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Eastern Conference Championship

Metros encounter Rhinos in Open Cup

the only non-MLS team to win the Dewar Trophy since the creation of the league, and winners against MLS teams seven times in the Open Cup -- take on a MetroStars team that has fallen to second-tier clubs three times, including last year.

ROCHESTER RAGING RHINOS
IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP: The Rhinos are the only non-MLS team to win the U.S. Open Cup since the beginning of the league, claiming a 2-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids in 1999. That was the second time they reached the final, losing 2-0 to D.C. United in 1996. In their magical run to winning in 1999, they knocked off three MLS sides: Dallas Burn in the quarterfinals (2-1 aet) and Columbus Crew in the semifinals (3-2) before the win against Colorado. ... Remarkably, the Rhinos hold a winning record against MLS teams, winning seven of the 13 games in which they've faced opposition from the top flight. One of those came in a penalty shootout - a year ago, when they knocked off the New England Revolution after a 1-1 draw in the fourth round. They had defeated the Chicago Fire Reserves (PDL) 1-0 in the third round, then lost 1-0 to the Charleston Battery (A-League) in the quarters. ... While these two clubs have met on a number of occasions in friendlies, this is their first meeting in the U.S. Open Cup.

THIS YEAR: The Rhinos came from behind to win their first Open Cup match this year, a 2-1 win against the Virginia Beach Mariners in the third round on July 12 at Frontier Field. John Barry Nusum (35) gave Virginia Beach the lead, before a Rene Rivas penalty (50) and Kirk Wilson goal (80) gave Rochester the win. By virtue of their 2004 record, the Rhinos entered the competition at the third round along with three other teams; the other four eligible USL First Division sides entered the Open Cup at the second round.

FORM GUIDE: The Rhinos are in third place in the USL First Division with 34 points from 20 matches, one behind the second-place Richmond Kickers (with a game in hand) and four adrift of leaders Montréal Impact (who have played three fewer games). ... The Rhinos haven't won in three matches, with two scoreless draws (against the Richmond Kickers) wrapped around a 2-1 loss to the Virginia Beach Mariners. Kirk Wilson leads the Rhinos with eight goals in 16 matches, while former Chicago Fire midfielder and Costa Rican international Jonathan Bolaños is next with four.

METROSTARS
IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP: The MetroStars reached a cup final for the first time in club history in 2003, though they lost to the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup Final through a Damani Ralph goal at Giants Stadium. Last year, the MetroStars were eliminated for the second time by the Charleston Battery in their opening match, falling 1-0 in the fourth round. In 1999, they were hammered 4-1 by the Battery in a second-round loss. ... Three times the MetroStars have been semifinalists, in their first entrance into the competition in 1997 (losing 1-2 to Dallas Burn), 1998 (losing 0-1 to Columbus Crew) and 2000 (losing 2-3 to Miami Fusion). ... The MetroStars have lost to A-League competition three times, also failing in 1999 to the Staten Island Vipers (2-3) in addition to the two losses to the Battery. ... While these two clubs have met on a number of occasions in friendlies, this is their first meeting in the U.S. Open Cup.

LAST YEAR: For the second time ever, the MetroStars fell to the Charleston Battery in their first Open Cup match. A Steve Klein goal three minutes after the second-half restart gave the Battery the victory, though they had to survive a late penalty when Eddie Gaven was brought down in the area. But Mike Magee sent the spot kick off the crossbar.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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