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Open Cup Quarterfinal Pairings Set as MLS Teams Avoid USL Upsets in Third Round

CHICAGO (Wednesday, July 11, 2001) - After a Second Round that featured four Major League Soccer squads falling victim to upsets by teams from the United Soccer Leagues, the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returned to its expected form on Wednesday night as MLS swept its four inter-league matches to pare the USL contingent down to two representatives among the eight quarterfinalists.

The A-League's Milwaukee Rampage came the closest to pulling off an upset as they fell 7-6 on penalty kicks after holding the MLS Western Division-leading San Jose Earthquakes to a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime. A successful PK by Scott Bower in the shootout booked a place in the semifinals for the visiting Earthquakes.

In another dramatic result, the defending Open Cup champion Chicago Fire exacted revenge on the Kansas City Wizards in a rematch of MLS Cup 2000, won by the Wizards. The Fire needed a stoppage-time goal to edge the shorthanded Wizards, 1-0, and stay on course for their third Open Cup title in four years. Hristo Stoitchkov converted a rebound of a DaMarcus Beasley shot in extra time to help the Fire advance to a quarterfinal match-up against the A-League's Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 2-1 winners on the road tonight against the El Paso Patriots.

The Miami Fusion - a finalist in the 2000 U.S. Open Cup - lost a tight match at Columbus Crew Stadium as the Crew came back from down 1-0 at halftime to pull off a 2-1 victory on a two-goal night by Jeff Cunningham. Cunningham's second goal, in the 89th minute, provided a dramatic finish and eliminated the Fusion, Major League Soccer's best team to this point in the 2001 regular season. The Crew will face the New England Revolution in their next match. Last year the Revolution were upset in the Second Round by the Premier Development League's Mid Michigan Bucks. This year, the Revolution have reversed their fortunes, avenging last year's early departure by defeating Mid Michigan 7-1 in a Second Round rematch and tonight pulling off a 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery (A-League) at Foxboro Stadium. Johnny Torres scored the winning goal in the 66th minute after entering the game as a substitute moments earlier.

The final Premier Development League squad in the 2001 U.S. Open Cup made its exit from the tournament as the Seattle Sounders Select grabbed an early 1-0 lead over the Los Angeles Galaxy before the home side stormed back with three goals to post a 3-1 win in a match played at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. In the Second Round, the Sounders Select had pulled off the biggest upset of the 2001 Open Cup, upending the 1997 U.S. Open Cup Champion Dallas Burn, 3-2, in overtime. With tonight's win, the Galaxy advance to face the San Jose Earthquakes in a match-up of the two best teams in the MLS Western Division this year.

In a doubleheader played at University of Richmond City Stadium in Virginia, the host Richmond Kickers downed the Connecticut Wolves, 2-1, in an A-League showdown to open the evening of Open Cup action. In the nightcap, D.C. United eliminated the Hershey Wildcats, 3-0, behind a goal and an assist from Chris Albright. D.C. has now outscored its USL opposition 11-0 through two matches in the 2001 Open Cup, after putting eight goals past the D3 Pro League's New Jersey Stallions in the Second Round. The Richmond vs. D.C. showdown in the quarterfinals will pair the 1995 champion Kickers (then of the PDL) against the 1996 Open Cup champion United.

The four quarterfinal match-ups are scheduled for Tuesday, July 24, with home teams, venues, and kickoff times to be determined and announced on Thursday, July 12.

Fox Sports World - which broadcast a quarterfinal, both semifinals and the championship game last year - has added several more U.S. Open Cup matches to its television schedule in 2001. In the second round, FSW broadcast the Los Angeles Galaxy's 5-0 win over the A-League's Nashville Metros. Broadcasts of two quarterfinal match-ups, both semifinals and the final are still on the way.

Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer cup competition in the United States and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the U.S., the annual Open Cup is an 88-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 Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards 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.


West Bracket
July 11 - Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League) 2 @ El Paso Patriots (A-League) 1
July 11 - Chicago Fire (MLS) 1 @ Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 0
July 11 - San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 0 @ Milwaukee Rampage (A-League) 0 OT (Earthquakes 7-6 pks)
July 11 - Seattle Sounders Select (PDL) 1 @ Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 3

East Bracket
July 11 - Charleston Battery (A-League) 1 @ New England Revolution (MLS) 2
July 11 - Miami Fusion (MLS) 1 @ Columbus Crew (MLS) 2
July 11 - Connecticut Wolves (A-League) 1 @ Richmond Kickers (A-League) 2
July 11 - Hershey Wildcats (A-League) 0 @ D.C. United (MLS) 3 (match in Richmond)


West Bracket
July 24 - Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)
July 24 - San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)

East Bracket
July 24 - New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Columbus Crew (MLS)
July 24 - Richmond Kickers (A-League) vs. D.C. United (MLS)