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Galaxy, Fire To Square Off in 2006 U.S. Open Cup Final


LOS ANGELES SEEKS REPEAT, CHICAGO GOES FOR NO. 4: Either the Chicago Fire or Los Angeles Galaxy have appeared in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final every year since 2000, and on Sept. 27 both teams will be on the field at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., as the teams meet for the first time in the final live on Fox Soccer Channel. Chicago has won the championship three times – 1998, 2000 and 2003 – while losing in 2004. Los Angeles has claimed the title twice, in 2001 and 2005, while losing in 2002. Fans should expect a close contest, as each of the finals involving either of these teams have been decided by one goal, including three overtime games.

TEAMS PREVIEW OPEN CUP FINAL AT SOCCER HOUSE: Both finalists sent representatives to Soccer House - U.S. Soccer headquarters in Chicago - for a press conference on Monday, Sept. 25. The Dewar Challenge Trophy was the centerpiece of the U.S. Soccer Trophy Room, as a full contingent of media came out. Frank Yallop and Landon Donovan from the Galaxy and Dave Sarachan and C.J. Brown of the Fire met the press for just more than half an hour. Listen to the formal press conference via this ussoccer.com podcast, and watch highlights with all_access video.

FOX SOCCER CHANNEL TO TELEVISE FINAL: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final returns to Fox Soccer Channel live at 7 p.m. CT. Max Bretos (play-by-play) and Chris Sullivan (color) will be joined by reporter Christian Miles to call the game live from Toyota Park. Fox Soccer Channel acquired exclusive rights to broadcast the Open Cup final through 2010 as part of a five-year deal announced in July.

$180,000 IN PRIZE MONEY TO BE HANDED OUT: Not just the Open Cup Champion walks away with a payday. A total of six of the 42 teams will divide $180,000 in prize money for their performances. The champion will win $100,000, with the runner up earning $50,000. Another $30,000 has already been claimed by lower division teams. The Charleston Battery claimed the Division II (USL First Division) prize of $10,000 and the Wilmington Hammerheads claimed the Division III (USL Second Division) claimed the $10,000 at that level. At the amateur level, Roma FC (USASA) and the Carolina Dynamo (PDL) each earned $5,000 for advancing to the fourth round and being even in tiebreakers.

2006 U.S. OPEN CUP LEADING SCORERS: Three players have scored four goals in the 2006 U.S. Open Cup, with the Charleston Battery’s Ben Hollingsworth getting four in three games and Tomas Boltnar (Des Moines Menace) and Randi Patterson (Carolina Dynamo) scoring four in four. Andy Herron (Chicago), Calen Carr (Chicago) and Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) have three goals a piece and could challenge for the 2006 U.S. Open Cup scoring lead.

  Name Team Goals Assists Points
1. Tomas Boltnar Des Moines Menace 4 1 9
2. Ben Hollingsworth Charleston Battery 4 0 8
  Randi Patterson Carolina Dynamo 4 0 8
3. Anthony Maher Wilmington Hammerheads 3 1 7
  Calen Carr Chicago Fire 3 1 7
  Landon Donovan Los Angeles Galaxy 3 1 7
4. Alejandro Moreno Houston Dynamo 3 0 6
  Almir Barbosa New Hampshire Phantoms 3 0 6
  Edwin Disang Des Moines Menace 2 2 6
  Jamil Walker D.C. United 3 0 6
  Kenny Cooper FC Dallas 3 0 6
  Nate Jafta Michigan Bucks 1 4 6
           

QUICK HITS

  • The Chicago Fire are one of seven teams to win the Open Cup three times and can become the fifth team to win the Cup four times. The Los Angeles Galaxy are looking to become the eighth team with three titles. 
  • Chicago captain Chris Armas is suspended for the U.S. Open Cup final due to a red card issued in the Fire’s semifinal match vs. D.C. United.
  • The Los Angeles Galaxy can become the first back-to-back champion since the New York Pancyprian-Freedom did so in 1982 and 1983.
  • Eight different teams have won the tournament in back-to-back years. Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania won back-to-back championships twice (1915-16, 1918-19). New York Greek-American is the only team to win three consecutive championships, doing so from 1967-1969. 
  • Three MLS teams have won the “double” – winning the MLS and U.S. Open Cups in the same year. The Galaxy did so last year to join the 1996 D.C. United and the 1998 Chicago Fire. 
  • The U.S. Open Cup Final has gone into overtime four times since 1996, and three of those games involved participants in this year’s final. In 1998 the Fire won on a 99th minute goal from Frank Klopas, and in 2001 Danny Califf scored a 92nd minute winner for the Galaxy. The Fire lost in overtime to the Wizards in 2004. In 1997, the Dallas Burn beat D.C. United 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout. 
  • The home team is 7-1 in U.S. Open Cup finals since MLS began participating in the tournament. In 2003, the Fire became the only road team to win a Final. Two finals, 1997 and 1999, were played at neutral sites. 
  • A total of 61 different teams have won the U.S. Open Cup. The Kansas City Wizards were the last team to be engraved onto the Dewar Cup for the first time in 2004. 
  • Defense is said to win championships, and that certainly may be the case in the U.S. Open Cup final as the last three title bouts were 1-0 affairs. 
  • In 2006, the goals per game average came back down to 3.20 goals per game, after spiking to 4.55 goals per game in 2005. In 2004 the average was 3.18 and in 2003 it was 3.64. 
  • In the 2006 Open Cup, the Fire allowed one goal in three games, while the Galaxy allowed two goals in three games. In league play, Los Angles is ranked second in the league allowing just 1.11 goals per game, while Chicago is third allowing 1.18 goals per game. 
  • Home field advantage is apparent in this year’s Open Cup. Chicago and Los Angeles each won three consecutive home games to make the final and since the quarterfinals the home team has won each game. Home teams advanced in 29 of 40 games and have scored roughly two thirds of all Open Cup goals this year (85 to 43). 
  • There were 17 shutouts during 2006, including a pair of 0-0 ties. 
  • A total of five matches were decided with penalty kicks. 
  • There were 92 different players to score the 128 total goals in 2006, while 69 players recorded assists. There were three own goals in 2006. 
  • Kenny Cooper of FC Dallas scored the only hat trick in 2006. Calen Carr, Landon Donovan and Andy Herron each recorded two goals in a match to join a total of 10 players to have multi-goal performances. 
  • Los Angeles Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas won the U.S. Open Cup with the Galaxy in 2001. He scored the golden goal for the Galaxy in a 2001 semifinal match against the Chicago Fire and celebrated by running up the hill behind the goal in Fullerton’s Titan Stadium.
  • Terry Vaughn has earned the honor of refereeing the Open Cup final for the second time in three years, and he was the center referee for the 2004 Open Cup final between Chicago and Kansas City. Michael Kennedy, who was also the fourth official in 2004, joins Chris Strickland and Richard Eddy on the crew.

