most of any MLS team -- once again hit the road as they travel Wednesday to face the Rochester Raging Rhinos in the quarterfinals -- the only non-MLS team to win the Open Cup since the creation of MLS. The Fire survived back-to-back matches at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass., defeating the New England Revolution in the last round, while the Rhinos dispatched the MetroStars in their last Open Cup game.
ROCHESTER RAGING RHINOS
2005 U.S. OPEN CUP: The MetroStars were once again bounced out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the first hurdle by lower division opposition, falling 3-1 to the Raging Rhinos at Frontier Field in their fourth round match. ... Defender Scott Palguta hammered home a loose ball after Metros 'keeper Zach Wells spilled a corner in the 20th minute, then 10 minutes later Mauro Carabajal doubled the lead. The Rhinos outshot the Metros 6-0 in the first half. The Rhinos won a penalty in the 58th minute when Seth Stammler tripped up Jonathan Bolaños, Rene Rivas converting from the spot, before the Metros pulled a goal back late when Sergio Galvan Rey knocked home a Tim Ward cross. ... Here's the Rochester team: Scott Vallow, Frank San Fillippo, Tenywa Bonseu, Scott Schweitzer, Scott Palguta, Rene Rivas, Kirk Wilson, Pato Aguilera (Stoian Mladenov 79), Juninho Da Silva (John Ball 64), Jonathan Bolanos, Mauro Carabajal (Greg Howes 90) ... In the third round, the Rhinos came from behind to win their first Open Cup match this year, a 2-1 win against the Virginia Beach Mariners. 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.
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.
FORM GUIDE: The Rhinos are in second place in the USL First Division with 45 points from 25 matches, now just one behind leaders Montréal Impact (who have played three fewer games). ... The Rhinos haven't lost in six matches, though they've played to 2-2 draws in their last two matches, both at Frontier Field last weekend against the Puerto Rico Islanders and the Impact. ...Kirk Wilson leads the Rhinos with nine goals in 21 matches, while former Chicago Fire midfielder and Costa Rican international Jonathan Bolaños is next with five, along with Greg Howes.
2005 U.S. OPEN CUP: The Fire returned to Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass. and hit for three goals - two in extra time - as they advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution. ... Andy Herron pounded home a volley to give the Fire an 18th-minute lead, but the Revolution pulled level just four minutes later as Shalrie Joseph headed home a Jose Cancela cross. The Fire then claimed the tie with two goals in four minutes in extra time. C.J. Brown knocked home a deflected corner kick (96) before Herron completed his brace, picking off a weak back pass before finishing calmly. Andy Dorman scored in the final minute from long range to complete the final scoreline. ... Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton, Ivan Guerrero, Jim Curtin (Will John 69), C.J. Brown, Samuel Caballero, Justin Mapp, Jesse Marsch, Thiago (Scott Buete 57), Logan Pause, Chris Rolfe (Chad Barrett 80), Andy Herron (Will Johnson 105) ... The Fire survived a tricky tie in the third round of U.S. Open Cup, allowing an early goal to USL Second Division (third tier) Western Mass Pioneers, but coming back to claim a 3-1 victory at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass. Will John scored two goals (16, 47+) to cancel out a Neil Krause strike after just five minutes, and also laid on a goal for Lubos Reiter (24). ... Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton, Jack Stewart, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown (Jared Montz 76), Leonard Griffin, Will John, Scott Buete, Jesse Marsch (Will Johnson 64), Justin Mapp (Chad Barrett 67), Andy Herron, Lubos Reiter
IN THE OPEN CUP: The Chicago Fire are the most successful MLS team in the history of the USA's oldest competition. They've won the title three times in the seven years of their existence - in their inaugural year when they did the domestic double (2-1 aet v Columbus Crew), in 2000 when they defeated Miami Fusion 2-1, and in 2003 when they defeated the MetroStars 1-0. A year ago they lost for the first time in the Open Cup Final, falling to a golden goal from the Kansas City Wizards. Twice the Fire have been dumped out at the first hurdle by lower-level competition - both times A-League clubs: in 1999 (0-1 to Rochester Raging Rhinos) and 2002 (0-1 to Milwaukee Rampage). The '99 loss was the only time they've met in the Open Cup.