Defending champion Arsenal, which had not lost in 21 straight third-round FA Cup games under Arsene Wenger
, was eliminated when it lost at Nottingham Forest, 4-2. The unlikely hero? American
Lichaj, who scored just seven goals in his previous 254 games over nine seasons in England, scored the first two goals in one of the greatest feats ever by an American
in the FA Cup.
Lichaj raced across the goal area and beat Arsenal keeper David Ospina
to Kieran Dowell
's in-swinging free
kick to give Forest the lead in the 20th minute.
Then he scored one of the goals of the season in England, chipping Ospina to the top
corner with a chested volley to put Forest ahead for good, 2-1, shortly before halftime. Lichaj began the play on the right side but moved into the middle as the Arsenal failed to clear the ball and
he met a weak clearance by Rob Holding
at the top of the area.
After the game, the 29-year-old Lichaj said his wife Kathryn
had promised him she would get him a dog if he scored a hat trick, something only one American had ever done. Clint Dempsey
scored three goals in Fulham's 4-0 victory over third-tier Charlton
in the third round in 2012.
Lichaj could only watch teammates Ben Brereton
and Kieron Dowell
score from the penalty spot to complete the 4-2 win, one of the biggest in years
by once-great Forest, which was playing under interim manager Alan Brazil
while it seeks a replacement for Mark Warburton
, fired on Dec. 30.
After the game, Forest fans took
to Twitter to urge Kathryn Lichaj to get her husband a dog.