CINCINNATI (June 28, 2017) – Playing in front of a crowd of more than 32,000, the Chicago Fire and USL side FC Cincinnati needed a penalty kick shootout to decide Wednesday’s meeting in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Round of 16. Following 120 minutes of intense but scoreless action, FC Cincinnati bested the Fire in the shootout, 3-1, to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.
The result marked Chicago’s earliest exit from the historic tournament since 2012 after four consecutive years in which the Fire reached the semifinals.
The early stages of the first half were controlled by the Fire, who came within inches of opening the scoring in the 16th minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger sprang Arturo Alvarez with a pass toward the end line, but Alvarez’ final centering ball was just out of the reach of a sliding Michael de Leeuw in front of goal.
Just minutes later, a deflected ball in the 18-yard box fell to the feet of Chicago’s Matt Polster, who squared up a shot headed to the far post. The effort caught a minor deflection off a defender that was enough to send it just wide of the net.
FC Cincinnati found its footing as the half wore on and forced a 38th-minute save by Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson, keeping the game scoreless at intermission.
The chances continued to come for the Fire, including a spilled ball at the 6-yard box that was nearly sent in by Nemanja Nikolic before it was deflected by a teammate on its way to goal. At the other end, Matt Lampson was called upon to make a number of crucial saves, most notably a 1v1 stop on Corben Bone shortly before the full time whistle.
The Fire had the best chance of the first extra session, as Nikolic one-timed a floated pass by Alvarez at FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, who made a reaction save to keep the action scoreless.
The hosts thought they had found a winner in the second half of overtime when a shot by Andrew Wiedeman was tucked inside the far post, but the assistant referee had raised the offside flag.
Hildebrandt proved to be the star of the penalty kick shootout, recording saves on three of Chicago’s four attempts. Following a made shot by Jimmy McLaughlin gave the hosts a 3-1 lead in the fourth round, Hildebrandt ended the match with a sprawling left-handed save on Fire midfielder Juninho.
For the game, Chicago finished with 26 total shots, with 10 on frame, and compiled 18 corner kicks compared to seven for FC Cincinnati.
Next up for the Men In Red is a return to MLS regular season competition, with the Fire hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC Saturday (July 1). Kickoff at Toyota Park is set for 6 p.m. CT with TV coverage provided by CSN Chicago Plus.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16
Chicago Fire 0 (1):(3) 0 FC Cincinnati
June 28, 2017 – Nippert Stadium
CIN — Aodhan Quinn – MISS
CHI — Nemanja Nikolic – SAVE
CIN — Josu – GOOD
CHI — Arturo Alvarez – SAVE
CIN — Harrison Delbridge – GOOD
CHI — Bastian Schweinsteiger – GOOD
CIN — Jimmy McLaughlin – GOOD
CHI — Juninho – SAVE
CHI — Matt Polster (caution) 46
CIN — Josu (caution) 55
CHI — Nemanja Nikolic (caution) 72
CIN — Andrew Wiedeman (caution) 109
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Drew Conner (Luis Solignac 45), Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Brandon Vincent, Matt Polster, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arturo Alvarez, Juninho © , Michael de Leeuw (Daniel Johnson 102), Nemanja Nikolic
Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Michael Harrington, Djordje Mihailovic, Brandt Bronico
Shots: 26; Shots On-Goal: 10; Saves: 7; Fouls: 14; Corners: 18; Offsides: 2
FC Cincinnati: Mitch Hildebrandt, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte, Aodhan Quinn, Josu, Marco Dominguez (Corben Bone 77), Matt Bahner, Danni Konig (Andrew Wiedeman), Eric Stevenson (Jimmy McLaughlin 66), Kadeem Dacres
Subs not used: Dan Williams, Pat McMahon, Kenney Walker, Paul Nicholson
Shots: 20; Shots On-Goal: 7; Saves: 10; Fouls: 13; Corners: 7; Offsides: 1