The Fire have battled all season in the one-game elimination playoffs for this Cup. As an MLS team, the Fire had byes in both of the first two rounds of the tournament. Surprisingly, the Chicago Fire’s amateur developmental club in the Premier Development League also made it to the Third Round, but fell short against Sporting Kansas City. The Fire started play in the tournament this year when they defeated the Rochester Rhinos of the USL Professional Division by a score of 1-0 to advance to the Quarterfinals to face the New York Red Bulls. Coincidentally, the city of Bridgeview had a power outage, the Fire’s Toyota Park included. As a result, the Fire offered free admission to the game and a refund or free tickets to another game to anyone who had ordered tickets for the match. The Fire went on the win the match by a lopsided score of 4-0. The Fire would face another USL-Pro team in the Semifinals, the Richmond Kickers, but they were worthy of being taken seriously. The Kickers had already eliminated two MLS teams, the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City. However, the Fire came out victorious 2-1, as the Kickers scored to only goal against the Fire in the tournament to date.
Now, the Fire face their biggest challenge yet, the notorious Seattle Sounders FC in the Finals, in front of a crowd that will, more likely than not, exceed 40,000 at CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) Field in Seattle, home of both the Sounders and Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. The Sounders have the second-most points in Major League Soccer this season, but the Fire have been the hottest team in the league as of late and have also won the Cup 4 times since their inception in 1998, the most of any MLS team.
The starting line-ups have yet to be announced, but look for the Fire’s young star Domonic Oduro, along with the likes of Patrick Nyarko, Marco Pappa, Pavel Pardo, and (if healthy) Sebastian Grazzini in front of the Fire’s rising star and U.S. National Team member goalkeeper, Sean Johnson.
You can catch the game Tuesday, October 4th, at 9:00 PM CDT on Fox Soccer Channel.
You can join us in our In-Game Thread in the CCS Fire Forum.