Bastian Schweinsteiger

Cincinnati Shock Chicago With Keeper Mitch Hildebrandt On Another Planet

A record-setting crowd of 32,287 packed into FC Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium to watch their club take on surging MLS side Chicago Fire in the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup. Perhaps there’s no greater barometer for the growth of the sport in America than the fact that this wasn’t just a quirky Wednesday night excursion to the stadium to watch Bastian Schweinsteiger for FCC faithful, this was a seething cauldron of tensions and daring expectancies.

FC Cincinnati And Chicago Fire Open Cup Match Becomes Most Highly Anticipated Ever

Without trying to quantify the emotional side plots that make the U.S. Open Cup fifth round meeting between FC Cincinnati and the Chicago Fire so intriguing, we can objectively say that there’s never been a USOC match (at least outside of the final) as eagerly anticipated as this one.

For starters, a record attendance was on hand to watch Cincinnati defeat the Columbus Crew in the fourth round. With over 18,000 tickets having already been sold for Wednesday night’s match, Cincinnati are going to come close to matching or bettering that number.

With Schweinsteiger In The Midfield, The Chicago Fire Are, Ahem, On Fire

In 2016, the Chicago Fire were awful. They finished last in all of Major League Soccer with 31 points from 34 games. The foundations for that pathetic season had been laid in 2015, when they finished last in MLS with 30 points from 34 games.  

2017, however, has been a different story. The Fire have already matched their point total from last season, and surpassed their total from 2015, with 18 games still to play, and they're riding an eight-game unbeaten streak in league play.

The Best "I'm A Star...Get Me Out Of Here!" Moments In MLS History

"It's a very hard league to play in. It's very physical, there's a lot of running. So there is a lot of physical work and to me, in my mind, too little play."

Andrea Pirlo probably didn't have running wind sprints in mind when he planned on winding down his career in MLS, but that's what he got. Although NYCFC play on one of the smallest fields you'll ever see at the professional level, Pirlo still chases the game more than when he played in Italy. And, of course, he's 38 now, so he's likely feeling the burn a bit more.

Pages