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U.S. Soccer Wire: 2001 MLS Cup Finalists to be Decided Wednesday, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final Less Than Two Weeks Away


GAME 3 WINNERS TO MEET OCT. 21 AT CREW STADIUM LIVE ON ABC AT 12:30 ET: Both MLS semifinals come down to dramatic Game Threes on Wednesday, as the Chicago Fire need a win at home against the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Miami and San Jose both need a win to move on after splitting the first two games in the series. The Fire and Galaxy drew 1-1 in the series opener in Chicago last Wednesday, before L.A. rebounded for a 1-0 win in Los Angeles on Saturday.  Both of the first two series games have gone into overtime.  A Chicago win would leave both teams level with four points, and a mini-game would follow as part of the new "First to Five" MLS playoff system.  Miami and San Jose can both advance with a win, or a mini-game will follow if the match ends in a draw.  The Fusion edged the Earthquakes on a lone Preki goal last Wednesday, but fell in San Jose 4-0 this weekend as midfielder Manny Lagos provided two goals and an assist. The two series winners will then head to Columbus, Ohio, where they will meet just four days later for the 2001 MLS Cup on Sunday (Oct. 21) at Crew Stadium. The championship match will be televised live in ABC at 12:30 p.m. ET.

GALAXY MEET REVS FOR OPEN CUP FINAL AT CAL STATE-FULLERTON ON OCT. 27: The 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, which will pit Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy against the New England Revolution, is less than two weeks away. The Oct. 27 championship match will be played at Titan Stadium, on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, in Fullerton, Calif., and televised live at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Español. The Galaxy-Revs showdown will crown a new Open Cup Champion as both MLS squads are making their first appearance in the tournament final. Los Angeles earned their berth to the 2001 final after battling to a hard fought 1-0 semifinal victory in sudden-death overtime over last year's Open Cup Champion Chicago Fire on August 22 in Fullerton, Calif. In the other semifinal, the surprising New England Revolution blanked the 1996 U.S. Open Cup champion D.C. United 2-0 at Foxboro Stadium on Aug. 22, where the team played four straight matches en route to the final. Tickets for the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final are priced at $30 for VIP Midfield, $20 for West Sideline Bleachers and $15 East Sidelines and are available through the Cal State Fullerton Athletic Department at 714-CSU-CSUF (714-278-2783). New England fans can also purchase tickets through the Revolution by calling 508-384-9143.

SIGN UP AT USSOCCERFAN.COM FOR PRIORITY WORLD CUP 2002 TICKET LIST: As a member of ussoccerfan.com, soccer fans can receive exclusive information and other offers available only to U.S. Soccer's registered on-line fan base. For the first time ever, FIFA has complete control over ticketing and has not delegated the ticket sales to an international Tour Operator Program, instead opting to supply the maximum number of tickets to the domestic and international public. The ticket number for fans in the United States has not yet been determined. FIFA has stated there will be approximately 3.2 million tickets available for sale, with those numbers being broken down as follows: a) 1.5 million tickets to be sold in Korea and Japan; b) 1.5 million tickets to be sold internationally (with 880,000 being distributed to the public), with a majority of those going to the 30 finalists; c) 620,000 to be distributed to FIFA partners and Host Broadcast Services); and d) 200,000 tickets to be distributed to FIFA Executives, officials, media personnel and other guests.

U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE

WORLD CUP-BOUND U.S. MNT TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH KOREA FOR DEC. 9 FRIENDLY: The World Cup-bound U.S. Men's National Team will play an international friendly against 2002 World Cup co-host South Korea at Jeju Stadium in Seogwipo, Jeju Province on Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). The USA is coming off its record-setting performance, in which the team qualified for its fourth consecutive World Cup finals. By virtue of defeating Jamaica 2-1 at Foxboro Stadium on October 7 and both Honduras and Mexico failing to win the same day, the U.S. earned the second of three CONCACAF qualifying berths for 2002 Korea/Japan. The United States will play its remaining match of the final round hexagonal away to Trinidad and Tobago on November 11 (live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET). The United States has never defeated South Korea, holding a 0-2-1 lifetime record in three previous meetings. The teams last met in a prelude to World Cup USA '94, drawing 1-1 in Fullerton, Calif., in March of that year.  South Korea will be making its fifth consecutive appearance in the Finals, having qualified for every tournament since 1986 and receiving a berth in next year's tournament as a host country.

