CHICAGO (Monday, Sept. 22, 2003) – For the third time in four years, the Chicago Fire and Los Angeles Galaxy will square off in the semifinals of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The latest installment will be played Tuesday, Sept. 23 in Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill. at 7 p.m. CT and be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and taped delayed on Fox Sports en Español at 11 p.m. ET.
Each previous meeting between these clubs in an Open Cup semifinal has gone to overtime, and on both occasions the winner of that semifinal advanced to hoist the Dewar Trophy as Open Cup Champions. In 2000, the Chicago Fire used a golden goal by Josh Wolff to get past the Galaxy 2-1 in Titan Stadium before advancing to beat the Miami Fusion 2-1 in the title game. One year later, the Galaxy returned the favor as Alexi Lalas scored in overtime to give the Galaxy a 1-0 win and a trip to the final, where they would top the New England Revolution 2-1. The Chicago Fire were also Open Cup winners in 1998, while the Galaxy were runners-up to the Columbus Crew in 2002.
The other two semifinalists to emerge from the field of 163 entrants, D.C. United and the MetroStars will face off on Oct. 1 at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. The 7:30 p.m. ET match is the first meeting between these teams in the Open Cup and will not be televised.
The MetroStars will be looking for their first U.S. Open Cup semifinal victory in four tries after one-goal losses to the Dallas Burn in 1997, the Columbus Crew in 1998 and the Miami Fusion in 2000. D.C. United won the U.S. Open Cup in their inaugural season of 1996 and finished as runner-up one year later. Since, the team has only made one appearance in the semifinals, a 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution in 2001.
The winners of the semifinal matches will face off on Oct. 15 in the Open Cup final at a venue to be determined.
Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is a 90-year-old single-elimination tournament.
In 1999, the U.S. Open Cup was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to honor the long-time soccer supporter and pioneer. Hunt, the owner-operator of multiple MLS teams including the 2002 Open Cup Champion Columbus Crew and the owner of the Dallas Tornado of the NASL, was one of the sports first major ownership figures and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
The tournament winner earns $100,000 in prize money. The winning team of the U.S. Open Cup will have their name engraved on the Dewar Trophy, which has been permanently retired at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
Fox Sports World and Fox Sports en Español, which have broadcast a number of Open Cup matches across the last three years, including the semifinals and championship games, is once again the official television broadcaster of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2003.
2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Semifinals – Sept. 23/Oct 1
Date: Match-Up Venue, City Kickoff
Sept. 23 Los Angeles Galaxy at Chicago Fire Cardinal Stadium; Naperville, Ill. 7 p.m. CT
Oct. 1 D.C. United at MetroStars Yurcak Field; Piscataway, N.J. 7:30 p.m. ET
Finals – Oct 15