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D.C. United, Charleston Battery Advance to 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship

CHICAGO (August. 13, 2008) – The 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship will feature a United Soccer Leagues First Division team for the first time since 1999, when D.C. United hosts the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium. The 95th edition of the historic tournament final will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

D.C. United advanced to their third Open Cup final after defeating the defending champion New England Revolution, 3-1, at RFK Stadium. They will face a team from the USL First Division for the second time in the Open Cup final, having defeated the Rochester Raging Rhinos in 1996 to win their first Open Cup title.

For their part, the Charleston Battery played the Seattle Sounders, also from the USL First Division, to a 1-1 draw in regulation at Blackbaud Stadium on Tuesday night. The home side advanced to the final for the first time in team history, winning 4-3 on penalty kicks after goalkeeper Dusty Hudock blocked the decisive final penalty in the shootout. The Battery is the first USL team to reach the finals since 1999, when the Rochester Raging Rhinos captured the tournament title, defeating the Colorado Rapids, 2-0, at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Rhinos are the only USL team to win the Open Cup title since MLS began playing in the competition in 1996.

In the nation’s capital, Luciano Emilio put D.C. United ahead less than four minutes into the game, capitalizing on a cross from Bryan Namoff. New England leveled the score in the 34th minute on an unassisted goal from Joe Germanese, but was unable to get a lead. United forward Santino Quaranta tallied the game-winner in the 48th minute when captain Jaime Moreno lifted a soft pass over the Revolution’s backline, drawing goalkeeper Doug Warren off his line. Quaranta took advantage of the opportunity, chipping Warren to put D.C. ahead, 2-1.

Emilio clinched the victory for United in the 81st minute after collecting a pass from Ivan Guerrero and cutting back. Emilio moved to his left and slotted home a low finish through traffic and past Warren for the 3-1 final score.

Meanwhile in Charleston, Seattle got on the board first in front of the 3,798 fans in attendance. Battery forward Randi Patterson equalized 13 minutes later and the 1-1 draw stood through the final whistle and subsequent overtime periods.

Stephen Armstrong, Osvaldo Alonso, Tim Velton and Nelson Akwari sunk their penalties for the Battery, while Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eyelander denied Marco Reda his attempt. Danny Jackon, Taylor Grahame and Ciaran O’Brien made their penalty kicks, while Hudock saved the attempts from Sebastien Le Toux and Kevin Forrest to send the South Carolina team to the final.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament is the oldest tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.

Semifinal Results
Date Matchup Venue; City, State Result
Aug. 12 New England Revolution (MLS) at D.C. United (MLS) RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. 1-3
Aug. 12 Seattle Sounders (USL1) at Charleston Battery (USL1) Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C. 1-1 (3-4 pk)

U.S. Open Cup Final
Date Matchup Venue; City, State Time (ET)
Sept. 3 Charleston Battery (USL1) at D.C. United (MLS) RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. 7:30 p.m.