The Chicago Fire, four-time winners and one-time runners up in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, have advanced to the final of the competition for the sixth time in their history, thanks to a 2-1 victory over USL Pro side Richmond Kickers at Toyota Park. The Kickers, a Division 3 club, have been a giant killer of sorts in both the past and the current addition of the cup, but couldn't defeat a fourth MLS side in one year.
Unsurprisingly, the Fire dominated throughout the first half. They created a number of chances from open play - most of them coming through Patrick Nyarko - but were unable to manage a clear-cut scoring chance in the opening 30 minutes, despite their dominance. The Fire finally found their breakthrough in the 32nd minute, thanks to a penalty drawn by - surprise! - Nyarko. Sebastian Grazzini stepped up and converted, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
They would strengthen that lead in the 61st minute, thanks to a great curling finish from Dominic Oduro. It was a nice goal, but it was especially impressive coming from a player who is thought of as a glorified hard-working track star by many fans for his lack of technical skill or tactical acumen, at least compared to other high-level professional footballers.
William Yomby scored a headed goal in the 68th minute for the Kickers, putting a scare into Chicago, but the home side held on for the victory. They now await the winner of the other semifinal between the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas. If Dallas wins, the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final will be held at Toyota Park in Chicago. If the Sounders win, the final will be held at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.