U.S. Open Cup

U.S. Open Cup

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Semifinals: United vs. Fire.

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.

When: Today, 8:30 p.m.

Live Audio: www.dcunited.com.

How They Got Here: United defeated Columbus, 2-1, in overtime, and New York, 3-1; Chicago beat Kansas City, 2-0, and New England, 2-1.

Today's Other Semifinal: Houston at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

The Final: Sept. 27, at a location to be determined. If United advances, it will play on the road (RFK Stadium is unavailable because of a Nationals game).

What Is the Open Cup? A single-elimination tournament, modeled after the prestigious English FA Cup, open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States. Founded in 1914, it is among the oldest soccer competitions in the world and has crowned champions ranging from Brooklyn Field Club and Bethlehem Steel FC in the early years to the Los Angeles Galaxy last year. Since MLS was founded in 1996, its clubs have captured the title every year except 1999, when the second-division Rochester Raging Rhinos won it. All eight quarterfinalists this year were from MLS. United was the tournament champion in 1996 and runner-up the following year. Chicago won the title in 1998, 2000 and '03, and finished second in '04.

Prize Money: The winning team will receive $100,000, the runner-up $50,000.

Breaking a Tie: If the match is even after regulation, there will be 30 minutes of overtime and, if necessary, penalty kicks.

Of Note: United and the Fire -- the top teams in the Eastern Conference -- have met twice in the regular season, with D.C. winning at home, 1-0, in June and earning a 1-1 tie on the road in July. . . . Both clubs played Sunday -- United won at Chivas USA, 2-1, to snap a five-game winless streak, and Chicago beat visiting New York, 2-1, to extend its unbeaten streak to five (4-0-1). . . . United F Jaime Moreno (knee) is out, but MF Christian Gomez, who left Sunday's match in the second half, is healthy. D John Wilson will have minor knee surgery today. . . . Gomez, who scored both of United's goals in Sunday's win over Chivas USA, was named MLS player of the week yesterday. . . . United F Jamil Walker and Fire F Andy Herron have each scored three goals in this tournament.

-- Steven Goff

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