In their opening match in the U.S. Open Cup, the Fire fielded a moderately rotated side that would achieve a joyous 3-0 victory over the Chicago House with 67.4% possession and 27 total shots taken. While the result should be taken lightly, the Fire never showed any signs of giving up control over the match besides not scoring before within the first twenty minutes. It was a quality overall performance from everyone who played.
*Players are listed in the order they lined up, followed by substitutes in the order they appeared
Spencer Richey (7) – A clean sheet and two saves out of two House shots on target. Nothing to complain about here. Good to see him get some minutes!
Miguel Ángel Navarro (7.5) – Getting the start despite not appearing versus Atlanta on the weekend, Navarro had his best performance of the season, notching another assist to Kacper Pryzbyłko and generally having an error-free performance.
Wyatt Omsberg (8) – I wasn’t really familiar with your game Mr. Omsberg! A clean sheet and a backheel assist. Many fans were delighted to finally see his name back on the team sheet, and Omsberg matched that with a quality performance at center-back. Wyatt really was not tested too much in this match, and definitely not enough for me to rave wildly about his defensive work, but I would definitely recommend watching his assist if you have not seen it.
Kendall Burks (9) – First goal for the Fire? Make it two! A brace and an 87% pass completion rate (which is considerably high for a center-back) saw Burks make a positive mark on the squad despite his limited game time so far this season. This performance between the pairing of Burks and Omsberg, who are two center-backs who have not gotten adequate game-time this season, suggests that the Fire have some of the best center-back depth in the league.
Jonathan Dean (7.5) – Dean continues to prove to be quite the bargain buy for the Fire, racking up his fourth start for the Fire. Playing on the right side of a back four, Dean helped keep the House attack from creating anything of note, winning 71.4% of his 11 duels and putting in four tackles.
Mauricio Pineda (7) – Starting at the midfield pivot with Federico Navarro, Pineda helped the Fire get early control over the house which would continue through the full ninety minutes. In his 61 minutes played, Pineda engaged in seven duels and had a pass completion rate of 83.3%, but would eventually be substituted for Gastón Giménez.
Federico Navarro (7) – Likely starting in order to build some fitness after his recent return from injury, Navarro would play well in his 45-minute stint, often connecting play between the defense and the front four. Navarro would be substituted right as the second half began to make way for Javier Casas.
Maren Haile-Selassie (7) – Starting as the team’s central attacking midfielder, Haile-Selassie proved to be extremely energetic in attack, constantly running at the House defense and creating space for his fellow forwards. Maren was subbed right after halftime for Sergio Oregel.
Alonso Aceves (9) – In a bit of a pleasant surprise, Alonso Aceves would start the match playing as a left-winger. Aceves was dangerous both on the wing and as the team’s set-piece taker, ultimately grabbing an assist for Kendall Burks’ first goal. Aceves also played the initial corner for Omsberg to flick onto Kendall Burks for the Fire’s third goal, and had a combined expected assists and goals of 0.77. As the Fire’s wingers are hitting a bit of a rough patch for goal contributions in MLS, Aceves’ performance may earn him more minutes out wide instead of as a fullback. Aceves was substituted in the 78th minute for Missael Rodríguez.
Alex Monis (8) – Taking the right-winger spot, Monis kept the left side of the House busy the whole match and was unlucky to end the game without any goals or assists, with that claim backed up by his 0.98 expected assists plus goals. With all of the Fire’s forwards itching for goals of their own, a little more team play from his colleagues would have seen Monis absolutely stat-padding here. Hopefully, a full 90 minutes for Monis helps the homegrown gain some more traction for earning more time in Major League Soccer.
Kacper Pryzbyłko (7.5) – Two games in a row with a goal for Kacper may suggest his Philly form may be coming back a bit, seeing as the Polish striker is already only three goals short of equalizing his 2022 total for the Fire. Kacper had decent moments of holdup play, and seemed a little more creative than usual as well. KP was eventually subbed in the 61st minute for Georgios Koutsias.
Javier Casas Jr. (7.5) – Swapping with Federico Navarro in the 46th minute, Casas used his time on the pitch well by continuing to uphold the standard of performance set by this predecessor. Casas won 55.7% of his duels, and like most players on this list should have come out of the game with a goal or assist.
Sergio Oregel Jr. (7) – Substituting Maren-Haile Selassie in the 46th minute, the 17-year-old would occupy the Fire’s attacking midfielder spot for the second half of play. Sergio didn’t necessarily provide the offensive output he may have desired, but the youngster was still good in general. Oregel posted a passing completion percentage in the higher half of those of his teammates and was pretty dynamic as the team continued to try and make a statement by scoring more goals.
Georgios Koutsias (6.5) – Koutsias would appear in the 61st minute for Kacper Pryzbyłko, and really could have had a goal contribution or two if he had opted to pass instead of shooting every time he got the ball in the House’s six-yard box. Jokes aside, Koutsias looked solid out on the wing and was only kept from scoring because of heroics from House goalkeeper Anthony Halterman. It seems that once Koutsias gets his first goal for the club that he won’t stop scoring, but in this match a little more unselfishness could have gotten the team a few more goals.
Gastón Giménez (7.5) – Gastón would take out Mauricio Pineda in a like-for-like sub in the 61st minute, and showed the flair that enticed the Fire to give him a Designated Player contract in the first place. Giménez led the team in pass completion with 89.5% and attempted some pretty flashy dribbles on different occasions. Say what you want about the midfielder, but this season has definitely been an improvement on those of the past for the Paraguayan.
Missael Rodriguez (N/A) – Missa would sub off Alonso Aceves in the 78th minute to play as a left-winger or interchange with Georgios Koutsias as the Fire’s number nine, but in the end the homegrown did not get enough time to warrant a proper rating.
Ezra Hendrickson (7.5) – Ezra provided a good rotation between starters, returners from injury, and guys who haven’t seen much of the field yet this season, and it worked as the Fire finally saw through a 2-0 lead. Ezra lined the squad up in their usual 4-2-3-1 but opted to start Alonso Aceves as the team’s left-winger and Maren Haile-Selassie at the ten. Both choices proved to be good ones, with Alonso Aceves in particular having a tremendous impact. Hopefully Ezra can take what he learned out of this result and implement it into the team’s league play in order to get the Fire cemented into a playoff spot as early as possible.