Justin Mapp got an assist, but the Fire still lost.
J.G. Hoop/MLS/WireImage.com

Fire to defend Open Cup vs. Crew

CHICAGO - After a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the MetroStars last Saturday at Soldier Field, the Chicago Fire will travel to Columbus to take on the Crew on Tuesday as the Fire begins their defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup crown in a fourth round match-up from Crew Stadium (6:30 p.m. CT). Live audio is available exclusively at www.Chicago-Fire.com.

Chicago - the most successful MLS team in Open Cup play - has captured the Dewar Cup Trophy three times and will look to build on their impressive 15-3-1 Open Cup record during the midweek contest in Columbus. After their match against the Crew and in the midst of their busiest month of the season, the Fire will return to MLS action, facing the MetroStars in the second game of the home-and - home series on Saturday from Giants Stadium.

The winner of the Fire-Crew match will take on either D.C. United or the Richmond Kickers (A-League, USL). United and Richmond will square off in the final match of the fourth round on Wednesday at the University of Richmond Stadium in Richmond, Va. at 6 p.m. CT. Should the Fire emerge from the fourth round Tuesday evening, they will have to take to the road again in order to advance through to the semifinals. In the quarterfinal round, Chicago would play either Richmond at the University of Richmond Stadium (6 p.m. CT) or D.C. United at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (6:30 p.m. CT) on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Chicago Fire @ Columbus Crew
4th Round - Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Tuesday, July 20 @ 6:30 p.m. CT
Crew Stadium
Columbus, Ohio

TV: None
Audio: www.Chicago-Fire.com

Game notes

Fire and Crew in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
While the Fire will be defending its 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup crown, Columbus will look to take the next step towards its second domestic Cup championship, the first being its Open Cup title in 2002. Despite the success of the Eastern Conference foes in the competition, the two sides have only met once in the tournament when they battled in the 1998 Final. The meeting came at Soldier Field on Oct. 30, 1998, when Fire forward and homegrown product Frank Klopas netted a "golden goal" in the 99th minute to lift the Fire to a 2-1 victory and the first of their three Open Cup titles. That win also made Chicago only the second team in league history to capture "The Double," achieved by winning the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in the same season.

Fire history in the Open Cup

  • The Fire are the only MLS team to capture the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup multiple times, lifting the Dewar Cup twice at Soldier Field (Oct. 30, 1998 vs. Columbus, Oct. 21, 2000 vs. Miami) and once at Giants Stadium (Oct. 15 vs. MetroStars). The "Men in Red" have dominated in the tournament, outscoring opponents 40-17 all-time in U.S. Open Cup play.
  • Tuesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup contest will mark the Fire's second visit to Columbus in less than three weeks and will be the third match-up between the Eastern Conference foes in 2004. Columbus has won both regular season contests this season, but Chicago still holds a commanding 12-7-3 lead in the all-time regular season series and has held its own in Columbus by registering a 4-5-2 mark at Ohio Stadium (1998-99) and Crew Stadium (1999-present).
  • Chicago has more than held their own against MLS opponents in Open Cup play. The Fire hold an impressive 9-1-1 record against fellow top-flight opponents, with the only loss coming in a 1-0 overtime defeat to Los Angeles in the 2001 semifinals, a result that snapped the Fire's eight-game U.S. Open Cup win streak.
  • In its 11 contests against League foes, the Fire have persevered in close contests, going 8-0-1 in one-goal games, including last year's Open Cup Final, which the Fire won 1-0 over the MetroStars at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. In addition, Chicago won the only shootout in the team's Open Cup history after a 1-1 draw with San Jose on July 22, 1998.