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Wolff nets rebound for golden goal as shorthanded Chicago shocks L.A. 2-1.

FULLERTON, Calif. (Wednesday, August 23, 2000) -– Striker Josh Wolff, the tournament’s leading goal-scorer, netted a rebound with eight minutes left in sudden death to lift the shorthanded Chicago Fire to a 2-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy in an ugly meeting of Major League Soccer teams in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals at Titan Field tonight.

The Fire, which captured the 1998 Open Cup, advanced to the October 22 championship match where it will face the winner of the September 12 game between MLS’s MetroStars and Miami Fusion at Mitchel Field in Long Island, N.Y.

"The team showed incredible heart and determination to fight back with 10 guys," said Chicago coach Bob Bradley. "This mean a great deal to this team to get to a Cup final and especially the way this team did it tonight."

"What can you say? It is very disappointing when you are playing a man up and you give up two goals ... "
-- Los Angeles coach Sigi Schmid
The Fire played with 10 men after defender Carlos Bocanegra was shown a red card in the 51st minute for knocking Los Angeles forward Luis Hernandez to the ground after a whistle.

"We got tangled up and he threw an elbow," Bocanegra said of Hernandez. "I pushed him after the whistle blew and it was a stupid play on my part. I shouldn't have done it and now I will have to deal with missing the final."

It was a wonder more players weren’t ejected with 15 yellow cards handed out, eight to the Galaxy. One player who most certainly should have been sent off later was Hernandez, whose retaliatory foul three minutes into injury time at the end of regulation put Chicago midfielder Peter Nowak out with a concussion and facial laceration. Hernandez ran up behind Nowak, took his legs down and as the Fire playmaker fell to the ground, raked his cleats across Nowak’s face before his head bounced off the turf. Hernandez was given only a yellow card.

Despite using two referees on the field, the officials lost control of the game in the second half and overtime and various scuffles broke out in addition to multiple unpunished transgressions beyond the 26 fouls called against L.A. and 19 against Chicago.

"I have no comment on the officiating," said Los Angeles coach Sigi Schmid. "I will let you guys' judge for yourself in terms of what went on. I think that in the last two games with Chicago there is a real inconsistency as to what is a yellow card is and what is not. It seems like similar fouls are not cards and some are. It is real confusing to me."

Fire forward Ante Razov created the winning goal opportunity, slipping a pass to striker DaMarcus Beasley who slipped behind defender Ezra Hendrickson into the left side of the penalty area. Before defender Dan Califf could shut him down, Beasley drilled a shot from an angle that Galaxy keeper Matt Reis blocked at close range. The ball bounded away and Wolff, coming down the center of the box, beat central back Robin Fraser to rebound and knocked it six yards into the empty net for the 2-1 victory in the 112th minute.

"What can you say? It is very disappointing when you are playing a man up and you give up two goals," Schmid said. "You have a 1-0 lead and you're playing a man up, it's a game you should not give away and we ended up giving it away. It is an extreme low and it's obviously very disappointing for our team and it's very disappointing for the Galaxy organization."

Striker Cobi Jones finished a beautiful combination to give the Galaxy a 1-0 advantage in the 79th minute. A short corner kick by Mauricio Cienfuegos went to Simon Elliott just inside the edge of the 18-yard box. Elliott played the ball back to Cienfuegos, who sent a long cross to the far post. Hernandez, who appeared to be offside, chested the ball down in one smooth motion to Jones, who beat Chicago goalkeeper Zach Thornton from point blank range.

Seemingly in desperate straits, Chicago equalized at 1-1 six minute later when Razov completed a sequence of nice passes by Wolff and Nowak. Wolff's pass slipped behind Galaxy defender Greg Vanney, who was unable to recover and could only watch Razov beat Reis from deep in the box.

"A hard fought game," said Chicago defender C.J. Brown. "A good example of never giving up and this team needs that. The team that stuck-in the longest tonight as a team won, and I think (the Galaxy) would say the same."

Chicago Fire 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 1 (2OT)

Lineups: Los Angeles - Matt Reis, Ezra Hendrickson, Robin Fraser, Danny Califf, Greg Vanney, Simon Elliott, Cobi Jones, Zak Ibsen (Peter Vagenas 60), Mauricio Cienfuegos, Sasha Victorine, Luis Hernandez. Chicago - Zach Thornton, C.J. Brown, Andrew Lewis (Tom Soehn 16), Carlos Bocanegra, Jesse Marsch, Evan Whitfield, DaMarcus Beasley, Dema Kovalenko, Peter Nowak (Sam George 91), Hristo Stoitchkov (Josh Wolff 63), Ante Razov.

Los Angeles - Jones (Hernandez) 79.
Chicago - Razov (Wolff) 85.
Chicago - Wolff (Beasley) 112.

Shots: Los Angeles 25, Chicago 16. Shots on goal: Los Angeles 7, Chicago 6. Saves: Los Angeles 4, Chicago 6. Offside: Los Angeles 4, Chicago 1. Corner kicks: Los Angeles 7, Chicago 3. Yellow card cautions: Los Angeles - Fraser 20, Elliott 24, Vanney 47+, Cienfuegos 81, Hernandez 93+, Hendrickson 96, Califf 110. Chicago - Soehn 25, Kovalenko 39, Stoitchkov 54, Nowak 81, Marsch 84, Brown 99, Whitfield 103. Red card ejection: Chicago - Bocanegra 51.

Referees: Sergio Vega, Terry Vaughn. Referee’s assistants: Mark Arblaster, Miguel Chicas. Attendance: 7,124 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. Weather: not reported.

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