The Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC have reached the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It is not a surprise for either club, who have faced off with each other in this round as recently as 2014.
Overall, the Black & Gold and the Men in Red have played five times in the Open Cup with the Fire winning all of those contests.
Both teams have one victory already in the Open Cup. Crew SC defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 4-0 in the last round. That match featured a mixture of starters and reserves, as head coach Gregg Berhalter worked with all the players available as injuries ravaged the Columbus roster. Justin Meram, Cristian Martinez, Ethan Finlay, and Marshall Hollingsworth were the goal scorers on that night to help the Black & Gold advance to this game.
Things were more difficult for the Fire, who went to overtime against Indy Eleven after a 0-0 scoreline following 90 minutes. After Indy took a 1-0 lead in the extra period, Fire forward David Accam equalized in the 111th minute to force a penalty kick shootout where former Crew SC Homegrown goalkeeper Matt Lampson made two saves to help his side go through to the Round of 16.
Columbus and Chicago have met once already this season with that match coming in Major League Soccer play in mid March. Neither side could find the back of the net in that contest at Toyota Park in what was one of the less entertaining matches of the season for either club.
There will be a winner in this contest, even if it comes in overtime like it did two seasons ago when the Fire won 4-2 after completing a 2-2 regulation. Here is everything you need to know heading into this Tuesday night’s contest.
Keys to the Match
Figuring each other out: Neither team is expected to field a first-choice lineup in this one so whoever can sort out the opposition’s players best will have an advantage.
Slowing the speed: The Fire are fast up top and look to get in behind defenses. Crew SC has speed to burn on the wings and uses that to the team’s advantage. Who’s speed kills more?
Managing the minutes: The Black & Gold just played on Saturday and have a depleted squad due to injuries and illnesses. While Chicago will be more rested, having not played since last Wednesday, the Fire have an MLS match Friday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.
How to Watch
Date/Time: June 28, 2016/8:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Jesse Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL
Online: Find below