Fire, Galaxy, Fusion and MetroStars Advance to Semifinals of 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
The 1998 U.S. Open Cup champion Chicago Fire will travel to the West Coast for a showdown against league rival Los Angeles Galaxy in a semifinal match to be played at Cal State Fullerton on August 23. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and fans can purchase tickets by calling 877/3-GALAXY (877/342-5299). Chicago are led by Open Cup leading scorer Josh Wolff (11 points; 5 goals, 1 assist) who has helped the team out score their opponents 10-1. The Galaxy will be looking for their third straight shutout and their first ever trip to the finals of the Open Cup. The Fire and Galaxy have never meet in the Open Cup play, with the Galaxy's best finish a quarterfinal appearance in the 1999 tournament.
In another marquee match-up, two teams will be looking to make their first appearance in the final of the U.S. Open Cup when the playoff bound N.Y./N.J. MetroStars take on the Miami Fusion at a venue and date to be announced in the near future. The MetroStars were unable to play on the Aug. 23 match date because of a previously scheduled Major League Soccer match against Kansas City on Aug. 23 at Giants Stadium.
Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in the United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the U.S., the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 87-year-old-single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.
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 of the Kansas City Wizards and Columbus Crew of MLS and the owner of the Dallas Tornados of the old NASL, was one of the sports first major ownership figures and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
The following is a look at the semifinal match-ups:
|Date||Opponent||Location||Kickoff / TV||Tickets|
|Aug. 23||Match 33 (West): 3-Chicago Fire (MLS) @ 1-Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)||Titan Stadium, Cal State Fullerton|
|7:30 p.m. (PT) / Fox Sports World & Fox Sports World Espanol (live)||877/3-GALAXY|
|Aug. 23||Match 34 (East): 4-Miami Fusion (MLS) vs. 6-NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS)||TBA||TBA / Fox Sports World & Fox Sports World Espanol (live)||TBA|
|Oct. 22||2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final||TBA||TBA / Fox Sports World & Fox Sports World Espanol (live)||TBA|
HOW THEY GOT HERE
3-Chicago Fire: The Chicago Fire began their Open Cup run with a 4-0 thumping of the Texas Rattlers (PDL) in front of 3,140 fans at the "the Hive" in Arlington Heights, Ill. on June 14 in the second round. Ante Razov led the Fire with two goals as the Fire outshot the Rattlers 21-8. In the third round, the stage was set for the bragging rights of the 'Windy City' when the Fire took on the PDL champion Chicago Sockers on July 25. In the Chicago derby, Fire forward Josh Wolff scored the game winning goal in the 22nd minute as the Fire downed the Sockers, 1-0, and advanced to a quarterfinal match against the Dallas Burn. Chicago's Josh Wolff left an ever-lasting impression on the Dallas Burn as he scored four goals in the Fire's 5-1 hammering of the Burn in front of over 7,000 fans in Naperville, Ill. Wolff currently leads all scorers in the 2000 Open Cup with 11 points (5 goals, 1 assist).
1-Los Angeles Galaxy: The 2000 U.S. Open Cup marks the second time that the Galaxy has participated in the 32-team field, their first coming in 1999 where the Galaxy were knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Columbus Crew, 2-0, after having defeated the San Diego Flash (A-League) 3-2 in the third round. As the number one seed in the West, the Los Angeles Galaxy's quest for their first-ever Open Cup title started with 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders (A-League) in which Cobi Jones scored the game winning goal in the 90th minute. The Galaxy, who boast four MLS All-Stars (Cobi Jones, Greg Vanney, Robin Fraser and Mauricio Cienguegos), proved to be too much for their Southern California counterparts as the Galaxy shutout the Flash 2-0 and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they would play the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS). Thanks to second half goals by Mauricio Cienfuegos and Seth George, the Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to the Open Cup semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
4-Miami Fusion: The Miami Fusion began their 2000 Open Cup campaign with an explosive 6-1 win over the New Jersey Stallions (D3) in the second round. Fusion forward Welton led all scorers with four goals. The closest match of the third round saw the Fusion squeak by the Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL) on penalty kicks, 6-5, after a 3-3 draw in regulation. The Fusion ended D.C. United's hopes of grabbing some hardware in 2000 when Jim Rooney hammered a 35-yard bomb past the United 'keeper in the 112th minute of the second overtime period to give the Fusion a 3-2 victory at RFK Stadium. The Fusion are led by Diego Serna who is currently the second top scorer in the U.S. Open Cup with 10 points (3 goals, 4 assists).
6-NY/NJ MetroStars: The radically upbeat MetroStars traveled to Wilmington, N.C. to play the Wilmington Hammerheads (D3) in their opening match of the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. First half goals by Mark Chung and Clint Mathis were enough as the MetroStars defeated the Hammerheads 2-1 in front of an overflow crowd of 5,426 at Legion Field. After a disastrous 1999 season, the MetroStars headed into third round match against the Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) with the hopes of maintaining their spectacular form in 2000. The MetroStars prevailed and dominated with a 3-0 win over the Mutiny as Mark Chung, Alex Comas and Clint Mathis struck for the MetroStars. In the quarterfinals, the MetroStars would need penalty kicks to down the Columbus Crew, 7-6, following a 1-1 draw after regulation and two overtime periods. Tab Ramos scored the MetroStars goal in the 62nd minute but the Crew tied the game in the 74th minute on a header by Brian McBride. The quarterfinal match marked the return of Lothar Matthaus for the MetroStars, who started and played for the first time since June 28. The MetroStar's semifinal appearance is their third in four years.