CAREER OPEN CUP GOALS BY PLAYERS APPEARING IN THE 2006 FINAL: Los Angeles defender Chris Albright leads all players on the U.S. Open Cup final rosters with eight career U.S. Open Cup goals, although most of those goals were scored while he was a forward with D.C. United. In total, 18 players have scored U.S. Open Cup goals and three of those players – Chris Rolfe, Herculez Gomez and Logan Pause – scored goals while playing with lower division teams. Gomez is the only player to score in an Open Cup final, scoring the winner for the Galaxy in last year’s title game. It should be noted that the game winning goal for the Chicago Fire in 2000 – the last time the Final was played in Chicago – was an own goal put in by the Galaxy’s Tyrone Marshall while he was playing with the Miami Fusion.

U.S. NATIONAL TEAM TIES IN OPEN CUP FINAL: Many of the players on the Galaxy and Fire rosters have ties to one of the U.S. Men’s National Teams. Landon Donovan and Chris Albright represented the U.S. at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, while Donovan was joined by Tony Sanneh, Chris Armas and Cobi Jones at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Jones, the all-time U.S. capwinner, also played at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups. In addition to the players above, Kevin Hartman, Ugo Ihemelu, Kyle Martino and Santino Quaranta of the Galaxy have caps with the full MNT, while C.J. Brown, Diego Gutierrez, Nate Jaqua, Justin Mapp, Chris Rolfe and Zach Thornton from Chicago have also appeared for the U.S. Numerous players on each team have U.S. Youth National Team ties, including Donovan, Steve Cronin, Quavas Kirk, Memo Gonzalez and Nathan Sturgis of the Galaxy and Mapp and Craig Capano of the Fire who are all alumni of the U.S. Soccer Residency program in Bradenton, Fla.

HISTORY OF THE DEWAR CUP: The oldest trophy in United States team sports history was donated to the American Amateur Football Association in 1912 by Sir Thomas R. Dewar, a British distiller, sportsman and philanthropist during a AAFA (now United States Amateur Soccer Association) visit to London prior to the 1912 Olympics. The trophy was originally purchased for $500 and given in the hope of promoting soccer in the United States and in the name of Anglo-American friendship. The cup was first awarded to the Yonkers Football Club (N.Y.) in 1912 after they defeated the Hollywood Inn Football Club (N.Y.) at the Lennox Oval in New York City. The trophy was officially adopted as the U.S. Open Cup trophy prior to the Brooklyn Field Club's inaugural championship in 1914 in Pawtucket, R.I. The trophy was retired in 1979, but was refurbished by the USASA in 1997 and was presented to the 1997 and 1998 Open Cup winners, before returning to the National Soccer Hall of Fame where it resides permanently in Oneonta, N.Y.

ABOUT THE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP: 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 90-year-old single-elimination tournament. In a nutshell, the U.S. Open Cup is very similar to domestic cup competitions popular throughout Europe, South America and the rest of the world. Cup competitions, which usually run concurrent with a country's league season, are open in the early stages to any club that can qualify, giving local amateur teams a chance to compete against the best teams a country has to offer. In 1999, the U.S. Open Cup was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to honor the long-time soccer supporter and pioneer.

2006 U.S. OPEN CUP REWIND: When the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup began on June 7, there were 42 teams still alive with the goal of making it to the Open Cup final. Below are a list of the teams that qualified for the U.S. Open Cup, including all 12 MLS teams and all eight U.S.-based USL First Division teams. Teams from the USL Second Division, the USL Premier Development League and the USASA faced qualifying either via league matches or regional tournaments.

2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participants:
MLS (12):
Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake

USL Division I (8): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Seattle Sounders, Virginia Beach Mariners

USL Division II (6): Charlotte Eagles, Cincinnati Kings, New Hampshire Phantoms, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Wilmington Hammerheads

USL Premier Development League (8): BYU Cougars, Cape Cod Crusaders, Carolina Dynamo, Des Moines Menace, Laredo Heat, Michigan Bucks, Ogden Outlaws, Virginia Beach Submariners

USASA (8): Allied SC (Reg. I; Baltimore, Md.), Arizona Sahuaros (Region IV; Phoenix, Ariz.), Chicago Lightning (Reg. II; Chicago, Ill.), Croatian Eagles (Reg. II; Franklin, Wisc.), Dallas Mustang Legends (Reg. III; Dallas, Texas), Milford International (Reg. I; Bridgeport, Conn.), Roma FC (Reg. III; Garland, Texas), Sonoma County Sol (Region IV; Santa Rosa, Calif.)

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