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U.S. Open Cup Field Dwindles to


CHICAGO (Tuesday, July 13, 1999) - The 32-team field of the 1999 U.S. Open Cup has dwindled to the "Sweet 16," with eight teams from Major League Soccer joining in the third round. The #6-ranked Tampa Bay Mutiny kicked things off last night with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the #25-ranked Mid Michigan Bucks, who earned $10,000 in prize money for advancing the farthest among amateur teams. Four of the eight Sweet 16 matches take place tonight, including a match between the #1-ranked Colorado Rapids and the #14 Seattle Sounders tonight at Mile High Stadium at 8:30 p.m. MT, the second game of a double- header with the U.S. National Team and English Premier club Derby County.

In other action tonight, the #11 Staten Island Vipers will face the #8 New York/New Jersey Metro- Stars in a "Battle of New York" at 7:00 p.m. ET. The #24 Carolina Dynamo, the only D3 Pro League team to advance to the third round, will travel to the new Columbus Crew Stadium to try to upset '98 Open Cup finalist Columbus Crew at 7:30 p.m. ET. After a 9-2 second round win, the #15 Jacksonville Cyclones are ready for the #5 Dallas Burn when they face tonight at the Cotton Bowl at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Future marquee matches from the third round include a July 14 contest between two defending champions as the A-League champion Rochester Raging Rhinos play host to the defending MLS and Open Cup champion Chicago Fire. On July 20, the "Battle of SoCal" will pit the #7 Los Angeles Galaxy against the feisty #10 San Diego Flash. The final third round match pits '96 MLS and Open Cup winner D.C. United against the #13 Charleston Battery on August 4. [Note: the complete third round schedule, third round match previews and tournament brackets are available on the following pages.]

The second round went generally as planned for the A-League's eight qualifiers, who finished with a combined 6-2 record. Only the Minnesota and Orange County failed to advance.

The final 32-team U.S. Open Cup field is comprised of eight teams each from Major League Soccer, the A-League and the D3 Pro League, as well as four teams each from the PDL and USASA.

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 an 86-year-old single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.

The brackets for the first three rounds of the tournament have been solidified, helping each team chart their course into the quarterfinals, at which time a draw will be conducted to determine the pairings among the Open Cup's final eight competitors. Played under FIFA rules, each Open Cup match will finish with a winner, with tie games going into 30 minutes of sudden death overtime, and then to penalty kicks.

The 1999 U.S. Open Cup final is scheduled for the newly-constructed Columbus Crew Stadium on September 14 and will be televised live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN for the first time in the annual tournament's history. For ticket information, contact the Columbus Crew at 614/221-2739.

U.S. OPEN CUP THIRD ROUND PAIRINGS
DateMatch-upsKickoff
July 12#6 Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) at #25 Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL)2-1, Tampa Bay
July 13#11 Staten Island Vipers (A-League) at #8 NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS)7:00 p.m.
July 13#24 Carolina Dynamo (D3 Pro) at #4 Columbus Crew (MLS)7:30 p.m.
July 13#16 Jacksonville Cyclones (A-League) at #5 Dallas Burn (MLS)7:30 p.m.
July 14#14 Seattle Sounders (A-League) at #1 Colorado Rapids (MLS)8:30 p.m.
July 14#2 Chicago Fire (MLS) at #9 Rochester Rhinos (A-League)7:30 p.m.
July 20#7 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at #10 San Diego Flash (A-League)7:35 p.m.
Aug. 4#3 D.C. United (MLS) at # 13 Charleston Battery (A-League)7:30 p.m.

U.S. OPEN CUP SECOND ROUND RESULTS
DateMatch-upsResult
June 23#29 United German Hungarians (USASA 1) at #11 Staten Island Vipers (A-League)7-0, Vipers
June 23#25 Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL) at #12 Minnesota Thunder (A-League)2-1, Bucks
June 23#28 Spokane Shadow (PDL) at #14 Seattle Sounders (A-League)3-1, Sounders
June 30#26 New York Freedom (PDL) at #9 Rochester Rhinos (A-League)2-1, (OT) Rhinos
June 30#19 Arizona Sahuaros (D3 Pro) at #10 San Diego Flash (A-League)9-2, Flash
July 6#17 Wilmington Hammerheads (D3 Pro) at #13 Charleston Battery (A-League)2-1, Battery
July 6#24 Carolina Dynamo (D3 Pro) at #15 Orange County Zodiac (A-League)2-0, Dynamo
July 10#27 Cocoa Expos (PDL) at #16 Jacksonville Cyclones (A-League)7-2, Cyclones

Rankings based on team's divisional standing as of June 1, 1999 ... Team rankings do not affect team pairings or home-field advantage, but are listed to serve the media and fans in comparing team strengths ... League affiliation listed in parenthesis.

www.us-soccer.com FOR LATEST U.S. OPEN CUP INFORMATION: For the latest information on the 1999 U.S. Open Cup be sure to log on to www.us-soccer.com for the redesigned U.S. Open Cup web page. The site is updated daily with match results, schedules and previews, and also features recaps from previous tournaments. New features on the site include up-to-date qualifying procedures and recaps and final standings from each division in the competition. For the latest on the tournament, go to www.us-soccer.com and click on the U.S. Open Cup icon.


