KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Wednesday, Sept. 22) – The Kansas City Wizards brought the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup home to the tournament’s namesake as his Wizards topped the Chicago Fire 1-0 on an Igor Simutenkov free kick in the 95th minute.
Josh Wolff was fouled 20 yards from goal by Evan Whitfield of the Chicago Fire. Simutenkov stepped up to take the kick drove a bending shot through a spot that teammate Alex Zotinca vacated in the wall. Once through the wall, Fire goalkeeper Henry Ring dove to his right to make the save. He tipped the ball straight up in the air, off the cross bar, and back down off the back of his hand and into the net.
"Honest to God, when before (Igor) took it, I said to Jimmy (Conrad) watch out this might go in,” said Wolff. “It didn't go in like I thought it would, but at least he put it hard on frame. Henry made a good save on the first one, then it took an unfortunate bounce off the crossbar and hit him in the the back of the head and it went it.
“I was sitting at the back of the doorstep for any loose change. I'm extremely happy for Igor with all the work he put in and I'm extremely happy for the organization. More importantly it is a piece of hardware and a championship and, as a soccer player, that is what you play for."
It was the second crucial goal by Simutenkov in the 2004 U.S. Open Cup, as he drove home a penalty kick in the 1-0 semifinal win for the Wizards over the San Jose Earthquakes. Coincidentally, it was Wolff who drew that set piece as well.
The gamed opened with each team unable to convert the final pass until Wolff took the match’s first shot in the 17th minute (it went high). Davy Arnaud and Wolff combined well up top for the Wizards, creating six of their team’s first eight shots. For the Fire, the forward tandem of Damani Ralph and Dipsy Selowane were also creating chances, but Kansas City’s Nick Garcia and Conrad were up to task.
The Fire nearly stole the lead through midfielder Logan Pause in the 43rd minute as he found a gaping hole in the right side of the Wizards defense on a great first-time ball from Selowane. Pause streaked into the box and let go a tantalizing low shot begging for a tap-in by Ralph only to see it slip past Wizard’s goalkeeper Tony Meola's right post.
Three chances for the Wizards in the first 11 minutes of the second half all came up short of the mark. Wolff opened the half by intercepting a poor clearance by C.J. Brown and sending a volley well over the crossbar. After Wolff was caught offside in the 50th minute, Arnaud was just inches away from his fourth goal of the tournament with a line-drive shot from 25 yards that went wide right. In the 56th minute, a fortunate deflection off Jim Curtin put a Wizards’ service right on the head of a streaking Jack Jewsbury, but his weak shot went right to Ring.
What would be the final dangerous scoring chance for the Fire came in the 65th minute, as Damani Ralph headed an Andy Williams corner over the crossbar.
A few minutes later the Wizards began to take back some control of the match as U.S. National Team midfielder Kerry Zavagnin nearly made the game 1-0 in favor of the Wizards in the 71st minute when a pass from Wolff freed him for a right-footed shot from 22 yards out that Ring parried to his right with a diving save.
In the 87th minute, a former Chicago Fire tandem nearly scored for the Wizards. The always-active Wolff led a 4 vs. 3 Wizards counter attack and drew a defender before feeding former Fire midfielder Diego Gutierrez to his right. Gutierrez then cracked a blistering shot from eight yards that hit Ring’s head and the outside of the post.
- 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final Match Report -
Match-up: Chicago Fire vs. Kansas City Wizards
Date: September 22, 2004
Competition: 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Weather: 70 degrees, clear skies
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 F
Chicago Fire 0 0 0 0
Kansas City Wizards 0 0 1 1
KC – Igor Simutenkov 95th minute
CHI (4-4-2) – 13-Henry Ring; 6-Kelly Gray, 2-C.J. Brown (Capt.), 5-Jim Curtin, 3-Evan Whitfield; 12-Logan Pause (14-Chris Armas, 88’), 15-Jesse Marsch, 16-Andy Williams, 17-Dipsy Selowane; 11-Nate Jaqua, 8-Damani Ralph
Subs not used: 1-D.J. Countess, 7-Alex Boucicaut, 19-Craig Capano, 20-Orlando Perez, 26-Denny Clanton, 27-Andy Herron
KC (4-4-2) - 1-Tony Meola (capt.); 23-Alex Zotinca, 3-Nick Garcia, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 6-Jose Burciaga; 10-Francisco Gomez (20-Igor Simutenkov, 46’), 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 7-Diego Gutierrez, 14-Jack Jewsbury (26-Taylor Graham, 68’); 15-Josh Wolff, 22-Davy Arnaud
Subs not used: 25-Bo Oshoniyi, 4-Shavar Thomas, 8-Diego Walsh, 19-Matt Taylor, 27-Justin Detter
Stats Summary: CHI KC
Shots 9 15
Saves 4 1
Corner Kicks 8 1
Fouls 23 15
Offsides 2 4
CHI – Logan Pause (caution) 21st minute
KC – Diego Gutierrez (caution) 80.
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Senior Assistant Referee: Nathan Clement
Junior Assistant Referee: Gregory Barkley
Fourth Official: Michael Kennedy
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Josh Wolff