Whether Hans Backe likes it or not (I'm guessing he doesn't), the New York Red Bulls have a midweek game for the third week in succession, as they take on the Chicago Fire this evening at Toyota Park in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. A win would put the Red Bulls into the semifinals for the first time sine 2003, when New York got all the way to the Cup Final.
Unfortunately, Backe decided some weeks ago to play a second- and third-string team, made up mostly of rookies.The only players with significant league experience are goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, right back Chris Albright (who features for the first time this season), and midfielder/striker Mehdi Ballouchy, who will wear the captain's armband. Backe didn't even send enough substitutes to fill out the New York bench. Ain't it wonderful.
By contrast, Chicago will send out a number of regulars, including goalkeeper Sean Johnson, midfielders Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa, as well as striker (and former Red Bull) Dominic Oduro.
Red Bulls: Bouna Coundoul, Chris Albright; Stephen Keel, Tyler Lassiter, Mike Jones; Teddy Schneider, John Rooney, Matt Kassel, Austin da Luz; Mehdi Ballouchy (C), Corey Hertzog
Subs: Alex Horwath, Sacir Hot, Marcos Paullo
Chicago: Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause (C), Patrick Nyarko, Marco Pappa, Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit
Subs: John Conway, Pari Pantazopoulos, Dasan Robinson, Baggio Husidic, Michael Videira, Orr Barouch, Diego Chaves
You can find Fire perspective at A Hot Time in Old Town.
Kickoff is at 6 PM, and the game will be streamed live on Chicago's website.