Rapids to Kick Off 2005 U.S. Open Cup Action Against Minnesota Thunder Wednesday Night

DENVER CO (Thursday July 14 2005)- The Colorado Rapids announced today their entry into the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a fourth round match that will take place on Wednesday August 3rd when they take on the Minnesota Thunder from the United Soccer League’s First Division at the James Griffin Stadium in St. Paul Minnesota at 6:00 p.m. (MT).

This time under the reins of Head Coach Fernando Clavijo the Black and Blue will make their run to conquer the trophy of the oldest and most distinguished sporting tournament in the United States. Clavijo’s experience in this tournament with New England led the Revolution to the Championship game in 2001 where they were defeated 2-1 by the Los Angeles Galaxy at Fullerton Stadium in California.

The Thunder who made their way into the fourth round of the tournament by defeating Major League Soccer’s expansion team Real Salt Lake 6-4 last night in Minnesota is currently in 10th place in the USL’s First Division standings according to the USL’s official webpage.

Dating back to 1914 the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest sports competition in the United States and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all amateur and professional teams in the United States the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is an 87-year-old single-elimination tournament.

In a nutshell the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is very similar to domestic cup competitions popular throughout Europe South America and the rest of the world. Cup competitions which usually run simultaneously with a country's league season are open in the early stages to any club that can qualify giving local amateur teams a chance to compete against the best teams a country has to offer.

Since the beginning of Major League Soccer in 1996 MLS clubs have dominated the championship winning the Open Cup in seven of the eight years of the league only failing in 1999. That year the Rochester Raging Rhinos rewrote the script knocking out three MLS teams (Dallas Chicago and Columbus) to reach the final before upsetting the Colorado Rapids 2-0 in the championship game at Crew Stadium in Columbus.

In 1996 D.C. United became the first MLS team to capture the title defeating the Rochester Raging Rhinos 3-0 in the final. The Dallas Burn followed suit in 1997 denying United back-to-back titles with a 1-0 win over D.C. in penalty kicks in the championship game. In 1998 it was the expansion Chicago Fire capturing the trophy defeating the Columbus Crew 2-1 in extra time in the championship match.

The 87-year-old Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament was renamed in 1999 to honor Lamar Hunt a long-time soccer pioneer and current owner of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards.

For tickets information for the Rapids vs. Minnesota Thunder Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Fourth Round Match please contact the Thunder’s ticket office at 615.917.8326 or visit their webpage at www.mnthunder.com.

Colorado Rapids All-Time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup history and results:
1996: Advanced to semifinal round.
1997: Advanced to third round
1998: Lost qualifier to the Miami Fusion 3-2.
1999: Open Cup runners-up. Advanced to the championship game vs. Rochester Rhinos lost 2-0.
2000: Advanced to third round
2001: Advanced to third round
2002: Advanced to quarterfinal round
2003: Advance to quarterfinal round
2004: Eliminated in fourth round