walls (Dan Gargan 84’), Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 49’), Hunter Jumper; Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini ©, Corben Bone; Rafael Robayo; Federico Puppo, Orr Barouch (Dominic Oduro 84’)
Substitutes not used: Sean Johnson, Gonzalo Segares, Victor Pineda, Patrick Nyarko
Michigan Bucks: Adam Grinwis; Kevin Cope, Seby Harris, Chad Barson, Stew Givens; Nate Boyden, Scott Caldwell (Steve Miller 75’), Tommy Catalano, Simon Omekanda (Joey Dillon 64’); Nermin Crnkic, Kenny Uzoivwe (Zach Steinberger 35’)
Substitutes not used: Sean Teepen, Kofi Opare, Bim Ogunyemi, Anthony Grant
MICH – Tommy Catalano (Kenny Uzoigwe) 9’
CHI – Corben Bone (Federico Puppo) 28’
CHI – Federico Puppo (Corben Bone) 51’
MICH – Nate Boyden (Nermin Crnkic) 79’
MICH – Nermin Crnkic (Tommy Catalano) 93’
CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 25’
MICH – Nermin Crkic (caution) 29’
Referee: Britt Maier
Assistants: Jason White, Davide Shaki
Fourth Official: Donovan Noocha