Chicago armed with full lineup in USOC match with NY
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire play on short rest again on Tuesday, taking on the New York Red Bulls in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, just two days after all of Chicago’s regulars started in a loss at the LA Galaxy.
But despite the quick turnaround, Chicago interim head coach Frank Klopas plans on using as close to a full-strength lineup as possible against what will be a reserve-laden New York squad (6 pm ET, streamed live on chicago-fire.com).
“[We’ll play] the best team that can help us win,” Klopas said. “You saw the team that we put out in LA, now we just have to see how guys feel. ... But without any injuries, there’s not going to be any changes. This is a tournament we want to win.”
Klopas’ remarks are consistent with how the Fire have been treating the US Open Cup all season. The four-time tournament champions have played a first-choice lineup in all but one of their three Open Cup games, starting a mix of regulars and reserves in their June 28 win at third-division Rochester.
“[Winning the Open Cup] was our goal from the beginning of the season,” Klopas added. “We’re three games away from being able to reach that goal and [the players] are focused, they’re ready and we’ll be ready tomorrow in front of the home fans.”
The fact that New York won’t be playing their starters on Tuesday — Red Bulls manager Hans Backe said this weekend that he’s only planning on bringing 13 or 14 outfield players to Chicago — won’t affect how the Fire approach the match. Chicago are hungry for a result, especially considering how the team is mired near the bottom of the table in league play.
“I’m sure [New York] are going to do a good job and we always take it the same way,” Fire left back Gonzalo Segares said. “We’re going to take it seriously. We always fight for this trophy. It’s one of our goals from the beginning of the season and now we’re right there, a step from the semis and, after that, it’s anybody’s chance.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.