Chris Armas

Weekly update: Open Cup quarters

• Next Stop for Fire: Rochester, New York for Open Cup Quarterfinals
• Justin Mapp to Represent Fire vs. Real Madrid at Tuesday's Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu - Live on FSW at 2:30 CT
• Fire Goalkeeper Matt Pickens to Undergo MRI Today

Tough Mission Ahead
After its tough 3-0 road loss to the Kansas City Wizards last Friday, the Chicago Fire (12-10-3, 39 pts.) will shift its focus to a crucial, non-league midweek match against the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the USL First Division in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, to be held this Wednesday, Aug. 24 at Frontier Field in Rochester, NY (6:30 p.m. CT). The match will mark the second of six consecutive matches (including MLS and Open Cup games) away from Soldier Field, which the Fire will not step foot in again until Oct. 5 against the MetroStars. Fans can follow Wednesday's important Open Cup contest live via the team's official website or via Polish radio station WNVR-AM 1030.

After gaining a pair of victories in the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, MA, the "Men in Red" will look to knock out the Rhinos and advance to the semifinals of the oldest soccer tournament in the U.S. The job will not come easy for the Fire. The Rhinos, who knocked off the MetroStars 3-1 in the Fourth Round to advance to the quarterfinals, ended the Fire's first Open Cup title defense in 1999 with a 1-0 victory in Rochester and again defeated the Fire 2-1 in an exhibition contest at Frontier Field on May 17, 2004. After Wednesday's game, the winners advance to the semifinals on Sept. 14, two weeks before the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final is played on Sept. 28.

Serious About the Cup
Chicago's 20-4-1 Open Cup record, three championships, and four Cup finals makes the Fire the most successful MLS team in the tournament and one of the top clubs to ever participate in the long history of the competition. Chicago is one of only seven teams in tournament history to win three championships, and is the last to do so since the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms won their third Dewar Trophy in 1983. In 2004, the "Men in Red" reached their fourth Open Cup final after convincing victories in the first three contests, but the team would come up short in the final meeting against the Wizards.

On October 30, 1998, the expansion Fire stunned the league by becoming the second team in MLS history to win "The Double" (U.S. Open Cup and MLS championships) when hometown hero Frank Klopas scored the winning goal in the 99th minute of play to give the Fire a 2-1 overtime win over the Columbus Crew. After losing in the third round of the tournament in 1999, the team reclaimed the championship the following year with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Fusion on October 20, 2000, once again taking the title at Soldier Field. The team would repeat history in 2003 by defeating former coach Bob Bradley and the MetroStars 1-0 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ in the 2003 Open Cup Final on Oct. 15, 2003. With the triumph, the Fire lifted the Dewar Trophy for the third time in just six seasons and became the first team in the Open Cup era to win the championship on the road.

Ole, Justin!
Chicago Fire midfielder Justin Mapp is included on the 19-man MLS Select Team roster that will face nine-time European champions Real Madrid in the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, Aug. 23 from Madrid, Spain. Kickoff for the match is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and fans can see the action live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español. The star-studded MLS Select Team, led by New England Revolution Head Coach Steve Nicol, features representatives from all 12 MLS clubs. The famed event will mark the first time that an American squad will play for the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu in the history of the competition, which traditionally represents Real Madrid's first game of the new season in front of its home fans and the final game before the start of the Spanish La Liga season. Mapp, who has played in 22 games with the Fire in 2005 and leads the team in assists (tied with Thiago) with seven, will miss Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match against Rochester.

For the Record:
"It's a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to being a part of such an exciting event. It will be an honor to play against Madrid and with the other players that have been selected by the League. I hope to represent the League well in Spain. It's a place with great soccer culture and tradition and I'm just looking forward to a great game and having fun." - Justin Mapp on being named to the MLS Select Team vs. Real Madrid.

AthletiCo Injury Report
Buete, Scott - R 5th metatarsal fracture - Out
Capano, Craig - L torn ACL surgery - Out
Griffin, Leonard - abdominal strain - Out
Guerrero, Ivan - R foot contusion - Questionable
Herron, Andy - R toe sprain - Out
Jaqua, Nate - L ankle bone bruise - Out
Pickens, Matt - L ankle sprain - Out

Fire, Neurologic & Orthopedic Institute of Chicago and Alderman Gene Schulter Teaming Up to Host Youth Clinic 10
The Chicago Fire and the Neurologic & Orthopedic Institute of Chicago will join up with the Chicago Park District and Alderman Gene Schulter in sponsoring a Chicago Fire Youth Clinic and Sports Medicine Screening on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. CT at Winnemac Park, located at 5101 N. Leavitt St. in Chicago. The event is open to Alderman Schulter's Kids Club members from ages 8 to 16, who will join Fire players in learning and testing new soccer skills. Sports medicine experts from the Neurologic & Orthopedic Institute of Chicago - a focused hospital on the city's North side - will also be on-hand to evaluate and discuss training, injuries, injury prevention, therapeutic options and strengthening. Kids on hand will be able to the meet the Chicago Fire mascot, get autographs from the Fire players in attendance and play games for prizes. To join the Alderman's kids club and register for this special event, please contact Garrett Fitzgerald at 773-348-8400 or

Looking sharp
The construction process for the Fire's new home in Bridgeview is ahead of schedule. The steel canopy support structure that is currently being installed on the east building is approximately 90% complete while the installation of the structural steel for the stage has started and is approximately 20% complete. The installation of the cast-in-place concrete seating bowl risers (main bowl) continues and is approximately 10% complete. This process will continue into November. The concrete on the metal deck has been poured entirely for level 2 of the east building and the majority of level 3. These deck pours will continue daily through the end of the month. To view photographs of the stadium, including the stadium's first aerial images, please visit the "Stadium" section of the Fire's official website at


• Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens will undergo an MRI for further evaluation on his injured left ankle. The Southwest Missouri product suffered the injury during last Friday's Fire-Wizards contest. Pickens, who left the match in the 30th minute on Friday, has made five appearances with the "Men in Red" in 2005, registering a 2-2-1 record. Results of the MRI will be known tomorrow.

• The Fire's sister team, Monarcas Morelia, lost to America 2-1 over the weekend, dropping its record to 1-2-1, 4 pts. in the Mexican League standings. The "Monarchs" will host Atlas in a midweek match-up on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 9:00 p.m. CT at Morelos Stadium.

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