The Chicago Fire step back into the historic Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night with a fourth round match up against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (LIVE 7:30pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com).
Here are five things you should know going into the match.
Open Cup upsets runneth over
The fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup comes to an end tonight with five matches set to take place across the country. Entering at this stage, MLS teams have been a mixed bag with four upsets occurring in this round:
New York Cosmos 3-0 New York Red Bulls
Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 Real Salt Lake
Carolina Railhawks 1 (3)-1 (2) Chivas USA
Rochester Rhinos 1-0 D.C. United 0
The dispatching of RSL and D.C. United at the first hurdle means that both of last year’s finalists are already gone. In games relating to the Fire, a nine-man Columbus Crew side advanced past Indy Eleven 2-1 Tuesday night thanks to a 115th minute penalty kick from Jairo Arietta.
Should the Fire beat Pittsburgh Wednesday night, they will host the Crew for a second straight year, next Wednesday, June 25 at Toyota Park.
The good thing for the Fire is that home teams hold a 9-0-1 overall advantage in the fourth round so far...
Fire’s U.S. Open Cup record/home record
Just in case you forgot, the Chicago Fire have won the Open Cup four times (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006), advanced to two more finals (2004, 2011) and gone to the semifinals on nine occasions – all are MLS records in the competition.
The team is an overall 33-11-4 all-time in the tournament and 21-1-1 in matches played in the state of Illinois.
They’ll be looking to make a strong step back into the competition Wednesday night after suffering their only home regulation defeat, a 2-0 decision in last year’s semifinal to eventual champions D.C. United.
Last time these teams met
Believe it or not, this is not the first time the Fire and Riverhounds have met, though it has been a while. The two sides played each other in the 2001 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, which the Fire won 3-2 in extra time thanks to a now legendary goal from Amos “Chesty” Magee.
Magee speaks about his cult status with the Fire fanbase below:
Yallop to put out strong lineup
With no MLS fixture until July 2 vs. Toronto FC, Frank Yallop told reporters this week he “wouldn’t be putting out a weakened side” for Wednesday night’s match.
He also reminisced regarding the disappointment of the last time he coached a U.S. Open Cup game at Toyota Park, losing 3-1 in the 2006 Championship match while with the LA Galaxy.
Former Fire forward Collins John returns to Toyota Park as the captain of the USL PRO side tonight. He’s joined on the Riverhounds roster by former MLS players Joseph Ngwenya and Danny Earls, while the team is coached by former Fire PDL player Nikola Katic, who also plays for the team.
BONUS: Pause could set record tonight
Yallop told reporters this week that along with Mike Magee and Alex returning to full training, that 12-year Fire veteran Logan Pause is also back and available for selection Wednesday night. Should he appear vs. Pittsburgh, Pause will move past current assistant coach C.J. Brown for most U.S. Open Cup appearances.
The pair currently sit tied with 25.