CHICAGO (Wednesday, August 22, 2001) - The New England Revolution and Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to the championship match of the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - the first Open Cup Final for each side - as they posted semifinal victories at home on Wednesday night. New England defeated D.C. United 2-0 on two first-half goals from Andy Williams, while the Galaxy defeated the defending Open Cup champion Chicago Fire on a golden goal from Alexi Lalas, who headed home a corner kick in extra time to send Los Angeles to the title match, tentatively scheduled for October 27.
With their win, New England advances to the Open Cup Final for the first time in the franchise's history. Their appearance in the final comes just a year after the Revolution was defeated in the second round by the Mid Michigan Bucks of the Premier Development League.
The second match was far different from the first as the Galaxy and Fire battled to a dramatic conclusion in a rematch of a 2000 U.S. Open Cup semifinal that also needed overtime to produce a winner. In the 2000 match, the Fire advanced to the final on the strength of a golden goal from forward Josh Wolff to give the visitors a 2-1 win. In tonight's rematch at the same venue - Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. - L.A. reserve defender Alexi Lalas was the hero, scoring a golden goal early in the first overtime period to help the Galaxy avenge last year's loss and advance to their first Open Cup final with the 1-0 win. The game was a defensive battle dominated by goalkeepers Kevin Hartman and Zach Thornton, who were steady in the nets all night long until Lalas solved the Fire by heading home a corner kick for the winner. The Fire's offense suffered an early blow as Hristo Stoitchkov went to the bench midway through the first half through injury. The team's offense was further reduced when reserve forward Ante Razov was shown the red card during the halftime break. While the Fire played the second half with 11 men, coach Bob Bradley had few options to inject life into his side's attack.
With the loss, Chicago's attempt to repeat as champions comes to an end. The last repeat champion in the U.S. Open Cup were the 1982-83 Pancyprian-Freedoms of New York.
The 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship match is tentatively scheduled for October 27 and will be broadcast by Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol, who broadcast both of tonight's semifinals as well as two quarterfinals and Los Angeles's second round victory over the A-League's Nashville Metros. U.S. Soccer will release full information - including confirmation of the date, venue, and kickoff time - for the final when details of the event are finalized.
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.
August 22 - Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 1 vs. Chicago Fire (MLS) 0 OT
August 22 - New England Revolution (MLS) 2 vs. D.C. United (MLS) 0
Oct. 27 - Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) vs. New England Revolution (MLS)