It was certainly a game of two halves between the Chicago Fire and the Columbus Crew in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Then there was overtime, which ultimately did in the Black and Gold.
A depleted Crew side arrived in Bridgeview, Illinois with just 15 available players. Head coach Gregg Berhalter elected to change formation for the first time this season, playing a 5-3-1-1 as opposed to his usual 4-4-1-1 to help Columbus combat the healthy Fire.
In the early going it appeared Chicago would run away with the tie. Within the opening 12 minutes, the Men in Red had already created two dangerous chances from crosses, as well as earning two corner kick opportunities.
In the 15th and 16th minute, goalkeeper and captain Steve Clark was forced to make two big saves to keep the game scoreless. The first came on a cross to the back post, where forward Quincy Amarikwa fired a header on frame. The second was a deflected shot from midfield rookie Harry Shipp that Clark collected.
After 20 minutes, the Crew began to settle a bit. Columbus' Ben Speas appeared to have the first shot of the game for the Black and Gold, but he was deemed to have committed a foul while collecting the bouncing ball.
After 34 minutes, the Fire finally broke through on a set piece opportunity. Shipp played a dangerous ball into the Crew penalty area from a free kick and defender Patrick Ianni redirected it into the net for a 1-0 lead and his first goal for Chicago.
The Fire almost doubled their lead just three minutes later as midfielder Jeff Larentowicz played a nearly perfect ball over the Columbus defense, but Clark came rushing out to the edge of his area to collect it before Shipp could make contact.
Berhalter decided a change was need at the break, bringing on normal starting forward Jairo Arrieta for Justin Meram. The change worked wonders as the Crew's energy was noticeably higher and the team created two good looks at goal in the first few minutes of the half.
In 55th minute, Columbus' second half pressure paid off. After the Fire's Logan Pause was whistled for a foul, the ball was played into the box and sent back across by rookie Ben Sweat - making his first start for the Crew. Arrieta finished the cross with a bicycle kick that beat Johnson and leveled the match.
After 69 minutes, with the score still level, midfielder Tony Tchani played a dangerous threw ball that found Arrieta streaking towards the Chicago goal. The forward cut back towards the middle of the park and released a shot that was knocked away by Johnson.
Just a minute later Speas' shot in the box was deflected by a Fire defender right to Bernardo Anor. The midfielder didn't hesitate, as he fired a low attempt that nestled into the net for a 2-1 lead.
In the 74th minute, Sweat flew down the left side and found himself in behind the defense in the Fire box. The Columbus defender was unable to extend the lead, as Johnson came out to swallow his shot.
With seven minutes remaining in the match, Chicago found the equalizer they were looking for. Juan Luis Anangonó was the benefactor of a good low cross and some tired defending, as he was wide open to level the score.
Straight off the kickoff, second half substitute Wil Trapp found himself in on goal. With three options streaking into the box, Trapp elected to go alone, but his shot hit the post and went out for a goal kick.
For the second time in as many Open Cup games, the Black and Gold were headed for an extra 30 minutes.
Just two minutes into the overtime, Shipp found Amarikwa in the box. The forward headed the ball by Clark and gave the Fire a 3-2 advantage.
In the 97th minute, things went from bad to worse for the Crew. After frustration that Shipp was not shown a yellow card for persistent infringement, Michael Parkhurst, who checked in during the second half, kicked Amarikwa while fighting for the ball and was issued a straight red card.
After 109 minutes of soccer, Anangonó struck again, hitting a nice shot on the volley to cement the game for Chicago.
The Fire will now play the Atlanta Silverbacks in early July in the Open Cup quarterfinals, while the Crew's run once again comes to an end at the hands of their rivals.
The Black and Gold return to MLS play Saturday, as they welcome FC Dallas to Columbus Crew Stadium.