COLUMBUS — The match went as long as it could.
After a back-and-forth game in regulation that saw each side score a goal, Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire traded goals again in extra time to take their U.S. Open Cup fourth-round game to a shootout. Everyone got to participate as the full squadron of 11 players had to take kicks to break the deadlock.
Ultimately, it came down to the goalkeepers. Fire goalkeeper Richard Sánchez scored on Crew keeper Logan Ketterer and then turned right around to stop Ketterer’s attempt, advancing the Fire to the Round of 16.
Crew SC went into the game starting all reserves, while Chicago played many of their offensive starters. Both sides struggled to find their footing early on, making many mistakes that could’ve led to goals.
Cristian Martinez opened up the scoring in the 10th minute after a bad turnover from the Fire allowed Niko Hansen to easily feed him the ball. The Columbus winger is currently serving a two-game suspension in MLS play, but was eligible for the cup match.
Nemanja Nikolic equalized at the buzzer in the first half, tapping in a perfect cross from Rafael Ramos. In extra time, Nikolic looked to end things by scoring in the 109th minute, but Adam Jahn was able to power in a header assisted by Martinez in the 114th minute. Nikolic then went and missed the first penalty attempt for the Fire, but his team converted the next 10 straight. For Columbus, it was captain Hector Jimenez who missed his penalty before it came down to Ketterer, who hadn’t taken a penalty kick in a competitive game since high school.
“I’m proud of the guys. I think they did a great job,” said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter, “You can see we were fatigued, you
could see they got tired, and it was a group that normally hasn’t played together. A lot of new faces, a lotof guys, you know, playing major minutes, basically in a competitive game for the first time this year, soI’m really proud of them. I thought they did great job, and that’s what I told them, keep your head high, you guys really showed resiliency and courage, I think, to keep going.”
Ketterer was also proud of the team, despite the tough end to the game. “if you [had] told me my first game [with Crew SC] was going to be 120 minutes and 11 rounds of PK’s I’d tell you that you were crazy. It was a great experience, tons of credit to the guys, for battling for that long, getting that goal. Going until the end, just like that Toronto game last weekend. It shows a lot of the character that is in this locker room,” Ketterer said.
The draw for the Round of 16 will take place on June 7 to determine the bracket for the remainder of the tournament.