The Crew's 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup plans were ended Thursday afternoon in a 2-1 road loss to the Chicago Fire. Columbus midfielder Konrad Warzycha drew first blood finding the back of the net from Ben Speas' set-piece service in the 22nd minute, but the Fire answered six minutes later with an equalizer from Mike Magee. Chicago eventually found the winner by way of a Patrick Nyarko far-post header from Chris Rolfe's cross from the right flank in the 78th minute.
The match was delayed 16-and-a-half hours due to severe storms throughout the Midwest, forcing Head Coach Robert Warzycha to make changes to his lineup with a home bout against the first-place Montreal Impact looming on Saturday. To make Warzycha's management all the more difficult, centerback Gláuber was forced to leave the match in the 10th minute on Thursday.
Nonetheless, the Crew showed shades of a winning side throughout the afternoon, but failed to convert on several key chances.
"It was just one of those games with two teams battling hard, and unfortunately we came out on the losing end," defender Eric Gehrig said.
Added Konrad Warzycha: "We fought hard, but the ball just didn't roll our way today."
Now the Black & Gold shifts their attention to Saturday's home duel with the Impact (7:30 p.m. ET / Univision Deportes, FOX Sports Ohio). The Crew could see the return of stalwarts Chad Marshall and Josh Williams as it looks to rebound from consecutive losses in MLS and U.S. Open Cup to the Philadelphia Union and the Fire.
"It's going to be challenging," Robert Warzycha said after Thursday's loss. "We have a couple of guys waiting at home that will hopefully be available. We will try to rest as much as possible and be ready for the game."
"We know we have win our home games and Montreal is our biggest game of the season," Gehrig echoed his coach. "They're a good team, but so are we.
"We've been in every game so far and it seems like luck's [not] been on our side, but there's no better time to turn the luck on than on Saturday."