CHICAGO — One of the great things about the longest-running soccer tournament in America is the opportunity it gives to any club to be a champion, amateur or professional.

That’s the case for a semi-professional team in Chicago, which is getting its chance to face the team in town that plays at the highest level in North America on Wednesday.

Chicago House AC, a club in the Midwest Premier League, will face Chicago Fire FC in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

This comes after the House got through three qualifying rounds late last year and then picked up two victories in the main US Open Cup tournament over the last month.

“It’s special for the guys who have been with the club since the beginning, to see if progress forward when last year there was so much doubt with what would happen with the club,” said manager Matthew Poland of the opportunity to face the Fire on Wednesday. “For the players, it’s an amazing opportunity. You can’t ask for a bigger stage to showcase yourself, to showcase your abilities, to showcase your skills.”

This comes in the third year of the franchise, which initially began in the fully professional National Independent Soccer Association in 2021. WGN News Now profiled the club’s mission as not only a competitive team but also a community organization in their first few months of play.

In 2022, the club moves to the semi-pro/amateur Midwest Premier League, which has 36 teams across seven states.

“It’s a great accomplishment for the club, to say the least,” said captain AR Smith, a Chicago native who has been with the club since it started playing in 2021. “I think it means a lot because where we started to where we are now, this type of game, recognition will give us a stepping stone back to where we want to be as a club.

“So I think it’s a really big deal.”

Chicago House AC got to this moment thanks to three victories in the qualifying tournament late in 2022. After a first round bye, the club defeated 1927 SC of Fort Wayne, Indiana in penalty kicks on October 16 at Hales Franciscan High School before knocking off Metro Louisville 2-1 on November 19 in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

On December 17, Chicago House AC punched its ticket into the main US Open Cup by defeating Brockton FC United of Massachusetts 8-7 in penalty kicks at Randolph (Mass.) High School.

Success continued this spring when Chicago House AC knocked off Bavarian United 1-0 on March 22 at Elmhurst University. Then they pulled a surprise on April 11 by knocking off USL side Forward Madison FC 3-2 on the road to earn the chance to face Chicago Fire FC.

“It took me a couple of days to realize the magnitude of what we achieved,” said forward Adam Mann of the run for the club in the tournament. “It’s massive. It’s (match vs Chicago Fire FC) probably the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in, and coming into the late years of my career, I think it’s special for me in that respect.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Now comes the reward for the team’s run – a chance to take on the MLS club in their own city. While Chicago House AC is hoping for a big effort to stun the Fire and keep their US Open Cup journey going, it is also a chance to introduce soccer fans in Chicago to this relatively new club is all about.

“They know we’re going to battle as hard as we can for 90 minutes. We’re gonna come up with a game plan, we’re gonna stick to it. It’s a family environment and a team that is a family,” said goalkeeper Tony Halterman. “So they’re going to get this atmosphere of an all-encompassing family style as a good show.”

It’s one they’ll try to put on as they step onto the biggest stage in the young history of the club on Wednesday.