UPDATE ON EUROPEAN-BASED MNT PLAYERS: Goalkeeper Brad Friedel had an easy time in goal on Sunday, as Blackburn resumed play in the English Premiership with a huge 7-1 win against West Ham. Friedel has only allowed 11 goals in nine league matches, while posting one shutout.  The win propels Blackburn to eighth in the Premiership, with 12 points from nine matches. U.S. captain Claudio Reyna started and played the first 83 minutes in a 3-1 win against Kilmarnock on Saturday.  Reyna has now started the last two matches for Rangers, after missing a month of matches with an injury.  Rangers are in second place in the Scottish Premier League, four points clear of third place, but trailing leading Celtic by seven points. Forward Jovan Kirovskiscored his second goal of the year in the 41st minute of Crystal Palace's 4-0 home win over Wimbledon, their fifth straight league win. Palace (21points) is now in fourth place with two games in hand on second-place Burnley (22 points). Midfielder John Thorrington played all 90 minutes as Huddersfield Town lost its second consecutive match, falling to Brighton & Hove 2-1. Since making appearances off the bench in Town's first three matches, Thorrington has become a regular in the Huddersfield line-up, playing 90 minutes in each of the last 11 matches. Earnie Stewart made two substitute appearances for NAC Breda this past week, coming off the bench to play the final 22 minutes in a 2-1 win against bottom-dwellers Roda JC on October 9, just two days after helping the U.S. secure a place in Korea/Japan 2002. Stewart again came off the bench this weekend, playing the entire second half in a scoreless draw with FC Den Bosch. Defender David Regis returned to the field for the first time since his inspiring performance against Jamaica, playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Marseille on Saturday. Metz are in 15th place, sitting just above relegation zone. Tony Sanneh played all 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 3-0 loss to Werder Bremen on Saturday. Sanneh has started all 10 games for his Bundesliga side this season.  With the loss, promoted Nurnberg sit at 16 in the 18-team top division. Cory Gibbs played 90 minutes again for FC St. Pauli, playing the entire match for the fourth straight game.  St. Pauli drew 2-2 with SC Freiburg and still sit at the bottom of the German Bundesliga with four points from nine matches. Defender Steve Cherundolo scored his first goal of the season in Hannover's 6-1 romp against SV Babelsberg. Cherundolo, who played all 90 minutes, scored his squad's second goal in the 27th minute.  Unbeaten Hannover (6-0-3) stands in second place in Germany's second division, just one point behind Mainz. Joe Enochs went 90 minutes VfL Osnabruck's 1-1 draw with Fortuna Dusseldorf.  Enochs has started in all 13 matches for Osnabruck this year, playing all 90 minutes in all but one of games.

"SOCCERVACATIONS.COM" OFFERS UNIQUE USA-TRINIDAD & TOBAGO PACKAGE: Fans of the U.S. Men's National Team have a chance to see the team finish the final round of World Cup qualifying when the U.S. takes on regional rival Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on Nov. 11. In addition to being on hand for the game, fans can also experience the vacation of a lifetime and enjoy the game-day passion at Hasely Crawford National Stadium for as low as $1215 per person. This package includes round-trip air from most major gateways in the USA, two-night hotel accommodations, premiere match tickets, ground transfers, a "Welcome to Trinidad & Tobago" cocktail party, daily buffet breakfast, the service of a SoccerVacations representative and much more. For more  information on this package or any other U.S. Soccer event, call toll free at 1-877-667-5338 or  log on to www.SoccerVacations.com.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE

U.S. LEGEND MICHELLE AKERS ENDS FINAL CHAPTER OF STORIED PLAYING CAREER:  Michelle Akers, the most decorated woman in soccer history, announced last week that she has decided to end her soccer career after more than 15 years as a pioneer and legend with the U.S. Women's National Team. Akers, an Olympic gold medalist ('96), a two-time World Champion ('91 and '99) and recently named "Player of the Century" by FIFA, retired from international soccer in 2000 due to injuries. After spending the Inaugural Season of the new Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) on the Injured Reserve list, the 35-year-old native of Orlando, Fla., was hoping to return for the 2002 season, but her fourth and fifth shoulder surgeries in 2001 have made it impossible to return to the game. Akers finished her spectacular international career among the all-time WNT leaders in caps (153 - 7th), goals (105 - 2nd), assists (37 - 7th) and total points (247 - 2nd).

