It will be the sixth meeting all time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup between Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire. The men from Bridgeview have won all five previous contests including back-to-back games in 2013 and 2014.
The Black & Gold reached the Open Cup Round of 16 after a 4-0 defeat of the Tampa Bay Rowdies on June 15 thanks to a combination of starters and reserve players at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
On the same date, the Fire found themselves down 1-0 in overtime after a scoreless 90 minutes, but a late goal followed by penalty kick heroics from former Crew SC goalkeeper Matt Lampson saw Chicago advance 4-3 in the shootout.
As has been discussed, the Round of 16 tends to be where the Black & Gold’s Open Cup run tends to stop. Can Columbus put past mistakes behind them and really make a run at the first trophy the club ever captured? Let’s see what our staff thinks.
We have seen this before... a few times actually. I like the fact that it's a Tuesday game instead of Wednesday to give the guys more time to rest and recover for Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Then again, Bridgeview is B.A.D. but for some reason, the Crew can almost never beat them.
Chicago Fire wins in penalty kicks
At training on Monday, the players were saying all the right things about the focus of the Open Cup this year. While words certainly don’t always lead to success, I do believe these guys want to win something this season after coming so close last year. With each draw at home, the dream of returning to MLS Cup becomes that much more difficult, but four more wins in the Open Cup and Crew SC are champions. Chicago is poor and I think that’s reflected in this one. Take the number of wins needed down to three.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 1
This one is hard to predict. Not really knowing how seriously both teams are taking the Open Cup makes guessing lineups difficult, which makes guessing a result near impossible. If Crew SC send out anything resembling a "first choice" team, I like their odds. Despite a disappointing display in Bridgeview earlier this season (and really, disappointing displays throughout this season), I still believe the Crew are better than the Fire. Whatever the lineups sent out, I don't see this being a particularly wonderful game of soccer to watch, and imagine it will be decided late on.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 1
I can't even get regular season predictions right, and the Open Cup is even trickier. Playing on two days rest, what will Crew SC put on the field? On the flip side, Chicago has to play an MLS game in three days. Columbus has always struggled on the road against the Fire. At this point, until some reinforcements are brought in and the team finds some confidence, I'm finding it hard to believe they can win in less than ideal situations. So I'll go with the Fire (which means put all your money on CCSC).
Chicago Fire 2 Columbus Crew SC 1
Columbus will be greatly changed and shorthanded, but there is enough firepower to test Chicago. The offense will be rotated as much as it can be, but that still means that Gregg Berhalter will run out some combination of Ethan Finlay, Mohammed Saied, Ola Kamara, and Justin Meram. Cristian Martinez has impressed in limited action and might be ready to be a Cup star. Crew SC's defense is also shorthanded, but the Fire's offense is poor and often out of ideas. Columbus should be able to skate by.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Chicago Fire 0
Matt’s daughter was running a 105 degree fever, so here is what he had to say. "Don’t let your eight-month old play with your 18-month old. Also, Berhalter may not care about the Open Cup, but the players seem to be sick of not winning. I expect a strong showing from them tonight. They may even complete a cross or two."
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 0