The beauty of the US Open Cup tournament is that every team has a chance to win in a one game elimination format. By virtue of the 3-1 victory over Orlando City, the Fire have advanced to the USOC semi-finals on August 11 in Philadelphia. They will face is a Union team that is tied with them for the most losses (11) in MLS during the regular season so far.
Chicago took the advantage early when Patrick Nyarko was able to get behind the Orlando City back line in the third minute. He managed to track down Jon Busch's long ball over the top and beat goalkeeper Tally Hall to give the Fire the lead. In controlling most of the first half, the Fire were clearly the better side on both ends of the pitch out-shooting Orlando 8-2 while not allowing one shot on target.
Shaun Maloney returned to action for this first time since the June 16 Cup match against Louisville City. Joevin Jones was back from Gold Cup action and David Accam was electric as a second half substitute.
Despite having the better of the play, the Fire surrendered the lead in the 56th minute. Matt Polster lost his mark on fellow rookie Cyle Larin and Eric Avila's cross found him over the outstretched arms of Jon Busch for the equalizer. It was the only shot on frame Orlando City would register all night.
Accam's introduction into the match in the 59th caused all sorts of problems for Orlando City and the Fire were finally able to break the deadlock late. Matt Watson sprung Accam with a pass near midfield in the 87th minute and the Ghanaian attacker raced up the field by defenders to get a shot off the post past Hall. The rebound fell to Kennedy Igboananike for the game winner.
Jones found Igboananike over the top in the 89th to send him in 1v1 against Hall. After working his way around him, the ensuing shot found the back of the net and sent the Fire into the semi-finals.
One of the two most frequently defeated sides in MLS will have a chance to play for hardware this season, but that's the beauty of the Cup.
After the match Frank Yallop said that he was expecting an answer on the contract offer made to Didier Drogba within the next 48 hours. "We are just waiting for a decision from their side and which way he wants to go. He has choices. He feels like we have put a good pitch in and is very happy with what we have done. But again it is up to the person to choose and we will see."
Check out post game video with comments from Igboananike and Accam here.
Fire line up
Polster, Gehrig, Adailton, Jones
Nyarko (Accam 59'), Watson, Cocis, Shipp
Maloney (Igboananike 66'), Johnson (Stephens 90')
Not used: S. Johnson, Cochrane, Palmer, Fernandez