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Daniel Paladini and the Chicago Fire advanced to the US Open Cup Final eventually losing to the Seattle Sounders in front of 35,613 at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington.  Paladini started and went 85 minutes for the Chicago Fire helping control the midfield and stopping MLS Best XI Osvaldo Alonso until subbed for a striker with the Fire down 1-0.  Paladini started all but one match during the Fire's run including scoring the game winning penalty kick against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Paladini Open Cup

Paladini discusses their US Open Cup run prior to meeting the Rochester Rhinos and what it means to play in the Cup:

USOC: Rochester bound

Paladini talks familiar foe


There is no player on the current Fire roster that knows more about what the Open Cup match means to American soccer’s lower level teams than Daniel Paladini. 

Originally drafted by the LA Galaxy in 2006, Paladini didn’t appear in a match and was waived by the club at season’s end. He stepped across the proverbial hall at the Home Depot Center, playing for Chivas USA’s reserve squad in 2007 before playing eight matches for the first team in 2008. Feeling the need for more playing time, Paladini turned down an offer to stay with Chivas in 2009 and chose instead to join the USL First Division’s Carolina RailHawks. Over his two-year stay with Carolina, Paladini appeared in 62 matches, recording 12 goals and nine assists, earned back-to-back all-league selections and helped Carolina to the Second Division’s championship series, where they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Puerto Rico.

Having played five matches against Rochester the previous two seasons, the Fire’s central midfielder has a lot of familiarity with Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup foe. "Rochester is always a good test,” Paladini said Monday.  “They’re a good team that lives for the Open Cup. It’s always difficult for us to play on turf. They’ll take that as an advantage. They’ll get a good crowd and it’s a good community that supports soccer and we’re expecting a pretty full house on Tuesday.”

Like any other cup competition around the world, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup takes on perhaps more meaning to the players on the tournament’s minnow teams than the big boys. A local example Tuesday night will be when the Fire PDL side plays its first-ever competitive match against an MLS team when they visit Sporting Kansas City and even though Rochester has had plenty of Open Cup success (champions in 1999), their players will be ready to prove their worth against a bigger opponent according to Paladini.


“It’s a chance for those certain players to prove themselves. Second division guys want to come up and play in MLS one day, they take it very seriously."

Paladini’s sentiment shouldn’t be news to anyone that’s follow the Fire the last few seasons. Having last won the Open Cup title in
2006, the Fire have been eliminated by lower league sides in the early stages of the tournament three of the last four years and lost to Paladini’s old side Carolina 1-0 in 2007.

Recognizing recent result fall out of line with the team’s history in the tournament, the club has put special emphasis on the competition this year. With Tuesday’s game being the third in six days for the squad, it would be wrong to expect to see the same lineup that trotted out against New York on Sunday, though the Fire are expected to travel their best available 18 for the Open Cup clash.

“The Fire have a tradition with this tournament,” said Paladini. “We’re the MLS team with the most Open Cup championships and we’re
taking it as seriously as a league game. The Open Cup is a trophy to win and we want to take it again this year.

Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.

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