"We are obviously very happy to win this U.S. Open Cup. It helps a little, but not all the way of taking some of the sting out of last week's loss. As far as a club in its third year, to win three championships is something special," said Chicago Fire head coach Bob Bradley.
The first goal of the game came just moments before halftime when Fire captain Peter Nowak hit a precise 20-yard through ball to Ante Razov. With one touch, Razov beat Fusion goalkeeper Nick Rimando and then played the ball across to Hristo Stoitchkov, who smacked the ball into an open Fusion goal for a 1-0 Fire lead.
The Fusion and Fire exchanged an arsenal of shots on goal in the first half with both teams hitting the crossbar. In the 19th minute, Fire teen sensation DaMarcus Beasley hit a looping header that almost caught Fusion ?keeper Rimando off his line. Back peddling, Rimando was able to get a hand on the ball and tip it off the cross bar and out of bounds for a Fire corner kick. Fusion forward Diego Serna was denied by the post in the 29th minute when he controlled a cross from the left-side and fired a shot from 10 yards out.
The Fire were awarded a penalty kick in the 72nd minute when Fusion defender Tim Sahaydak brought down Peter Nowak inside the Fusion penalty box. Fusion goalkeeper Rimando dove to his left and stopped Ante Razov's well-placed penalty kick, preserving the one-goal deficit.
The Fire secured the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title in the 88th minute when Fusion defender Tyrone Marshall inadvertantly hit in an own goal off a cross from the Fire's Beasley.
Miami were able to get one back in extra-time when Welton picked up a loose ball inside the box to tally his sixth goal of the tournament, but it was too little to late for the Fusion as the referee blew the final whistle moments after the restart.
The goal for Welton put him atop the U.S. Open Cup scoring chart with 14 points, one better than teammate Diego Serna and the Fire's Josh Wolff, who both ended with 13 points. The goal also tied him with Wolff as the tournament's leading goal scorer with six.
Heading into tonight's match, the Miami Fusion were winless all-time when the temperature is below 65 degrees, posting a 0-7-1 record. Ironically, tonight's temperature was a crisp 64 degrees.
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 87-year-old single elimination tournament.
2000 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP GAME REPORT
|Participants:||Miami Fusion (MLS) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Competition:||2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final|
|Venue:||Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)|
|Date:||October 21, 2000 - Kickoff 7 p.m. (CT)|
|Weather:||64 degrees - Cool, Clear|
CHI - Hristo Stoitchkov, (Ante Razov), 44,
CHI - Own goal (Tyrone Marshall), 88,
MIA - Welton, (Roy Lassister), 96+.
MIA - 18-Nick Rimando, 4-Tim Sahaydak, 25-Pablo Mastroeni (capt.), 15-Tyrone Marshall, 7- Brian Kamler, 23-Jeff Bilyk (10-Andy Williams, 75), 6-Jay Heaps, 20-Henry Gutierrez (9-Roy Lassiter, 63), 5-Martin Machon, 16-Welton, 17-Diego Serna.
CHI - 18-Zach Thornton, 2-C.J. Brown, 5-Lubis Kubik, 11-Diego Gutierrez (6-Tom Soehn, 86), 3- Evan Whitfield, 14-Chris Armas, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 21- Dema Kovalenko, 10-Peter Nowak (capt.) (15-Jesse Marsch, 84), 8-Hristo Stoitchkov, 9-Ante Razov (16-Josh Wolff, 84).
|Diego Serna (caution)||20,|
|C.J. Brown (caution)||24,|
|Jay Heaps (caution)||27,|
|Jeff Bilyk (caution)||36,|
|DaMarcus Beasley (caution)||48,|
|Ante Razov (caution)||55,|
|Tim Sahaydak (caution)||72,|
|Hristo Stoicthkov (caution)||75.|