The Fire may be less familiar with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds but they know all about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The four-time Cup champion Fire begin Cup play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Toyota Park against the USL Pro League team.
“Any chance you have of winning a trophy it’s very important,” Fire coach Frank Yallop said this week. “I was absolutely devastated when I lost here in the Open Cup final (coaching) the Galaxy. I know how it feels to get to a final and not win it.”
The Open Cup, which dates back to 1913-14, is knockout tournament open to all teams — pro or amateur — affiliated with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Yallop wouldn’t tip his hand when asked about lineup specifics, but dramatic changes are unlikely.
“We got a bit of a break so we don’t need to rest anybody,” he said. “We have a pretty good squad and it’s not any weaker if we’re not playing certain players. I’m pretty confident we’ll be fine.”
Yallop will also have a fuller contingent to choose from. Forward Mike Magee and midfielders Alex and Logan Pause are all back from injuries and training this week. Yallop said all would likely be available Wednesday.
The Riverhounds are 1-7-5 in USL Pro play but have just one loss in their last four games. The roster includes Dutch forward Collins John who played 17 games and scored three goals for the Fire in 2010.
‘(Goalkeeper coach) Aron Hyde went to scout them about 10 days ago in their Open Cup game,” Yallop said “We have a little bit of information on them … (and) we’ll be well-prepared.”
It’s the second all-time meeting with Pittsburgh. The Fire claimed a 3-2 victory in a 2001 Open Cup quarterfinal at Wheaton College.
If the Fire win, they’d earn fifth round match against Columbus or Indy 11, likely on June 25.
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