SEATTLE, Wash. -- There were few words to describe what a 6-0 defeat in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal felt like as the Chicago Fire walked out of Starfire Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
Prior to the game, the specter of hope and belief were there despite high odds stacked against the Fire. Namely, missing reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee due to suspension, never having beaten Seattle and the Sounders having never lost at home in the competition.
None of those factors made the result any easier to swallow post-game, however.
“I’m stunned with the result,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. “Seattle were better in every department and it ends up in a rout. In a semifinal of anything, it’s not good.”
The 6-0 rout was made even more disappointing following the team’s strong defensive performance in a 1-0 home win Sunday vs. New York.
“It’s where we’re at," he continued. "We have a great result at home against New York and our next game we get beat 6-0. Inconsistent would be a word I use, it was just shocking to have that different of a performance. It’s not good.”
Recognizing the club’s history in the Open Cup with four titles and its meaning to the Fire supporter base, Yallop placed heavy emphasis on the competition from the start of his tenure leading the side at the end of 2013.
The team followed suit, navigating three wins at home and on the road to appear in their MLS-record 10th Open Cup semifinal.
Following Wednesday night’s game however, Yallop expressed regret over the way the team exited the competition.
“I want to apologize to our supporters for that performance – those that traveled to the match and those that watched at home in Chicago. It flat out wasn’t good enough for them and we as a team shoulder the blame.”
Win as a team, lose as a team and move on as a team should be the mantra for the Fire with another match on Saturday at Montreal. With the side now out of the Open Cup, the team turns its focus to the remaining league campaign, where the Fire sit just two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We have to put the disappointment behind us and pick ourselves up quickly,” Yallop said. “The Open Cup is gone but we’re in a decent position to make the playoffs. We must focus on that.”