St. Louis FC makes the Fire’s stay in the US Open Cup a short one

Chicago Fire goalie Kenneth Kronholm can't come up with a headed ball by Saint Louis FC midfielder Austin Martz (77), who scores the first goal of the U.S. Open Cup game at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. St. Louis won, 2-1, to advance to the next round. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)

ST. CHARLES, MO. –  In good seasons and in bad recently, the Chicago Fire have enjoyed at least a few games in one of their biggest tournaments outside of Major League Soccer play.

Not since 2012 has the team had only a single game stay in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, and in 2018 they won three games before finally getting knocked out by the Philadelphia Union.

But in 2019, their stay was only a single game thanks to a USL opponent that made some history of their own.

A pair of scores late in the first half were enough for St. Louis FC to upset the Fire 2-1 in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Tuesday night at Lindenwood University. It ended a six-year streak of the team winning at least one game in the tournament open to any professional or amateur club that is affiliated with US Soccer.

Despite outshooting St. Louis FC 20-6, the Fire were only able to get on the board thanks to a penalty shot goal by Nemanja Nikolic in the 73rd minute. Austin Martz’ goal in the 17th minute and Guy Abend’s score four minutes later were the difference in sending the Fire to a quick exit from the tournament.

Ousted from the tournament in which they’ve advanced to at least the semifinal round 11 out of the 17 tournaments they’ve taken part in, the Fire now have a bit of a break. They won’t take the pitch again till June 22nd when the start up MLS competition again against Real Salt Lake at SeatGeek Stadium on June 22nd.

 

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