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Barouch’s brace fires Chicago past Red Bulls reserves into U.S. Open Cup semis

Barouch (ISIPhotos)

Photo by Tracy Allen/


BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe just didn’t seem to care about the U.S. Open Cup – at least not on Tuesday, when his team played the Chicago Fire in its fourth of nine games in July.

Backe sent mostly reserve players to Toyota Park for the quarterfinals of the tournament, and the full-strength Fire trounced their Eastern Conference foes, 4-0, behind two goals from Orr Barouch, and tallies from Dominic Oduro and Yamith Cuesta. The Fire will play either Sporting Kansas City or the Richmond Kickers in the semifinals.

Mehdi Ballouchy and Bouna Coundoul were the only players who suited up for the Red Bulls that could be considered starters. The most telling sign that Backe may have overlooked the game, though, was that he wasn’t even there.

Though Chicago coach Frank Klopas didn't offer any comment on the matter, the Fire players definitely had it on their minds.

"We took it personally," Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. "Before the game we talked about punishing this team, beating them 5-0."

Chicago came out firing, as Oduro barely missed scoring 40 seconds into the game, which was moved back from 7:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., locally, after storms caused power outages in the area.

The speedy Oduro opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he scored off of a Marco Pappa through ball. The Fire had chance after chance in the first half as the Red Bulls played a compact, conservative style. Chicago couldn't score again in half, though, and Ballouchy nearly tied it when his low shot squeaked past the post in in the 42nd minute.

Barouch came on in the second half and provided the finishing touch the Fire needed to seal the easy victory.

Klopas has been encouraged by Barouch's recent play, and he should figure in to a complicated battle for the starting forward spot, along with Oduro, Diego Chaves and Cristian Nazarit.

"He's a young player that is going to improve," Klopas said. "He has the right tools, but most importantly, he has the right attitude. In games he finds himself in good spots. He wins the ball, he makes good runs, he's smart. In every game he's played, he's made an impact."

The Open Cup has almost always been a priority for the Fire, who have won the tournament four times. Klopas came out with his regular starting lineup aside from defender Cory Gibbs, who missed the game with food poisoning.

Even Nyarko started after he picked up an injury in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Frank didn't want to take any chances, so he decided to play his strongest squad," Nyarko said.

The Fire have won twice as many wins in Open Cup play (four) as they have in the MLS regular season (two). Still, Oduro doesn’t think the win can do anything but good for them as they make a push for the playoffs.

"We have confidence going forward, getting into the semifinal," Oduro said. "It doesn’t matter who you put on the field, it gives you confidence."


After the game, Klopas said to expect a player announcement soon. He didn’t elaborate further. … Nyarko said he should be at about 80 or 90 percent for Saturday’s game against Portland. Nyarko was hurt Saturday when Chris Birchall took him out with a hard tackle at the end with only minutes remaining in the game. "It wasn't the tackle. I got hit pretty bad, but I fell pretty awkwardly so the bone on the outside of my knee has been hurting," he said.


  1. Dan, we must agree to disagree. We want different things, it seems. I want my team to win now, not to have won in the past.

  2. LOL. Check the standings. That’s all you got? If standings are all you care about then fine. Talk smack when your trophy case has something more in it than cobwebs.

  3. Dear Fire fans:
    I’m sorry that Hans Backe hurt your feeling. I guess your victory feels somewhat hollow. I know this was an important match. Which was not broadcast on ANY TV channel anywhere.

    If a Seattle fan tried to talk smack by noting that his club has won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup three times, would you do anything other than laugh?

    I actually applaud Backe on this one. Who needs these pretend “just like in Europe” matches?
    And the Emirates Cup is worth far more money; it’s more prestigious; it’s better play; and it goes much further in building the RBNY brand.
    FInally, Fire fans: CHECK THE STANDINGS.

  4. You are right, there really is no comparison between Bradley and Backe. I’m not a big Bradley fan, but he actually was head coach of a national team (not assistant like Backe during a disastrous Mexico spell), and in MLS Bradley won both the mls cup and open cup double in 1998 in his first year with the fire. Unless you have a thing for swedes ot notts county, don’t see how the Backe credentials stack up.

  5. Disgraceful effort from the NYRB organization.

    Makes you wonder…. do they even care about winning trophies?? It’s almost like they’re more concerned with brand exposure or something. Which wouldn’t make sense, since they are just a sports team like everyone else in the league… oh, wait, nevermind.

    It pains me to say this, but I sincerely feel bad for the supporters who travelled for this shocking performance.

  6. Hans took over at Copenhangen after Roy Hodgson led them in 2000-01 to the club’s 2nd championship. Let’s keep Backe’s “highlights” in perspective. Tell me what has he done in the 6 years since he left that dominant franchise that was already a league champion??

