Quakes brace for Minnesota's Thunder

James Griffin Stadium, St. Paul, Minn., 7 p.m. CT

The Minnesota Thunder will be aiming to achieve a rare California double when they play host to the San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. The Thunder knocked off the Los Angeles Galaxy in the fourth round, their first-ever success against an MLS team. For the Earthquakes, the Thunder upset could be an omen for a first-ever Open Cup semifinal appearance in club history, the Galaxy having ended the Quakes bid at the quarterfinal stage three years running from 2000-02.

2004 OPEN CUP: The Thunder defeated an MLS team in the Open Cup for the first time in club history when they knocked off the Galaxy on July 20 in the round-of-16. ... The only goal of the game came in the 21st minute from former MLS performers, when Jeff Matteo swung in a free kick from the right, finding Chris Brunt who headed home. ... Here's the team Buzz Lagos ran out: Joe Warren - Dustin Branan, Brent Jaquette, Chris Brunt - Freddy Juarez, Godfrey Tenoff, Jeff Matteo, Jay Alberts (89: Amos Magee), Kevin Friedland - Johnny Menyonger (76: Marco Ferruzzi), Melvin Tarley (82: David Castellanos ... 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.

OPEN CUP HISTORY: This is the fourth time the Thunder have reached the competition proper of the U.S. Open Cup, and the farthest they've progressed. 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 lost 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 A-LEAGUE: The Thunder are currently in third place in the Western Conference of the A-League, with 33 points from 19 matches. They have the second-best defensive record in the league with just 12 goals allowed on the season, one more than the Montréal Impact, who have played two more games. ... The Thunder come into the Open Cup tie after a lost weekend, falling 2-1 to the Rochester Raging Rhinos on Friday, then 3-0 to the Syracuse Salty Dogs on Saturday, their worst loss of the campaign. ... Here's the team Buzz Lagos put out: McNelis, Jacquette (Branan 45), Wilson, Roberts, Magee, Friedland (Matteo 45), Vorenkamp (Juarez 45), Tenoff, Ferruzzi, Menyongar (Alberts 45), Tarley

Once again, the San Jose Earthquakes have reached the quarterfinal stage of the U.S. Open Cup, and once again they will try to get over that hurdle - which they haven't done in six tries. But fortune could be smiling upon San Jose this season, as it's the first time since 1998 they've played a team other than arch-rival Galaxy in the final eight (who of course lost to their opponent tonight). ... The Quakes once again reached the quarters with a 3-0 victory away to the Portland Timbers at PGE Park on July 14 in the fourth round. ... Ronnie Ekelund converted a penalty in the 18th minute after Portland's Gavin Wilkinson was sent off when he pulled down Brian Ching in the area. Ramiro Corrales then doubled the Quakes lead in the 55th minute when he hit home on an angled drive, before Dwayne De Rosario powered home a header of a Brian Mullan cross 10 minutes from time for the final result. ... Here's the team Dominic Kinnear ran out: Jon Conway; Wes Hart, Ryan Cochrane (Tighe Dombrowski 70), Craig Waibel, Todd Dunivant; Brian Mullan, Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie Ekelund, Ramiro Corrales (Jamil Walker 71); Landon Donovan (Dwayne De Rosario 46), Brian Ching (Chris Brown 80) ... After reaching the quarterfinals five consecutive years - and getting dumped out each time - the Earthquakes failed at the first hurdle a year ago when they were stunned 1-0 by the Seattle Sounders at Seahawks Stadium in the fourth round (Kyle Smith 41). ... Each of the three previous seasons, the Quakes fell to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarterfinals, losing 2-0 in Fullerton in 2000, on penalties at home in 2001 after a 1-1 draw, then 1-0 in 2002. They also lost on penalties to the Chicago Fire in 1998, and to the D3 San Francisco Bay Seals in 1997. ... That was the second time San Jose has lost to lower-division competition in the Open Cup. Five times they've met A-League competition, winning each of the matches before the loss to Seattle last season. The previous season the Quakes had defeated the Sounders in the third round, while they also defeated Milwaukee Rampage (2001, on penalties), Richmond Kickers (2000) and El Paso Patriots (1998).

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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