The Chicago Fire fell 5-4 in penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw to Union Omaha in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday at Soldier Field.
It is the first time a USL League One team has defeated an MLS side in tournament history.
Fire captain Rafael Czichos scored on penalty kicks in the 53rd and 115th minutes, but the Owls answered each time. He was a last-minute replacement for Carlos Teran, who was a late scratch due to an injury in warmups.
Omaha’s Noe Meza tallied on a cross into the box in the 68th, then Alex Touche tied it 2-2 in 122nd to send the match to a shootout.
In the shootout, late substitutes and regular starters Kacper Przybylko and Miguel Navarro missed their shots. Spencer Richey made only one stop and dove the other way on the Dion Acoff’s shot, which sealed the win for the reigning USL League One champions.
It is the third time the Fire have lost on PKs to lower-division teams, with losses to Charleston Battery (2010) and then USL side FC Cincinnati (2017).
Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson opted for a youth lineup on the night, with four players (Richey, Kendall Burks, Sergio Orgel, Missael Rodriguez) making their debut for the club. Hendrickson was not happy with his team’s overall performance against a lower-division club.
“Frankly, I’m pissed off because the team that we’re trying to build here – and it doesn’t matter who’s on the pitch – I don’t think tonight we displayed Chicago Fire soccer,” Hendrickson said, according to MLS.com.
“It was just not intense enough. We didn’t play fast enough and I felt like we were too casual on the night. We warned these guys that, when you play a team like this from a lower division, they feel like they have a lot to prove. They’re gonna come, they’re gonna bring intensity, they’re gonna bring the effort and we have to match that. And I don’t think that we did that tonight.”
CHI: Czichos (PK), 53
OMA: Meza, 68
CHI: Czichos (PK), 115
OMA: Touche (Acoff) 120+2
CHI: Przybyłko (SAVED); Czichos (GOAL); Espinoza (GOAL); Ivanov (GOAL); Bezerra (GOAL); Navarro (SAVED)
OMA: Kametani (GOAL); Alihodzic (GOAL); Meza (SAVED); Knutson (GOAL); Montesdeoca (GOAL); Acoff (GOAL)
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago Fire return to MLS competition when they visit Minnesota United at 5 PM CT Saturday at Allianz Field. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
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