1999 U.S. Open Cup Third Round Match Previews

#8-NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS) vs. #11-Staten Island Vipers (D3): The rankings don't lie in this match. The Staten Island Vipers have been taking care of business all season long and dispatched their Round 2 Open Cup opponent without breaking a sweat. The MetroStars have had a dismal season so far, languishing in last place in the MLS' Eastern Conference. The return of Tab Ramos will only help their cause and a new legion of foreign imports may be able to bring some shape to the MetroStars attack. While the Vipers may think the MetroStars are walking wounded, they surely cannot go into this game feeling overconfident. The MetroStars, while laboring to find wins in MLS, have not had much difficulty with A-League sides this year, beating the A-League Champion Rhinos earlier this month.

#1-Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. #14-Seattle Sounders (A-League): The biggest surprise so far in the 1999 MLS season has been the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids have shown the determination that got them to the 1997 MLS Cup Final but have also exhibited skill and poise on the ball, something the '97 team often lacked. Their stellar early-season play earned them the top ranking for the 1999 Open Cup and they currently lead the MLS in points. Standing in their way will be the Seattle Sounders, a team that has put together a steady, albeit not spectacular, run so far this year. The Sounders did enough to qualify for a berth in the Open Cup and beat their in-state rival, the PDL's Spokane Shadow, in Round 2 with a professional effort. The Sounders can only hope that the festivities surrounding the U.S. Men's National Team doubleheader will sufficiently distract the Rapids long enough for Seattle to sneak in and grab a victory.

#5-Dallas Burn (MLS) vs. #15-Jacksonville Cyclones (A-League): The Jacksonville Cyclones have done well to successfully recuperate from a turbulent start from the season that saw them narrowly qualify for the 1999 Open Cup. They traveled to Cocoa and crushed a very optimistic Cocoa Expos squad by a score of 7-2 and now they look to knock off the Dallas Burn in Round 3. Dallas has been one of the most improved teams for the MLS 1999 season. The defense has tightened up significantly and Jason Kreis has shown the form that earned him a national team call up in 1997. Historically, Dallas has done well in the Open Cup; they won the tournament in 1997 and lost in the semifinals to Chicago in 1998 in a tightly contested match. They also have had little problem with non-Division I competition, having beaten two A-League teams by four-goal margins in 1998.

#24-Carolina Dynamo (D3) vs. #4-Columbus Crew (MLS): The Carolina Dynamo have defied the Open Cup rankings and have become the furthest reaching D3 team for the 1999 tournament. The Dynamo, while starting slowly, have found their groove in recent weeks. They battled to a 1-0 victory over Milwaukee's Bavarian Leinenkugel in Round 1 and a 2-0 victory over the Orange County Zodiac in Round 2. Their greatest test comes on July13 when they travel to Columbus to take on the Crew. The Crew have played well so far this year and have solidified their hold on second place in the MLS Eastern Conference. With the 1999 U.S. Open Cup final to be held at the Columbus Crew Stadium on September 15, you can be sure that the Crew will take this game and its result very seriously. Carolina's stingy defense will have a terrible trying to corral players of international calibre like Brian McBride and Stern John.

#9-Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) vs. #3-Chicago Fire (MLS): This game pits two defending champions against one another. The Rhinos took home the 1998 A-League title and the Chicago Fire won the "double," capturing both the MLS Championship and the U.S. Open Cup. Guaranteed, both teams will come out swinging. Rochester's season began with a whimper when they lost to the Minnesota Thunder on opening night. The Rhinos regained their composure and built a 13-2 record, but have been less than invulnerable in many games, including their narrow 2-1 overtime win against the PDL New York Freedoms in Round 2 of the 1999 Open Cup. The Chicago Fire have also suffered from a championship hangover and have rarely shown the class that won them so many honors in 1999. Recent games have shown that the team has begun to click once again, which can only mean bad news for the hopeful Rhinos.

#10-San Diego Flash (A-League) vs. #7-Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS): This season, the San Diego Flash have picked up right where they left off after a successful inaugural season in which they finished 21-7 and won the Pacific Division. In '99, they're right back at the top, this time with a 14-6 mark, an impressive 47 goals scored, and a 9-2 walloping of their second round opponent, the Arizona Sahuaros. In an opposite turn of fortune, the Los Angeles Galaxy have spent most of the season trying to regain the style and record-breaking scoring touch that they so easily exhibited last year. Under new head coach Sigi Schmid and with the recent addition of Carlos Hermosillo and Roy Myers to the now rebuilt frontline, the Galaxy are once again a dangerous attacking team and are looking to outgun the hot Flash.

#13-Charleston Battery (A-League) vs. #2-D.C. United (MLS): The Charleston Battery have their work cut out for them. Not only are they facing arguably the best team in Major League Soccer over the past four seasons, but their also facing a team that won the 1996 U.S. Open Cup and went to the final in '97. Along the way, they also picked up a few pieces of MLS hardware. Gone are Raul Diaz Arce, John Harkes, Tony Sanneh and Coach Bruce Arena, but plug-ins Roy Lassiter and Coach Thomas Rongen have United atop the East with a 12-7 record. The Battery, who sit at 9-7 in the Atlantic Division, must count on home field advantage at the newly-constructed Blackbaud Stadium to knock off the Open Cup-seasoned D.C. squad.


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