Trailing 2-0 at halftime, it looked as though the Chicago Fire were going to miss the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time in team history, but a pair of second half goals and a San Jose shot off the crossbar in sudden death penalties kept the perfect appearance record intact. The rally by the visitors dashed the Earthquakes’ hopes of returning for the first time since 2005.
Twenty-year old Ellis McLoughlin gave the home side the advantage 14 minutes into the contest and Justin Morrow doubled the lead two minutes before the break for San Jose. Chicago’s comeback was kicked off by 19-year old Israeli Orr Barouch in the 61st minute with the Fire finding the equalizer from Colombian Yamith Cuesta in the 77th.
With the momentum in the Fire’s favor, overtime saw the advantage flip back to San Jose eight minutes in with the direct red card send-off of Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares, apparently for making contact of some sort with Steven Lenhart’s face. The Earthquakes, however, were unable to capitalize on the extra man and watched as the clock ticked toward penalties.
After the opening salvos were buried by Chicago’s Marco Pappa and San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, Logan Pause sent his shot high and Sam Cronin smacked his attempt off the crossbar. Six consecutive conversions sent the tiebreaker to sudden death, where it would be decided in the sixth round. Chicago’s Daniel Paladini found the top left corner and watched as Trinidadian Scott Sealy sent his shot off the crossbar.
It was a bit of déjà vu for the Chicago and San Jose. In the Fire’s first-ever Open Cup match versus an MLS opponent in the tournament quarterfinals during their inaugural 1998 campaign, the Fire prevailed in penalties 4-3 after a 1-1 draw at the Cotton Bowl. They would go on to defeat Dallas and Columbus en route to the first of their four tournament titles.
Chicago has plenty of extra time experience when it comes to Open Cup related fixtures, going to overtime 14 times with a record of 7-3-4. The club is 3-1 in penalty kick tiebreakers, advancing in 10 of the 14 contests. San Jose meanwhile, is 2-1-6 in similar matches and has a lengthy, unfortunate history at the spot with only two victories in six tiebreakers.
The game could have taken a completely different path as Chicago’s Gaston Puerari, a standout in the previous qualifier, flashed a shot wide of goal just six minutes into the game.
Eight minutes later though, McLoughlin opened the scoring from the top of the penalty area after Cronin had dispossessed Paladini. The former US U17 international was making his first start for the club after entering the Portland qualifier in the 111th minute for his MLS debut. The youngster, whose shot deflected off Cuesta’s foot for the goal, has been hot of late, also scoring twice a week ago in a reserve match against Santa Clara University.
Another steal by the feisty Earthquakes created another immediate opportunity for the hosts in the 16th minute as Wondolowski put a shot on goal that forced a save from Sean Johnson.
A miscommunication by the Fire in their own half allowed San Jose another opportunity just before the break that proved fruitful. Steven Beitashour was able to acquire possession and send a through ball on to Anthony Ampaipitakwong, who delivered it to McLoughlin for a chance at a second on the night. Johnson made the stop, but allowed the ball to come out directly to Morrow for the easy three-yard finish in the 43rd minute.
Chicago got off to a similar start to the second half as they did the first as Pappa sent a shot from the top of the box wide of the goal in the 54th minute.
Hope at making a comeback was secured just after the hour mark when Segares squared a ball from the left side to Barouch, who sent a left-footed effort from the top of the area kissing off the inside of the right post and into the back of the net to slice the deficit in half. A new addition to the club, the Israeli-born striker joined the club after helping lead the Tigres U20 team to a runners-up finish in the Mexican Clausura.
A give-and-go between Wondolowski and Sealy nearly restored the two-goal advantage for the hosts only to see Wondolowski’s shot stopped by Johnson in the 71st.
Five minutes later though, the Earthquakes found themselves under fire. Dominic Oduro squared a ball to Christian Nazarit, who had an open look at goal denied by San Jose defender Bobby Burling. Less than a minute later though, the ball was sent into the fray from the corner, allowing Cuesta to get his boot on it and slip it past Weber, who erred on the play.
Four minutes into stoppage time Sealy made one final effort for San Jose only to see Johnson make the save seconds before the whistle to end regulation.
Eight minutes into extra time San Jose’s Khari Stephenson received a yellow card for a harsh tackle, but amidst the confusion afterword Segares would receive the surprising red card, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
The rest of overtime was rather uneventful as San Jose’s Stephen Lenhart turned and let off a shot in stoppage time of the first session that missed. Shortly after play resumed Nazarit fired a 40-yard free kick toward goal that forced Weber to tip it over the goal for a Fire corner. Pappa had the final chance for Chicago in the 111th minute, sending into the hands of Weber.
SJ – Ellis McLoughlin 14
SJ – Justin Morrow 43
CHI – Orr Barouch (Gonzalo Segares) 61
CHI – Yamith Cuesta 76
PENALTY KICK TIEBREAKER
Chicago (5): Pappa goal, Pause miss (high), Nazarit goal, Barouch goal, Oduro goal, Paladini goal
San Jose (4): Wondolowski goal, Cronin miss (off crossbar), Corrales goal, Stephenson goal, McDonald goal, Sealy miss (off crossbar)
SJ – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 37
CHI – Yamith Cuesta (caution) 39
CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 63
SJ – Brad Ring (caution) 69
CHI – Orr Barouch (caution) 69
CHI – Bratislav Ristic (caution) 74
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (caution) 89
SJ – Khari Stephenson (caution) 97
CHI – Gonzalo Segares (ejection) 98
Chicago – Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba (Dominic Oduro 46), Yamith Cuesta, Dasan Robinson (Cory Gibbs 88), Gonzalo Segares; Bratislav Ristic, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa; Cristian Nazarit, Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46)
Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Corben Bone, Baggio Husidic, Pari Pantazopoulos
San Jose – Andrew Weber; Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales; Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Steven Lenhart 83), Sam Cronin, Brad Ring (Khari Stephenson 71), Justin Morrow; Ellis McLoughlin (Scott Sealy 46), Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used: Jon Busch, Bobby Convey, Matt Luzunaris, Ike Opara
Referee: Daniel Radford
Referee’s Assistants: Mike Kampmeinert, Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Weather: Clear and 62 degrees