Galaxy learn Open Cup opponent

CARSON, Calif. - The Los Angeles Galaxy, the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champions, will open play in this year's tournament on the road when they meet the Minnesota Thunder (A-League) in a fourth-round match on Tuesday, July 20 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Thunder defeated the Boulder Rapids Reserve 2-1 in overtime on June 30 to advance to the fourth round of the competition.

"We are looking forward to once again compete in one of the oldest club competitions in the world," said Galaxy president and general manager Doug Hamilton. "The Thunder is a team at the top of the A-League that should make for a very challenging opponent for us."

The Minnesota Thunder are the defending A-League runners-up, advancing to the final in 2003 before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Charleston Battery on September 20 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston. They are coached by Buzz Lagos, who is in his 11th season with the club (eight seasons in the A-League). During Lagos' tenure, the Thunder have played for the A-League title six times, winning the 1999 Championship.

Thus far in 2004, the Thunder are in third place in the A-League's Western Conference on 21 points through 13 matches, with a 6-4-3 record. However, they are within three points of the first place Portland Timbers and just one point behind the Vancouver Whitecaps. Forward Melvin Tarley leads the Thunder in scoring with four goals and one assist for a total of nine points. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Joseph Warren is second in the league with a .482 goals-against-average.

The Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the fourth straight time in 2003 after an emphatic 5-1 victory over the A-League's Seattle Sounders at Seahawks Stadium in Seattle. However, a 3-2 road loss to the Chicago Fire at the semifinal stage derailed their title hopes.

In 2002, the Los Angeles Galaxy qualified for the Open Cup final only to drop a 1-0 decision at the hands of the Columbus Crew just four days after the Galaxy had captured their first MLS Cup championship. In 2001, the Los Angeles Galaxy won their lone Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, thanks to a 2-1 defeat of the New England Revolution, a dramatic extra time goal from Danny Califf giving them the title.

During the 2000 Open Cup, the Galaxy also made it to the semifinals, again running into the Chicago Fire, coming up on the short end of a 2-1 score.

Los Angeles Galaxy all-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup history

1999 - quarterfinalists
2000 - semifinalists
2001 - champions
2002 - finalists
2003 - semifinalists

Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer cup competition in the United States and among the oldest in the world. Open to affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is a 90-year-old, single-elimination tournament based upon similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.

The Los Angeles Galaxy will host the largest fireworks show in Southern California after their match on the Fourth of July against the San Jose Earthquakes at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. As was the case a year ago, Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars will be responsible for the production, presented by the Daily Breeze. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the Galaxy toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.

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