CHICAGO (April 19, 2022) – Chicago Fire FC fell 5-4 to Union Omaha in penalties in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Soldier Field on Tuesday night. After suffering just its second defeat in eight games played across all competitions, the Fire were eliminated from the 2022 edition of the tournament.

Coming off Saturday’s league match against the LA Galaxy, head coach Ezra Hendrickson fielded a rotated lineup that was highlighted by five players making their official debut for the Club, including goalkeeper Spencer Richey, defender Kendall Burks, midfielders Sergio Oregel and Missael Rodríguez and forward Victor Bezerra.

Team captain Rafael Czichos also made his Open Cup debut as a last-minute replacement in the starting lineup for defender Carlos Terán, who was a late scratch due to injury. Czichos provided both goals to give the Fire the lead on two occasions, converting penalty kicks in the 53rd and 115th minutes, respectively.

However, Union Omaha managed to equalize each of Czichos’ goals, including a late leveler in the 122nd minute. Directly following the equalizer, the single-elimination contest went to penalty kicks, where the visitors outscored the Fire 5-4 to advance to the next round.

NEXT MATCH: Chicago will return to league play on Saturday, April 23, traveling to face Minnesota United FC (3-2-2, 11 points) at Allianz Field. Beginning at 4:00 p.m. CT, the match will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Notes:

  • Tonight’s match was the first-ever meeting between the Fire and Union Omaha.
  • It was also the Fire’s first match in the U.S. Open Cup since the 2019 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Chicago holds a 45-17-6 all-time record in the annual competition, including tonight’s result.
  • Ten members of tonight's starting XI made their U.S. Open Cup debuts. Of the group, only goalkeeper Spencer Richey had appeared in the tournament before, having played twice for FC Cincinnati (of the USL at that time) in the 2018 competition. Richey wore the captain's armband for the Fire tonight.
  • Historically, the Fire have won four U.S. Open Cup trophies (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006), which is tied with Seattle Sounders FC and Sporting KC as the most for an MLS team.
  • Defender Miguel Navarro, Midfielder Federico Navarro, and forwards Stanislav Ivanov and Kacper Przybyłko made their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup debuts, coming in as second-half and extra time substitutes.
  • Forward Jhon Durán made his first start for the Fire and his fifth overall appearance in his debut season in Chicago.
  • Forward Chinonso Offor notched his first start of 2022 for the Fire first team tonight, having appeared once as a substitution for Ezra Hendrickson’s side and twice as a starter for Chicago Fire II.

Box Score:
Chicago Fire FC 2(4):2(5) Union Omaha (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup)

Goals:
CHI - Czichos (Penalty Kick) 53’
UO - Meza 68’
CHI - Czichos (Penalty Kick) 115’
UO - Touche 120+2’

Penalties:
Chicago: Przybyłko (missed), Czichos (scored), Espinoza (scored), Ivanov (scored), Bezerra (score), M. Navarro (saved)

Union Omaha: Kametani (scored), Alihodzic (scored), Meza (saved), Knutson (scored), Montesdeoca (scored), Acoff (scored)

Discipline:
CHI - Oregel Jr. (Yellow Card) 7’
CHI - Durán (Yellow Card) 42’
UO - Rivera (Yellow Card) 56’
UO - Claudio (Yellow Card) 61’
UO - Alihodzic (Yellow Card) 77’
CHI - Espinoza (Yellow Card) 97’
CHI - Casas Jr. (Yellow Card) 110’

Chicago Fire FC: GK Richey ©, D Espinoza, D Czichos, D Burks, D Reynolds II (M. Navarro, 105’), M Casas Jr., M Oregel (F. Navarro, 90+1’), M Offor (Przybyłko, 90+1’), M Gutiérrez, M Rodríguez (Ivanov, 90+1’), F Duran (Bezerra, 78’)

Subs not used: GK Brady

Union Omaha: GK Rashid, D Jiba, D Claudio (Touche, 109’), D Knutson, D Alihodzic, M Bruce (Kametani, 46’), M Willis (Gordon, 46’), M Brito (Montesdeoca, 90’), M Doyle ©, F Malcolm (Meza, 62’), F Rivera (Acoff, 62’)

Subs not used: GK Piedrahita

Stats Summary: CHI / UO
Shots: 19 / 18
Shots on Goal: 6 / 6
Passing Accuracy: 82.2% / 65.8%
Saves: 4 / 4
Corners: 8 / 3
Fouls: 14 / 18
Offsides: 5 / 0
Possession: 65% / 35%

Referee: Calin Radosave
Assistant Referees: Art Arustamyan, Ethan Buege
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka