Earlier this year, the MLS dropped a bomb that no one expected.
Due to schedule congestion, MLS senior teams would be pulled out of the historic US Open Cup.

After the statement was met with anger and confusion, the end result was a compromise in which 8 MLS senior teams were going to participate in the tournament, and the rest could send their MLS Next Pro team, also known as the “B” or “Reserve” team.

The USOC has been crucial to the Fire’s history, as the club holds four titles, the first one being won in 1998 and the latest title coming from the 2006 edition. To say the least, it was an unfortunate moment finding out that the Fire did not make the cutoff (Based on the 2023 standings) to be one of the eight teams that could participate in the tournament. As a result, Chicago Fire II were now participating. While other Chicago area teams qualified for the tournament as well, Chicago Fire II are the only professional team.

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The first-round draw ended in a Chicago vs Chicago matchup. Local semi-pro side Chicago City SC traveled to Seatgeek Stadium on a chilly weekday night to face off against CFII. The result was total domination by the Fire, stomping on Chicago City SC 6-0. Potential first-team prospects Harold Osorio and David Poreba each bagged a goal. While it’s only expected that the professional team beat out the amateurs, it was a dominant showing that showcased the team’s ability to make a deep run in the tournament.

The second round was a much tougher matchup. Once again, the Fire hosted the match at Seatgeek Stadium on a weekday night. USL1 side Forward Madison were the visitors this time, making for a professional vs professional matchup. Poreba once again showed his goal-scoring ability, gaining his team the lead in the 11th minute, a lead that they never gave back. MLS Draft pick Jason Shokalook sealed the game in the 90th minute, punching the team’s ticket to the third round, set for April 17th.

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The draw once again has the Fire hosting in Bridgeview. The opponents are the toughest yet: USL Championship side Indy Eleven. The USL Championship is a more proven league and is considered to be a much higher level overall than the MLSNP league. Indy Eleven have had a rough start to the USL campaign so far, only having one win under their belts through five games.

On the other hand, the Fire are undefeated (At the time of writing this) in both USOC and league play. If the Fire can ride their momentum and guys like Harold Osorio and David Poreba can step up, we could see an upset for sure.

The match is set for next Wednesday, April 17th, at 8 PM. So far, all matches have been made free to go, and the weather shouldn’t be as cold as the first two rounds, so hopefully, a decent crowd and a victory are the end result of next Wednesday.
The Fire’s senior team might not have been able to participate, but that doesn’t mean the “Fire” can’t win!

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