HEINRICHS TO HOLD ALL-WUSA TRAINING CAMP FROM OCT. 23-31 IN SAN DIEGO: U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs will bring 20 players to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., from Oct. 23-31 to work with the best and brightest young talent in the WUSA. Aside from the 33-year-old Joy Fawcett, who is still coming back from the  birth of her third child, the oldest player in camp will be 26-year-old Shannon MacMillan.  The other eighteen players range in age from 21-25 and all played in the WUSA during the inaugural season.  Forward Danielle Fotopoulos, a member of the 1999 Women's World Cup Team who finished tied for fifth in the league in scoring with nine goals and five assists, gets her first call-back to the national team since having a baby in November of 2000. Her teammate on the '99 champions, Tiffany Roberts, also got the call-up. The following is the complete 20-player roster, listed by position and with WUSA club in parentheses:
Goalkeepers: Lakeysia Beene (San Jose CyberRays), Jamie Pagliarulo (San Diego Spirit);
Defenders: Kylie Bivens (Atlanta Beat), Staci Burt (Carolina Courage), Joy Fawcett (San Diego Spirit), Kelly Lindsey (Bay Area CyberRays), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Charge), Tiffeny Roberts (Carolina Courage), Kate Sobrero (Boston Breakers), Lindsay Stoecker (Washington, D.C. Freedom);
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx (San Diego Spirit), Lorrie Fair (Philadelphia Charge), Jen Grubb (Washington Freedom), Shannon MacMIllan (San Diego Spirit), Nikki Serlenga (Atlanta Beat);
Forwards: Mandy Clemens (Philadelphia Charge), Deidre Enos (Philadelphia Charge), Danielle Fotopoulos (Carolina Courage), Tara Kolseki (San Diego Spirit), Cindy Parlow (Atlanta Beat).

U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE

U.S. UNDER-19 WOMEN'S TO CONDUCT CAMP AT OTC FROM OCT. 20-28: U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone will bring 24 players to an eight-day training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., from Oct. 20-28 as she continues preparations towards qualifying for the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championships to be held in Canada during the summer of 2002.  All of the players called in are currently in high school as Leone's college-aged players in the pool are all competing for their universities.  Following is the roster with positions and hometowns:
Goalkeepers: Kim Bingham (San Ramon, Calif.), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Kate Taylor (Menomonee Falls, Wis.);
Defenders: Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Kendall Fletcher (Cary, N.C.), Kelly Hammond (Bowie, Md.), Heidi Hollenbeck (Hartland, Wisc.), Christie Shaner (Ambler, Pa.), Amy Steadman (Brevard, N.C.), Allie True (Alamo, Calif.);
Midfielders: Lori Chalupny (Chesterfield, Mo.), Brittany Cooper (Albuquerque, N.M.), Shannon Foley (Rancho SM, Calif.), Allison Graham (Fayetteville, Ga.), Manya Makoski (Trumbell, Conn.), Jill Oakes (West Hills, Calif.), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas);
Forwards: Ali Andrzjewski (Lutherville, Md.), Jenny Farenbaugh (Reseda, Calif.), Noelle Keselica (Gaithursburg, Md.), Katie Rivera (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kristin Weiss (Brecksville, Ohio).

AROUND THE U.S. SOCCER NATION

MEDIA ACCREDITATION NOW OPEN FOR 2002 WORLD CUP FINAL DRAW IN BUSAN: FIFA announced last week that press (print and online media, as well as photographers) interested in covering the Final Draw of the 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan can now apply for accreditation online at www.FIFA.com. The Final Draw ceremony will be held on Dec. 1 at the Busan Exhibition & Convention Center in Busan, Korea. The application can be found in section "Various Announcements" section on the home page or in the "Media Services" are in the 2002 FIFA World Cup section. Broadcasters will have to apply for accreditation via the rights-holding agency Prisma Sports at www.prismasports.com.

ISRAEL-AUSTRIA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING MATCH RESCHEDULED FOR OCT. 27: In consultation with the national associations of Israel and Austria, FIFA announced last week that UEFA Group 7 qualifying match between the two countries that was scheduled for Oct. 7 will now take place on Saturday, Oct. 27. The match was originally postponed after a flight from Tel Aviv crashed into the Black Sea on Oct. 4.

MLS TO ANNOUNCE YEAR-END AWARDS FOR 2001 SEASON THIS WEEK: With two MLS Cup Playoff Semifinal Series remaining to determine the participants in MLS Cup 2001, Major League Soccer unveiled the finalists for 10 of the league's prestigious end-of-season awards last week.  The winners will be announced daily from today through Sunday's championship game. Listed alphabetically by last name, position and team are the three finalists for each of the respective 2001 MLS end-of-season awards:

2001 Honda Most Valuable Player
Jeff Agoos, D, S.J. Earthquakes
Alex Pineda Chacon, M, Miami Fusion
Diego Serna, F, Miami Fusion