  7. When the fans come out for it?! Chris, try to really learn the following, it might save you years and years of suffering:

    As an unsuspecting consumer, when it’s time to make a purchase, do you go out and purchase things you’re unsure about, ones that have never been known to offer you good results, or more bang for the buck? In other words, do you spend your money buying things you don’t like or you know aren’t very good? Or do you look and see what products are out there that you’re familiar with or that have gained a reputation for having produced great results in the past, and are in your price range? There may be some people that are willing to give the new product a shot, fair enough, they are brave and willing to chance it. There may even be some go, are disappointed repeatedly, and yet that stick to that product despite failure after failure after failure. Regardless of the consumer type – I guarantee you the company producing the crappy product will try to milk those few suckers still willing to come back after betraying their trust for so long for everything they’ve got.

  8. Sorry, I’m not able to utilize the link at work.

    Will this translate to questions given to NYRB front office, Backe or are they just general statements to Twitter followers?

    Two different things to me.

  9. Metrostars played in a USOC final at Giants stadium. I was there–with barely 2,000 other people. RBNY will take the Open Cup seriously when the fans come out for it. Besides, *some* of us like seeing the reserve players in a somewhat meaningful game.

  10. The front office for NYRB is clueless. With all the years in the league, they still have no titles. If I was NYRB fan, I’d be livid at the decision to field a reserve squad in a tournament that could potentially lead to a Champion’s league slot. This certainly motivated Chicago players, who interpreted seeing a reserve squad as a sign of disrespect. Good for them.

  11. Nice Headline. I did not know you can officially send a “reserve” team to the game. Please make sure none of the “reserve” players play in an actual game that would “mean something”.

  12. I’m not going to spend my time understanding Hans Backe. However, he clearly said “I’m not sure I care about winning the MLS cup”. It was quoted all over the friggin’ place. Guy shouldnt be working in MLS. Plenty of coaches could manage to care about more than the supporters shield with the players he has. Typical of the utter arrogance that pervades New york.

  13. I’ve yet to read any “tough questions” by my favorite website’s staff in any setting.

    There’s literally just softballs thrown towards USSF and Bob Bradley’s direction regularly so I don’t expect this deBACKEal to be any different.

    If the staff can prove otherwise, I’ll admit my ignorance.

    Not trying to “have a go” but it’s something that’s a bit frustrating as a general fan/reader not to see our (very few in numbers) soccer media hold the players, managers and front-office types accountable with valid questions when the time calls for it in a number of scenerios.

    Obviously SBI and staff are professionals but from a fans amatuer perspective….grow some stones and ask/print some tough and valid questions in these situations, please.

  14. And I agree with those above who think Backe’s and NYRB’s attitude towards this US tournament is a disgrace. League should fine him

  15. There is no chance that Hans Backe would coach in the Premiership, or any European league of significance for that matter. Only in the US could the Red Bull corporation with its $$ pull this off….since 2006 Backe’s only head coaching jobs were Panathinaikos (fired after 3 games) and Notts County in English 2nd (resigned after 4-3-2 record). Only b/c of fellow Swede Sven Goran Erickson, he was then an assistant at Mexico (disaster) and Man City. What a gig to be handedan MLS head job with that recent track record.

  16. Plus his decision to play a weakened squad looks even less wise after knowing we would be playing the Richmond Kickers is the semi’s.

    Also, how is it that he is going to coach – and how are red bull players going to play – at the all star game on the 29th, and then play PSG in Lomdon the next day at 2pm? The logistics of the Emirates Cup plus the All Star game look daunting.

  17. The scandanavian cartel currently running NYRB (with massive budget and talent but very mediocre results – Philly and Seattle would die for that salary room) doesn’t care about a US Cup…shocker. If that kind of arrogance was shown by a Premiership side during an important round of the FA Cup, the fans and media would be unforgiving.

  18. Let’s not forget the constant shuffling between goalkeepers and probably destroying their confidence, the dismissal of Richie and Des, saying that DeRo wouldn’t go to Gold Cup, playing Ballouchy constantly. He needs to get his sh.t together.

  19. Keep grilling Red Bull about all this stuff Ives and company. The fans want to hear responses about if an Emirates Cup friendly is more important than a first trophy for this team.

  20. Yes, but then again the Fire have won both in the same year. NJ Red Metros have never ever won either.

    And I doubt they’ll win the MLS Cup

    And now we know for sure …

    That they won’t win the Prestigious US Open Cup this year

    Red Metros foreign leadership does not understand the American soccer mentality, you try to win everything your in and fight till the end.

    Didnt becke say he didn’t care about the MLS CUP either that the supporters shield was more important?

    And I hear from friends in Argentina that el Magico is coming.

  21. I have no problem with any team that believes itself to be in contention for the Supporters Shield or MLS Cup not putting any effort into the US Open Cup. It’s all about prioritization.

    A team like the Fire, on the other hand, should be playing to win it.


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