Last Sunday the expansion Fire won MLS Cup '98 with a 2-0 victory over two-time defending league champion D.C. United at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
The Fire captured the Dewar Cup Trophy behind the inspired play of defender C.J. Brown, who was named the U.S. Open Cup Final Snickers Most Valuable Player of the Game. Brown helped shut down Columbus' explosive offensive duo of Brian McBride and Stern John after MLS Defender of the Year Lubos Kubik was forced to leave the game in the 14th minute with a fractured left fibula.
To score the winner, Klopas redirected a headed shot on goal by Ante Razov into the roof of the goal from six yards out. The Fire built a 1-0 lead on a penalty-kick goal by forward Jerzy Podbrozny in the 45th minute. The penalty was set-up after Juergen Sommer tripped up forward Josh Wolff pushing the ball through the penalty area.
"We started the season great and ended the season great," said Klopas after the match. "Bob Bradley is a master at designing the game plan and everyone is competitive on the field. We wanted to win. From the first touch I felt like I was going to score."
Columbus tied the match on a blistering, 22-yard rocket from John after a restart in the 53rd minute. The goal came after the Fire's Chris Armas had tackled McBride just outside the box.
D.C. United was the last team to capture the double, winning both the 1996 U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup '96 two years ago.
After qualifying for the finals with semifinal victories in New Orleans on Aug. 4, the Fire and Crew were originally scheduled to meet on Aug. 26 in Virginia Beach, but the match was twice postponed (after begin rescheduled for Aug. 27) by Hurricane Bonnie.
Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in soccer in the United States and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all amateur and professional teams in the U.S., the annual event is an 85-year-old single-elimination tournament in which 32 finalists vie for the Dewar Cup Trophy. As they did last year, eight Division II A-League clubs joined the competition in the second round and eight MLS clubs entered in the third round.
1998 U.S. OPEN CUP * FINAL
|Participants:||Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew|
|Competition:||1998 U.S. Open Cup Final|
|Venue:||Soldier Field * Chicago, Illinois|
|Date:||October 30, 1998 * kickoff 8 p.m. (ET)|
|Weather:||55 degrees (dreary rain)|
CHI - Jerzy Podbrozny, (Penalty Kick), 45,
CLB - Stern John, (Robert Warzycha), 53,
CHI - Frank Klopas, (Ante Razov), 99.
CHI - 18-Zach Thornton, 5-Lubos Kubik (Josh Keller, 14; Zak Ibsen, 77), 2-C.J. Brown, 20- Francis Okaroh, 14-Chris Armas, 15-Jesse Marsch, 3-Richie Kotschau (41-Frank Klopas, 91), 9-Jerzy Podbrozny, 10-Peter Nowak, 16-Josh Wolff, 12-Ante Razov.
CLB - 1-Juergen Sommer, 3-Mike Clark, 5-Thomas Dooley, 11-Ricardo Iribarren, 13-Ansil Elcock, 19-Robert Warzycha (12-Jason Farrell, 78), 8-Andy Williams, 10-Brian Maisonneuve (6- Todd Yeagley, 67), 16-Rob Smith, 14-Stern John, 20-Brian McBride.
|Josh Keller (caution)||17,|
|Juergen Sommer (caution)||43,|
|Brian Maisonneuve (caution)||60,|
|Francis Okaroh (caution)||60,|
|Ansil Elcock (caution)||61,|
|C.J. Brown (caution)||69.|