GALAXY ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH FIRE TEAMS SET FOR REMATCH OF U.S. OPEN CUP SEMIS.
Byline: Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
FULLERTON - Tonight's U.S. Open The term U.S. Open is applied to "open" United States national championships in a particular sport, in which anybody, amateur or professional, American or non-American may compete. These include:
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See : Disaster is the renewal of a rivalry that has developed quickly.
The Galaxy had already played in an MLS See multilevel security. championship when the expansion Chicago Fire arrived in the league in 1998. In fact, the Galaxy was having its best regular season ever in that season, shattering the MLS team scoring record for goals while leading the league in defense. Chicago, meanwhile, was quietly establishing itself under coach Bob Bradley
The Fire, led by former Galaxy players Chris Armas Chris Armas (born August 27, 1972 in Brentwood, New York) is a Puerto-Rican-American soccer player, who currently plays defensive midfield for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. Biography
Chris Armas was born in Brentwood, New York on August 27, 1972. and Ante Razov Ante Razov (born March 2, 1974 in Whittier, California) is an American soccer striker, who currently plays for C.D. Chivas USA where he is their all time top-scorer in Major League Soccer. , stunned Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. in the Western Conference finals en route to the '98 MLS title at the Rose Bowl. The Fire also won the '98 U.S. Open Cup in its first season, establishing itself as one of the league's powers.
The Galaxy leads the all-time series with Chicago 6-4-1, but the Fire wins when it counts most. In last year's U.S. Open Cup semifinal, the Galaxy had a man-advantage in overtime, but Chicago pulled out a 2-1 victory, which led to its second U.S. Open Cup title.
Heading into tonight's 7 o'clock game, Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid Siegfried "Sigi" Schmid (born March 20 1953 in Tübingen, West Germany) is a soccer coach who currently heads the Columbus Crew.
Schmid moved from Germany to Torrance, California in 1962. He received a B.S. in economics from UCLA in 1976, and an M. is trying to reverse a trend that has haunted Los Angeles since the beginning - losing big matches. In addition to its losses to Chicago, it also lost two MLS championships (1996 and '99) to D.C. United D.C. United is a professional soccer club located in Washington, D.C. that participates in Major League Soccer. The club's official nickname is the "Black-and-Red" and home uniforms are black and white with accents of red. The team's name refers to Washington, D.C. .
The tide began to turn in January when the Galaxy captured the CONCACAF CONCACAF Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Soccer)
CONCACAF Confederacion Norte, Centroamericana y del Caribe de Futbol Asociacion (Spanish) Champions Cup.
``It's always important to play well in games that matter,'' said Schmid. ``That's the philosophy we're trying to instill in·still
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instil·lation n. in the Galaxy. This is an organization that in the past has accomplished certain things like having the best defense, offense or winning the supporters' shield (best regular-season record). But they have all come without titles.''
Chicago is one of those teams that always seems in the way of the Galaxy's success.
``It really comes down to having players that understand what it takes in big games,'' Bradley said of Chicago's success. ``That is not something controlled by the coach. It's something players have learned by being in big games in their careers and understanding how to get teammates to that level as well.''
The Fire takes every tournament seriously. Most MLS clubs take the U.S. Open Cup lightly, but the Fire opened training camp in Orange County on Sunday in preparation.
``I think both teams place great importance on the Open Cup,'' said Bradley. ``I think the Galaxy and Fire have both been very consistent, good teams in MLS because of the passion and attitude the players bring. That is why this is such a great rivalry. When we enter into a match with them, especially an important one such as this, we know it will take our best effort.''
The Fire might have to play without forwards Eric Wynalda and Razov, who suffered injuries against Miami. The Galaxy will play without Luis Hernandez, who was suspended for the entire 2001 U.S. Open Cup tournament for stepping on the face of Fire midfielder Peter Nowak in last year's U.S. Open Cup match.
GALAXY vs. CHICAGO
What: U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
Where: Cal State Fullerton, 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports World and Fox Sports Spanish; 870-AM and 1020-AM (Spanish).
Update: A rematch of last year's U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Cal State Fullerton, won by Chicago 2-1 in overtime. The Fire boasts two U.S. Open Cup titles while the Galaxy is trying to reach its first Open Cup championship. The Galaxy will be without striker Luis Hernandez, who has been suspended for the entire Open Cup tournament after stepping on the face of Fire midfielder Peter Nowak in last year's semifinal game. Chicago, already without forward Josh Wolff, might also be without strikers Eric Wynalda and Ante Razov, who recently suffered injuries. These two clubs meet again on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Both are in a close race to win their respective divisions and the No. 2 seed, which would guarantee home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
- Fred J. Robledo
GALAXY vs. CHICAGO (see text)