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Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Galaxy To Compete for 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Title

Chicago Defeats D.C., Los Angeles Tops Houston in Semifinals;
Final to Be Broadcast Live on Fox Soccer Channel


CHICAGO (Sept. 6, 2006) – The defending Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy will face the three-time champion Chicago Fire in the 2006 U.S. Open Cup final at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Los Angeles defeated the Houston Dynamo, 3-1, on Wednesday night while the Fire posted a 3-0 victory against D.C. United to earn a berth in the tournament final, which will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

The Chicago Fire kicked off Wednesday evening at their brand new home with a relatively calm and scoreless first half against D.C. In the second half, however, Fire forward Justin Mapp opened the scoring in the 58th minute and rookie Calen Carr stepped it up to what is becoming regular Open Cup form for the youngster, scoring two goals to clinch the semifinal win. Carr has played a role in five of the Fire's seven 2006 U.S. Open Cup goals, scoring three, assisting on one and drawing the penalty that Andy Herron converted in the Fire's 2-1 quarterfinal win against the New England Revolution.

Mapp's goal came off of a Chris Armas pass over the top that Mapp did well to control, shrugging of his defender and forcing United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to commit before slotting the ball into the net. Carr's goal came in the 76th minute after a free kick was flicked into the area by Nate Jaqua. Carr beat Facundo Erpen to the ball, driving it past Perkins for a 2-0 Fire lead. The final goal of the match came in stoppage time as Ivan Guerrero cut a ball back to Carr, who took a touch in the area before sending it into the top of the net. The Fire head to their fifth Open Cup final without their captain as Armas was sent off in the 77th minute.

Shortly after the end of the match in Chicago, the opening whistle blew at The Home Depot Center, kicking off the semifinal encounter between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy got goals from Alan Gordon, Landon Donovan and Santino Quaranta to post a 3-1 win against the Dynamo.

The Galaxy struck first in the sixth minute when Gordon headed home a Donovan corner. Dwayne DeRosario got it back for Houston, finding the back of the net just six minutes later to make it 1-1. Los Angeles took the lead in the 44th minute, when Donovan took a free kick, sending the ball into the side netting from 20 yards out. Quaranta provided the game-clinching third goal in stoppage time when Gordon fed Peter Vagenas a ball. Vagenas dropped it back to Quaranta, who beat his defender and sent it past Dynamo ‘keeper Pat Onstad.

This will mark the first time Chicago and Los Angeles meet in an Open Cup final, although the teams have previously faced each other three times in tournament history, all three times in the semifinals. Each time, the winner of that match went on to win the Open Cup title, with the Fire coming away with wins in 2000 and 2003, while the Galaxy was victorious in 2001. Chicago also had their named etched on the Dewar Cup in 1998 and the Galaxy in 2005.

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.

2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule/Results

Semifinal Round Results

Qualified Teams
MLS (12): Chicago Fire, CD 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 First Division (8): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Seattle Sounders, Virginia Beach Mariners

USL Second Division (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.)