MLS Defender of the Year
Jeff Agoos, S.J. Earthquakes
Carlos Llamosa, Miami Fusion
Pablo Mastroeni, Miami Fusion

Goalkeeper of the Year
Joe Cannon, S.J. Earthquakes
Tim Howard, MetroStars
Zach Thornton, Chicago Fire

Coach of the Year
Bob Bradley, Chicago Fire
Ray Hudson, Miami Fusion
Frank Yallop, S.J. Earthquakes

Rookie of the Year
Rodrigo Faria, F, MetroStars
Santino Quaranta, F, D.C. United
Ryan Suarez, D, Dallas Burn

Goal of the Year
Brian Maisonneuve, M, Columbus Crew
Clint Mathis, M, MetroStars
Peter Nowak, M, Chicago Fire

Comeback Player of the Year
Troy Dayak, D, S.J. Earthquakes
Brian Maisonneuve, M, Columbus Crew
Eric Wynalda, F, Chicago Fire

MLS Fair Play Award (Individual)
Marcelo Balboa, D, Colorado Rapids
Alex Pineda Chacon, M, Miami Fusion
Mark Chung, M, MetroStars

RHINOS WIN THIRD A-LEAGUE TITLE IN FOUR YEARS WITH 2-0 WIN OVER WILDCATS: The Rochester Raging Rhinos won their third A-League title in the past four seasons and extended their club's  domination with a 2-0 shutout of the Hershey Wildcats at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., this weekend. The Rhinos, who became the first team in league history to repeat as champions, have now won three titles in six seasons of existence. Rochester defeated Minnesota 3-1 in last year's final, two seasons after downing the Thunder by the same score in 1998. The Rhinos also won the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, giving them a major title in each of the last four years. Midfielder Stoian Mladenov provided all the offense in the Rhinos' win, scoring first in the 69th minute, beating A-League Goalkeeper of the Year Jon Busch to the left post. Mladenov, who was named MVP of the final, then dashed any dwindling hopes the Wildcats may have had when he netted his second goal of the night with less than three minutes left in regulation.

PRO TEAMS IN NEW YORK, D.C. JOIN TOGETHER FOR "UNITY GAMES" BENEFIT SERIES: The four Division I professional soccer teams in the New York/New Jersey and Washington D.C. areas, the MetroStars and D.C. United of MLS along with the New York Power and Washington Freedom of the WUSA, will join together to raise funds for those affected by the Sept. 11 tragedy by hosting the "Unity Games," to be held on Oct. 28 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey and on Nov. 3 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Tickets for both double-headers will be $20, with all proceeds going to the relief and recovery effort from the tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C. Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets in the New York/New Jersey and Washington, D.C. areas. Tickets will also be available in New York by calling the MetroStars ticket office at 1-888-4-METROTIX, the New York Power ticket office at 1-866-POWRTIX, or by visiting www.metrostars.com or www.nypower.com.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMANCE: Midfielder Stoian Mladenov was "the man" in the middle for the Rochester Raging Rhinos this weekend, scoring both goals in the team's 2-0 win over the Hershey Wildcats in the 2001 A-League Final at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. The Bulgarian star, who picked up final MVP honors, came to the Rhinos in mid-season via a trade with the Minnesota Thunder and was selected to the A-League First Team after leading Rochester in assists (eight) and finishing second in points with 22.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: With both MLS playoff series being decided by the deciding Game Three, Wednesday night's twin bill threatens to be more exciting than Sunday's MLS Cup at Columbus Crew Stadium. No matter what the outcome of the semi-finals, the championship match will pit a MLS Cup rookie (San Jose or Miami) with a team that's been there before (Chicago or Los Angeles). Tune in Sunday on ABC at 12:30 p.m. ET to see whether it will be the newcomer or the veteran who will be crowned champion of Year 6.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Real Madrid fell to 16th in La Liga after a scoreless draw with Alaves over the weekend. The Spanish giants have just eight points from their first nine games, and have already lost three matches.  While winning the title in 2000-2001, Madrid lost just six times in 38 matches opposite 24 wins.  Many observers handed over La Liga title when Madrid purchased Zinedine Zidane in the off-season for a record sum of more than $60 million dollars, just one year after breaking the bank for Luis Figo.

QUOTABLE: 
"We heard the things that Landon (Donovan) said about how he's going to have a great celebration when he scores. I didn't see Landon's celebrations tonight. I must have missed it."
- Miami midfielder Jim Rooney, after the Fusion's 1-0 win in their playoff opener. Donovan would go on to open the scoring in the Earthquakes 4-0 route in Game 2 on Sunday.


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