A potential I-55 rivalry in Major League Soccer is looking less likely after St. Louis voters didn't pass a stadium bill that was a key part of a push for an expanion team, but the U.S. Open Cup has come to the rescue.
The Chicago Fire will start its 2017 U.S. Open Cup campaign against Saint Louis FC, the Fire's USL affiliate last year.
St. Louis beat PDL club Michigan Bucks 2-1 in Pontiac, Mich., on Tuesday to advance to the competition's fourth round against the Fire. The Fire will head to World Wide Technology Soccer Park in suburban Fenton, Mo., for the game on June 14.
The June 14 date will slide in between a Fire home game against Atlanta on June 10 and a trip to New England a week later. This will be the first time the Fire will play a team from St. Louis.
Last year, a number of Fire players went to St. Louis to play on loan. Patrick Doody, Collin Fernandez and Drew Conner all spent extended time with the Missouri club. Fernandez is back on loan this year with the Fire's new USL affiliate, Tulsa.
St. Louis is 3-3-3 in the USL this season.
To advance, St. Louis got a pair of first half goals from Sebastian Dalgaard, but the Bucks got back into the game with an early second half goal. St. Louis held on, but not before the bizarre dome in Michigan (where the Fire lost a cup game in 2012) played a small part: