Severe storms in the Chicagoland area knocked out power to over 800,000 households, as well as Toyota Park, on Monday. Because of the lingering issues at the stadium, the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls agreed to move up their Quarterfinal match to a 5 PM local start in order to get it in before dark. The Fire then proceeded to knock the daylights out of the Red Bulls, winning 4-0 to earn a spot in the Semifinals. It is their eighth all-time (tied for most), but the first since capturing the 2006 championship.
Dominic Oduro and Yamith Cuesta scored the first two and Orr Barouch added a pair to give the hosts the easy victory on the night against a defenseless Red Bulls squad.
In an action reminiscent of how most MLS coaches used to treat the US Open Cup, New York had purposely handicapped themselves before even leaving home. Only fourteen players made the trip to Illinois, and neither head coach Hans Backe nor assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen followed them. Individual development coach (and recently retired Red Bull) Mike Petke became interim coach for the match, as he was the only coach on staff at the game. The players that were sent were a mere shell of the Red Bulls roster that many know. Not only did you not see stars like Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez, or Tim Ream; you didn’t even see less familiar role players like Joel Lindpere, Teemu Tainio, or Carlos Mendes. In fact, only one player, Mehdi Ballouchy, at the match had seen the field more than 10 times this year. The other nine field players had only seen 11 previous starts all year – total (all belonging to Stephen Keel and Austin Da Luz).
On the other hand, the Fire were not out to play games. They had most of their starters play on short rest in Rochester in the last round, and meant business again in this contest. The only usual starter not on the field at kickoff was Diego Chaves. Turns out, they didn’t need him.
Chicago got started early, when in the 7th minute Dominic Oduro slotted home a goal past New York keeper Bouna Coundoul off a play from Cristian Nazarit to give the Fire a 1-0 lead. That goal would give Oduro a tally in his third straight US Open Cup.
The Fire would have many more chances in the first half, including a few shots just sailing over the crossbar. Despite the clear advantage, Chicago were unable to add to their lead and would enter the break holding a slim 1-0 edge.
The second half, however, was a different story as the Fire broke loose. It started in the 48th minute when a Daniel Paladini short corner kick led to a cross over to the far post. The cross was received by Yamith Cuesta, who headed it home past Coundoul to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Just a few minutes later, that lead would stretch to three. A pass from Gonzalo Segares into the box found the feet of Oduro, whose deflected shot ended up with Orr Barouch, who slotted it home to put the Fire up 3-0. Barouch would find one more goal for himself and his club in the 69th minute as he scored off a through ball from substitute Diego Chaves.
The Chicago Fire advance to the Semifinals of the 2011 US Open Cup, where they will take on the history-making Richmond Kickers of USL Pro. The Kickers have already defeated two MLS sides on the road (Columbus Crew, Sporting Kansas City), and will play this one away from home as well. The match will take place at Toyota Park on Tuesday, August 30 at 8:30 PM ET.
TheCup.us Match MVP: Orr Barouch
CHI – Dominic Oduro (Cristian Nazarit) 7
CHI – Yamith Cuesta (Daniel Paladini) 48
CHI – Orr Barouch 51
CHI – Orr Barouch (Diego Chaves) 69
CHI – Orr Barouch (caution) 60
NY – Matt Kassel (caution) 85
NY – John Rooney (caution) 87
New York Red Bulls – Bouna Coundoul, Chris Albright (Marcos Paullo 60), Stephen Keel, Tyler Lassiter, Mychel Jones, Austin Da Luz, Matt Kassel, John Rooney, Theodore Schneider (Sacir Hot 72), Mehdi Ballouchy, Corey Hertzog
Substitutes not used: Alex Horwath
Chicago Fire – Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko (Baggio Husidic 66), Logan Pause, Daniel Paladini, Marco Pappa (Diego Chaves 66), Cristian Nazarit (Orr Barouch 46), Dominic Oduro
Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Pari Pantazopolous, Dasan Robinson, Mike Videira
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Eric Boria, Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Abbey Okulaja