Everyone likes an underdog story, myself included.
So while I was in Chicago to watch the Fire take down Seattle Sounders FC, I made it a point to catch the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round match between local amateur side Chicago FC United and USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
While two of my friends play for the visiting Riverhounds (and, unfortunately, I use the word “play” loosely) I had to cheer for the hosts. Actually, that decision was likely made easier by the fact that both Ryan Adeleye and Gale Agbossoumonde failed to make the 18-man squad and have combined for just 132 minutes this season. The cynic in me wanted a Riverhounds defeat as much as I wanted a FC United victory.
— The Soccer Tour (@TheSoccerTour) May 17, 2017
As I experienced firsthand last season when working for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers — the last remaining non-MLS side in the tournament’s 2016 edition — the underdog has a lot more to play for in cup ties. So despite the gap in quality between the teams, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that FC United came out of the gates looking to take the game to their opponents.
Playing with freedom and almost what looked like naivety, the eagerness of the youngsters paid off. Inside of 20 minutes the amateur side got on the board. And when Pittsburgh equalized early in the second half, FC United stepped up their game once more to score the go-ahead goal.
Desperate to equalize, the Riverhounds pushed forward. From their almost careless approach I had a feeling we’d see a goal at the other end. Sure enough, in stoppage time Pittsburgh were caught on a counter attack as FC United guaranteed their progression to the next round.
— The Soccer Tour (@TheSoccerTour) May 18, 2017