A 54th-minute goal by Nemanja Nikolic sent the Chicago Fire on to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup, giving the visitors a 1-0 win over Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday night, before a record Cup crowd of 41,012.
The first half included several solid attempts to open the scoring — with perhaps the best being Bastian Schweinsteiger getting a far-post shot off on a corner kick, that Atlanta 'keeper Alec Kann was just able to save.
It took less than 10 minutes of second-half action for the Fire to find their way on the board. On a counter involving the entire Fire front four, Schweinsteiger led Luis Solignac in front of goal with a pass, and Nikolic finished from Solignac's cross. Despite some late-game chances to either widen or close the margin, including a keenly-curled Aleksandar Katai shot that went just wide in the 84th minute, and valiant efforts from a lively-all-match Hector Villalba, the match ended on the 1-0 margin Nikolic provided.
In the upcoming quarterfinals next month, the Fire will next face Louisville City FC, who were 2-1 victors over Nashville SC in their Round of 16 match.
- 54' – CHI – Nemanja Nikolic | WATCH