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Chicago Fire to Host 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship Match at Soldier Field On October 21

CHICAGO (Wednesday, August 30, 2000) - The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship match is returning to Soldier Field in Chicago. The Chicago Fire, who won the 1998 Open Cup crown in front of a supportive hometown crowd, will play host to the 2000 U.S. Open Cup championship match on Saturday, October 21 against either the NY/NJ MetroStars or the Miami Fusion. Kickoff for the match is 7 p.m. CT and fans can purchase tickets by calling 888/MLS-FIRE (888/657-3473).

The MetroStars-Fusion semifinal winner will be determined on Sept. 12 when the teams meet at Mitchel Field in Uniondale, N.Y., in a match being televised live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol. The two Fox Sports World channels will also televise the championship match live from Chicago on Oct. 21. Tickets for the MetroStars-Fusion match can be purchased via all TicketMaster outlets or by calling 888/4-METROTIX (888/463-8769).

The Chicago Fire, who will be making their second finals appearance in three years, will have a chance to make U.S. Open Cup history by becoming the first MLS team to win two U.S. Open Cup championships and possibly the first MLS team to "do the double" twice. The Fire won the 1998 U.S. Open Cup title at Solider Field in front of 18,165 fans and went on to do the "double" by winning the Open Cup and the MLS Cup in the same season.

The Chicago Fire qualified for the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship match after Josh Wolff's golden goal in the second period of overtime giving the Fire a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 23 in the Western semifinal. The Fire began their Open Cup run with a 4-0 win over the Texas Rattlers (D3) in the second round on June 14. In the third round, the Fire won the Chicago derby when Josh Wolff scored the game-winning goal in the 22nd minute to give the Fire a 1-0 win over the PDL champion Chicago Sockers. Wolff left an ever-lasting impression on the Dallas Burn in the quarterfinals as he went onto score four goals in the Fire's 5-1 win at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill. Wolff currently leads all scorers in the 2000 Open Cup with 13 points (6 goals, 1 assist).

The 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup began with an initial field of 154 teams. Thirty-two entrants reached the second round which included all 12 Major League Soccer teams, nine A-League qualifying teams, seven D3 Pro League teams and four U.S. Amateur Soccer Association or Premier Development Legue teams.

Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in the United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the U.S., the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 87-year-old-single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.