CINCINNATI — A crowd of 32,287 in Cincinnati waited and waited and waited some more, but finally got what they wanted.
The host FC Cincinnati downed the Chicago Fire in penalty kicks after 120 minutes of goalless soccer.
It was all about the goalkeepers before penalty kicks with the Fire’s Matt Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt combining for 17 saves. Hildebrandt improved on his crazy good night by denying Nemanja Nikolic, Arturo Alvarez and Juninho. Bastian Schweinsteiger was the only Fire player to convert a penalty in four rounds. Cincinnati missed its first penalty, but finished the next three.
In regulation, the Fire huffed and puffed in the first half, but didn’t really create much danger in front of Cincinnati’s goal. At halftime, the Fire had 78 percent of the possession, but couldn’t manage a shot on target.
Cincinnati’s game plan to defend deep and counter was stifling the Fire’s attack. The Fire only managed shots from outside the box that all missed the target. Matt Polster had an open shot in the box following a corner kick, but it was deflected wide by a sliding defender.
The home crowd of 32,287, which is the second biggest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history, didn’t have much to cheer in the first half, but Matt Lampson made the only save of the half when he came off his line to deny Danni Konig who got free down the left side.
Both the atmosphere and the game livened up in the second half. Both teams had multiple quality chances and both keepers, Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt came up with big saves.
Lampson saved the game to deny a breakaway for Jimmy McLaughlin in added time just before regulation ended.
In extra time, Cincinnati thought it had the go-ahead goal from Andrew Wiedeman in the 110th minute, but it was called back for a close offside call. Hildebrandt and Lampson both came up with huge saves in the final minute of extra time to send the match to penalties.
On this week’s Bears Talk Podcast, we hear from Markus Wheaton as Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz discuss the training camp competition at slot receiver.
Boden and Stankevitz also weigh in on PFF ranking the Bears’ starting lineup 18th in the NFL, answer listener questions and add another layer of Aaron Rodgers envy.
Listen to the latest Bears Talk Podcast right here: