BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Khaly Thiam had just made his penalty and was headed back toward midfield when he suddenly turned around. The young midfielder, the newest player on the Chicago Fire’s active roster, went over to goalkeeper Matt Lampson, gave him a fist bump and a hug.
Whatever was exchanged between the two, in the next couple moments Lampson went on to change the course of the Fire’s U.S. Open Cup fourth round match against Indy Eleven.
The Fire goalkeeper saved the Eleven’s next two penalties – weak efforts by Nemanja Vukovic and Daniel Keller – to take the Fire from being down a shot after one round to leading in the shootout.
Thiam’s conversion, along with subsequent successful penalties from Brandon Vincent, Nick LaBrocca and David Accam, gave the Fire a 1-1 (4-3 in penalties) win over Indy in the U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round Wednesday at Toyota Park.
“As a goalkeeper you want to make one save out of five. That’s your goal when you go into a penalty kick shootout,” Lampson said. “So with us missing the first one I knew we needed more than one save and luckily had the opportunity to do it and help our team win. That’s ultimately what we wanted, we wanted to win. Really proud of the way this team showed resilience. To go down a goal in extra time and actually get another one, that does not happen a lot and that shows the character of this team so I’m really proud of these guys.”
After a 105 scoreless minutes, Indy’s Justin Braun put the visitors ahead. Braun received a pass from Sinisa Ubiparipovic with his back to goal, took a touch, turned and hit it on the half volley past Lampson.
“I think we have a strong mentality this year and for us we didn’t want to lose this game,” Accam said. “So no matter we’re one down we told everyone we need to pick ourself up, we need to win this game. And for me I needed to take responsibility so that’s what I did.”
Despite going down so late in the game, the Fire responded in the 111th minute when David Accam evened the score, cutting his past Indy defenders before finishing to make it 1-1 and eventually send the game to penalties where he eventually scored the winner.
“It felt great because, too be fair, I was a culprit, I missed a lot of chances in the normal time,” Accam said. “To get a goal felt great so I’m happy we won.”
Indy Eleven began Wednesday’s Open Cup game looking every bit the upstart league champion looking to prove something with an upset of their Major League Soccer rivals.
In the stands, the traveling supporters began in with more volume than the home crowd and on the field the Eleven, less than a week removed from winning the NASL spring season title, opened on the front foot, controlling more of a scoreless opening 15 minutes.
After holding off the visitors’ initial push, Chicago grew into the game.
Chicago’s first truly dangerous chance came on the break in the 22nd minute. Kennedy Igboananike split the defense with a ball top put Thiam in on the left side of the 18-yard box. Instead of taking a chance to shoot, Thiam played the ball across the box to Accam at the back post but his one-time shot from close range hit the crossbar.
Once the Fire found their footing, the chances started to pile up.
The Thiam-Accam connection came close again in the 30th minute. After winning a free kick on the left wing, Accam served a cross to the back post but Thiam’s header down was wide.
Accam forced a save on a break in the 34th minute. In the 35th, Cocis played a ball across the six-yard box but Igboananike couldn’t get an angle on a shot. Thiam cut in from the left and forced a save from Busch in the 38th and Accam forced a near-post save in the 39th.
Chicago ended the half with an advantage in possession and an 11-5 edge in shots (3-1 on goal), but the match was still scoreless at the break.
In the 63rd minute, Braun cracked a shot from the top of the box but it was close enough to Lampson for him to punch it away.
The Fire once again had their chances in the second half –Igboananike fired shots over the bar in the 75th minute and 80th minutes before LaBrocca missed wide in the 84th minute and Accam curled one high in the 89th – but could not finish and regulation ended scoreless.
Man of the Match
Chicago Fire forward David Accam scored the game-tying goal in the 111th minute and then made the winning penalty. He was active all night but couldn’t find the finishing touch until extra time.
Moment of the Match
Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson made saves on Indy’s third and fourth shooters in the shootout to take the hosts from trailing to in the lead. The Fire’s final four shooters all made to seal the win.
Match to Forget
Indy’s Nemanja Vukovic and Daniel Keller each missed their penalty kicks in the shootout, placing weak shots too close to Lampson.