Jesse Marsch and the Fire hope to win their second consecutive U.S. Open Cup.
J.G. Hoop/MLS/

Fire out to make Open Cup history

bottom line. We're excited to be there."

Marsch has yet to appear for the Fire in an Open Cup match this season, though he is likely to be a force in the midfield in Kansas City. Another midfield general that could return to the Fire lineup is captain Chris Armas. He is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation process after a knee operation barely three weeks ago.

"(Armas) is coming along very well," said Sarachan. "We hope this is a week where he can get back, whether it's Wednesday or Saturday. We're very pleased on that end."

The return of Armas could do nothing but help the Fire's quest for success, both in the Open Cup and in league play. With only four games remaining in the MLS season, grabbing a championship could be the catalyst to propel the Fire into the MLS Cup Playoffs. Chicago has never missed an MLS postseason in club history, and getting a taste of that championship feeling could be just what their young side needs to keep that streak alive.

"I don't think it saves your season, but it certainly helps in a lot of ways," said Marsch. "I think it will help with confidence. It will already help us knowing that we have on in the bank, and now we can throw everything out there and give our best effort to win the second. Any year you win an Open Cup, you're having a successful year."

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.