With 14 MLS teams advancing past the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer announced the geographic groupings prior to Thursday morning's Round of 16 draw late Wednesday night.
The Chicago Fire left it late in their fourth round fixture, narrowly edging Louisville City FC in extra time thanks to Quincy Amarikwa's redirected header in the 116th minute. Despite finding it difficult to break down the staunch USL outfit, it was enough to propel the Men in Red to the fifth round.
[SHOP: Buy a Fire jersey]
Thursday' draw, which will be streamed live on www.ussoccer.com at 10 a.m. CT, will ultimately determine which of the three teams listed below Frank Yallop's side - a four-time Open Cup champion - will face on June 30/July 1.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 18, 2015
Charlotte Independence - the lone representative remaining from third-division USL - eliminated 2007 Open Cup champion New England Revolution in Boston in the fourth round. The Jacks, in their first year, took over USL Pro franchise Charlotte Eagles, whom the Fire defeated 2-0 on May 29, 2013 in their only meeting in the storied tournament and now reside in the Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid.
Meanwhile, the Fire could also face Orlando City SC for the first time since the solitary meeting with Adrian Heath's group at Toyota Park on June 26, 2013, in which the Men in Red trounced the former USL delegation 5-1.
The Lions, who sunk the Fire late on in their first-ever MLS encounter this season, survived a thriller Wednesday night against USL's Charleston Battery. With four penalty kicks awarded in 120 minutes, a 4-4 draw by the end of the second period of extra time forced the match into a penalty kick shootout, which saw the expansion side come out victorious by an 8-7 margin.
Finally, a sixth bout in Open Cup play with Columbus Crew SC may beckon as well. The Men in Red's Eastern Conference rivals have lost all five matches played between the two teams since 1998. Gregg Berhalter's group handily knocked out 1995 winners Richmond Kickers 3-1 Wednesday and cruised to the next phase.
For more info on the general proceedings of the Round of 16 draw, click here.