U.S. Open Cup
Chicago jumps out early and drops Galaxy 3-1 for crown.
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Wednesday, September 27, 2006) -- The Chicago Fire captured the fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship of its nine-year history, using early goals from strikers Nate Jaqua and Andy Herron in the first 16 minutes en route to a 3-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy before 8,185 who witnessed the final between Major League Soccer clubs at Toyota Park.
| Andy Herron had a goal and an assist in the opening 16 minutes to power the Chicago Fire past the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Open Cup final.
-- Chicago Fire web site photo --
"I can't help but smile," Fire coach Dave Sarachan told Associated Press. "It's not very often you get to say you're a champion. We've made it a priority this year to win a couple of championships."
The players are "going to enjoy tonight, but they know there's more work to be done," Sarachan added, referring to the MLS title.
Chicago took home the $100,000 first prize with L.A. earning $50,000 as runnerup. The Open Cup is the oldest team sports tournament in the United States, played continuosly since 1914. All American professional and amateur teams are eligible for the competition.
Forward Alan Gordon helped Los Angeles narrow its deficit to 2-1 in the 51st minute, but the Galaxy failed to become the first team to win back-to-back Open Cup titles since 1982-83, 13 years before the advent of MLS when the New York Pancyrian-Freedoms accomplished the feat.
"We can't give any professional team a 2-0 cushion after 20 minutes," Galaxy forward Landon Donovan said. "Two letdowns, two goals. It was an uphill climb after that. We couldn't get there."
Chicago applied pressure from the opening whistle. In the 10th minute, midfielder Justin Mapp sent a free kick to defender C.J. Brown and he headed it toward the L.A. goal. Herron sneaked in and was first to the ball, crossing to Jaqua who nodded the ball into the net, making it 1-0.
Six minutes later, Mapp carried down the left flank and fought off the challenge of defender Ante Jazic. Maintaining control, Mapp cut inside and crossed to Herron, who beat goalkeeper Kevin Hartman with a glancing header from a crowd for his fourth goal in this year's Open Cup and a 2-0 advantage.
"You always dream to be a champion of something," Herron told AP. "It's amazing, just amazing."
Los Angeles started the second half on the attack. Gordon was the recipient of a corner kick from Donovan and his first shot was deflected by keeper Matt Pickens. The ball caromed back to Gordon who made no mistake with the rebound to bring the Galaxy to within 2-1 six minutes after intermission.
"The game was not over in the first 20 minutes, but we dug such a hole." Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said. "If we scored one goal, we maybe had a chance of getting back into the game."
L.A.'s hopes of equalizing ended in the 88th minute when Chicago left-side defender Tony Sanneh sent a pass to Thiago, waiting in front of the goal to slide his shot past Hartman for the 3-1 final.
"We're champions today," Sarachan said. "And that's a great feeling."
Chicago Fire 3, Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Lineups: Chicago - Matt Pickens, C.J. Brown, Tony Sanneh, Gonzalo Segares, Nate Jaqua, Diego Gutierrez, Justin Mapp (Thiago 85), Logan Pause, Ivan Guerrero, Chris Rolfe (Jim Curtin 91+), Andy Herron (Dasan Robinson 82). Los Angeles - Kevin Hartman, Chris Albright, Ugo Ihemelu (Herculez Gomez 77), Tyrone Marshall, Ante Jazic, Cobi Jones (Quavas Kirk 72), Paulo Nagamura, Peter Vagenas, Santino Quaranta (Josh Gardner 88), Alan Gordon, Landon Donovan.
Chicago - Jaqua (Herron) 10.
Chicago - Herron (Mapp ) 16.
Los Angeles - Gordon (unassisted) 51.
Chicago - Thiago (Sanneh ) 88.
Total shots: Chicago 10 (Herron 4), Los Angeles 14 (Gordon 4, Quaranata 4).
Shots on goal: Chicago 5 (Guerrero 2), Los Angeles 4 (Gordon 2).
Saves: Chicago - Pickens 3; Los Angeles - Hartman 2.
Fouls: Chicago 14 (Gutierrez 3, Segares 3), Los Angeles 25 (Gordon 5).
Offside: Chiacgo 2 (Herron 2), Los Angeles 4 (Gordon 2, Jones 2).
Corner kicks: Chicago 3 (Mapp 3), Los Angeles 7 (Donovan 6).
Yellow card cautions: Chicago - Pickens 52, Gutierrez 59; Los Angeles - Albright 24, Nagamura 52, Quaranta 70.
Red card ejection: Chicago - Gutierrez (second yellow card) 89
Referee: Terry Vaughn.
Referee assistants: Chris Strickland, Richard Eddy.
Fourth official: Michael Kennedy.
Time of game: 1:56.
Attendance: 8,185 at Toyota Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill.
Weather: Cloudy, 62 degrees.
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