Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn., 7 p.m. CT
For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Minnesota Thunder meet in the U.S. Open Cup when the teams battle at the Metrodome on Tuesday. In 2002, the Galaxy rolled to a comprehensive 4-0 victory on the way to their second Open Cup final, following their only victory with a loss to the Columbus Crew. For the Thunder, it's a third opportunity to overcome MLS opposition in the Open Cup, something they haven't done in the first two attempts.
OPEN CUP HISTORY: This is the fourth time the Thunder have reached the competition proper of the U.S. Open Cup, and the third time they've faced MLS opposition, losing every time. A year ago Minnesota didn't qualify, but they did in 2002. The Thunder defeated the D3 San Diego Gauchos 6-1 at home in the second round, but lost 4-0 at home to the eventual finalist Galaxy in the third round. The Thunder also qualified in 2000, defeating amateur side Mexico SC (California) 7-0 in the second round, but then losing 2-0 to the Dallas Burn in the round-of-16. The Thunder's first Open Cup appearance came in 1999 when they were the victim of the one of the giant-killing exploits of the PDL Mid-Michigan Bucks, losing 2-1 in the second round.
2004 OPEN CUP: The Thunder qualified for the U.S. Open Cup when they defeated Milwaukee Wave United in a home-and-home qualifying series. Minnesota won 1-0 at home at May 21 thanks to an overtime winner from Chris Vorenkamp (110), earning qualification on aggregate when the teams played to a scoreless draw the following day. ... Then in the second round, a 116th-minute goal from Federico Juarez helped the Thunder survive with a 2-1 victory against Boulder Rapids Reserve (PDL/fourth division), David Castellanos scoring a 19th-minute goal to give Minnesota a lead before John Pulido leveled terms (42) for Colorado's reserve side. ... Here's the team Buzz Lagos lined up: Joe Warren; Dustin Branan, Chris Brunt (Brian Roberts 105), Mike Wilson; Chris Vorenkamp (Frederico Juarez 46), Jeff Matteo (Brent Jacquette 90), Kevin Friedland (Zafer Kilickan 65), Jay Alberts, Marco Ferruzzi; David Castellanos, Melvin Tarley
2004 A-LEAGUE: The Thunder are tied for second place in the Western Conference in the A-League, with 30 points from 16 matches, level with the Portland Timbers. The Thunder have by far the best defensive record in the A-League, with just seven goals allowed. At home, the Thunder also have the best form in the league, with nine wins in 11 matches and just four goals allowed (18 goals scored). The Thunder come into the match riding a three-match winning streak (all at home), coming off a 3-0 victory against the Calgary Mustangs last Thursday (Kevin Friedland 14; Dustin Branan 21; Melvin Tarley 56). Here's the team Buzz Lagos ran out: Warren, Branan, Brunt, Jacquette, Juarez, Alberts (Magee 75), Tenoff, Friedland, Matteo (Ferruzzi 73), Tarley, Menyongar (Castellanos 69)
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Galaxy have not failed to reach the semifinals in their last five U.S. Open Cup appearances, but saw their two-year run of Open Cup finals ended a year ago with a loss to the Chicago Fire in the semifinals. ... The 2001 U.S. Open Cup winners have lost just four times in 18 Open Cup matches - two of those coming against Columbus Crew, once in the quarterfinals in 1999, and once in the 2002 final. The other two losses both came to the Fire, in the semifinals in both 2000 and 2003. ... A year ago, the Galaxy defeated the PDL Fresno Fuego 3-1 in the fourth round (Arturo Torres 25, Alejandro Moreno 33, Paul Broome 89 - Eddie Gutierrez 23), then hammered the Seattle Sounders 5-1 at Seahawks Stadium in the quarterfinals behind a Carlos Ruiz hat trick (Jason Farrell 70 - Carlos Ruiz 3 pen, 87, 90, Antonio Martinez 39, Alejandro Moreno 67), before losing 3-2 to the Fire at Cardinal Stadium (DaMarcus Beasley 55, Damani Ralph 63, Ante Razov 69 - Alejandro Moreno 73, Arturo Torres 75). ... In the third-round meeting between the Galaxy and Thunder in 2002, Chris Albright scored twice to lead Los Angeles to victory (Moreno 18; Albright 26, 70; Ruiz 59). ... Here's Sigi Schmid's team on the night: Reis - Hendrickson, Marshall, Waibel, Frye, Ochoa, Victorine, Albright, Moreno, Jones, Ruiz ... If the Galaxy get past the Minnesota Thunder, then they will again face the San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals, at Titan Stadium in Fullerton. The Galaxy have eliminated the Quakes twice at the quarterfinal stage, in 2000 and 2002.