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Semifinal Pairings Announced for 2004 Open Cup

CHICAGO (Monday, August 2, 2004) - The possible pairings, sites and kickoff times for the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals have been announced in advance of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, which will be played Wednesday, August 4, at four sites around the country.

The semifinals will be played on August 24 and 25, with the winners playing on September 22 in the 2004 U.S. Open Cup Final.

Four MLS teams and four A-League teams are still alive in the quest to have their name added to the Dewar Trophy. This is the first time since MLS began competing in the Open Cup in 1996 that four A-League teams have made the quarterfinals. The last time only four MLS teams made the final eight was in 1997, when two A-League teams and two teams from the former D3 Pro League appeared.

The A-League is also poised to have a team in the semifinals for the first time since 1999, as the Charleston Battery and Rochester Raging Rhinos will face off on Wednesday in one of the four quarterfinal matches. Coincidentally, it was the Rhinos and Battery both making the semifinals in 1999 - when Rochester topped the Columbus Crew to make the final and Charleston lost to the Colorado Rapids.

Four former Open Cup champions are still alive in the tournament. The three-time champion Chicago Fire (1998, 2000, 2003) will face the 1995 champion Richmond Kickers in the quarterfinals, with the winner of that game facing either the Rhinos or Battery. The 1999 champion Rhinos are the only lower division team to win the cup since 1996, when MLS teams entered the competition.

The other former champion still alive is the Dallas Burn, who won the competition in 1997. In the quarterfinals on Wednesday night they will face the Kansas City Wizards. The winner of that match will face the winner of the San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota Thunder in the semifinals.

At stake in the tournament is $180,000 in prize money broken down as follows: $100,000 to the champion, $50,000 to the runner up and $10,000 to the team which advances deepest in the tournament from each of the Division II, Division III and amateur levels.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation's National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. It is the oldest annual team 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.

U.S. Open Cup Schedule
#  Date  Teams     Venue; City  Time
33 Aug. 4 San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at Minnesota Thunder (A) James Griffin Stadium; St. Paul, Minn. 7 p.m. CT
34 Aug. 4 Dallas Burn (MLS) at Kansas City Wizards (MLS) Blue Valley Complex; Overland Park., Kan. 7:30 p.m. CT
35 Aug. 4 Chicago Fire (MLS) at Richmond Kickers (A) Univ. of Richmond Stadium; Richmond, Va. 7 p.m. ET
36 Aug. 4 Charleston Battery (A) at Rochester Raging Rhinos (A) Frontier Field; Rochester, N.Y. 7:30 p.m. ET

#  Date  Teams     Venue; City  Time
37 Aug. 24 Game 33 Winner at Kansas City Wizards OR Blue Valley Complex; Overland Park., Kan. 7:30 p.m. CT
Aug. 25 San Jose Earthquakes at Dallas Burn OR The Cotton Bowl; Dallas, Texas  7 p.m. CT
Aug. 25 Dallas Burn at Minnesota Thunder  Metrodome; Minneapolis, Minn.  7 p.m. CT
38 Aug. 25 Game 35 Winner at Rochester Raging Rhinos Frontier Field; Rochester, N.Y.   7:30 p.m. ET
Aug. 25 Charleston Battery at Richmond Kickers OR Univ. of Richmond Stadium; Richmond, Va. 7 p.m. ET
Aug. 25 Charleston Battery at Chicago Fire OR Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium; Naperville, Ill. 7:30 p.m. CT