A second consecutive trip to the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is on the line Wednesday night for the Chicago Fire (5-9-8, 23 pts.), who will return to its former home of Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium (formerly Cardinal Stadium) in Naperville, Ill., at 7:30 p.m. CT to take on the A-League's Charleston Battery (6-15-6, 24 pts.) in a semifinal showdown. While the defending champion Fire is in pursuit of a remarkable fourth Dewar Trophy in just its seventh year of existence, the "Men in Red" are also searching for their first back-to-back appearances in the championship match of the nation's oldest soccer tournament. The Fire has had plenty of success when reaching the final four of the competition, recording a 3-1-0 record in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals heading into tomorrow night's match. General admission seats for the match are available and cost $20, with discounts still available for groups of 10 or more. Fans can purchase their tickets online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE. NOTE TO MEDIA: Media members will be able to park on the upper level of the parking structure located at the corner of Highland Avenue and Brainard Street. You will be required to show your 2004 Fire season credential to enter the lot.
Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - Semifinals
Wednesday, August 25 @ 7:30 p.m. CT
Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium - Naperville, Ill.
Audio: www.Chicago-Fire.com (English)
Chicago Fire ACE/Tru-Fit injury report
Armas, Chris - R knee inflammation - questionable
Razov, Ante - R ankle bone spur - out
Exclusive coverage of Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal on www.Chicago-Fire.com
While the best way to follow tomorrow night's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal between the Fire and Charleston Battery will be in person, those who can't make it out to Naperville can still follow the match through the team's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com. The broadcast team of Chris Doran and Kenn Tomasch will provide exclusive live audio coverage of the match and fans can also follow the action using MLS's real-time MatchTracker.
Perfect home mark part of Fire's continuing U.S. Open Cup tradition
Despite their short seven-year history in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, the Chicago Fire have already amassed a rich tradition in the country's oldest knockout soccer competition. The Fire's remarkable 17-3-1 Open Cup record has led to five semifinal appearances and three championship rings, making Chicago the most successful MLS team in the history of the tournament and the only top-flight squad to lift the Dewar Cup trophy on multiple occasions. Much of the Fire's success has been accomplished at various venues across Chicagoland that the team has called home, as the Fire has amassed a perfect 8-0-0 home mark in Open Cup play. Part of that success was achieved at tomorrow's home field of Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, where the "Men in Red" recorded wins in last year's quarterfinals and semifinals en route to its third title. The Fire is 3-0-0 all-time in Naperville after also collecting a win over the Dallas Burn in the quarterfinals of the 2000 tournament.
Potential hosts for 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final announced
U.S. Soccer has announced that Chicago, Charleston, S.C., and Kansas City, Mo., have been named as potential hosts for the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, pending the outcomes of this week's semifinal contests. The Fire do not completely control their hosting fate, as they will have to hope that the San Jose Earthquakes first are able to defeat the Kansas City Wizards in tonight's other semifinal. Should the Fire and San Jose emerge victorious from their semifinal contests, Chicago would play host to the Earthquakes for the 2004 Open Cup championship on Wednesday, Sep. 22 at Soldier Field at 7:30 p.m. CT. If Chicago and Kansas City are the title combatants, it will be the Wizards who host the Sep. 22 final at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., at 7:30 p.m. CT. Soldier Field has twice played host to the Final of the U.S. Open Cup, with the Fire claiming both the 1998 and 2000 tournament crowns on its home turf.