2004 U.S. Open Cup

Igor Simutenkov’s golden goal gave the Kansas City Wizards a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Fire in the final of the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The triumph honored the club’s founder for whom the tournament is named.
 
With both teams looking to claim the first trophy of the season, play began with an attacking mindset. The Fire produced the first chance in the 15th minute as Jamaican international Andy Williams danced by Francisco Gomez on the end line where he crossed only to see it cleared in front of goal. This was the nearest joy Chicago would be allowed for the majority of the half as the home side soon took control. As the Wizards’ backs sent long balls forward, the trio of Josh Wolff, Davy Arnaud and midfielder Jack Jewsbury endeavored time and again to get behind the Chicago line to no avail.
 
After the break, Wizards head man Bob Gansler clearly wanted more as he inserted the slippery Simutenkov into the lineup for right winger Francisco Gomez. Chicago goalkeeper Henry Ring kept the Fire hopes alive with a sprawling save to his right in the 69th as Kansas City strove to break the increasing tension. Fighting for possession 20 yards in front of Ring, Wolff stabbed a pass to the approaching Kerry Zavagnin, who struck on goal only to see Ring push the ball aside.
 
A bright glint of opportunity shone for K.C. in the 85th minute as Wolff pointed the attack with a pass for Diego Gutierrez that split two Fire defenders. Gutierrez was all alone until Ring smartly rushed out and forced Gutierrez’s shot wide.
 
From the overtime kickoff, Kansas City was the aggressor. Five minutes into extra time, Josh Wolff was brought down by Evan Whitfield just outside the box. Simutenkov stepped up and drove a bending shot through a spot that teammate Alex Zotinca vacated in the wall, surprising Ring, who could not get a full hand to the ball. Ring knocked the ball straight up in the air, off the underside of the cross bar, and back down off the back of his head and across the line, winning the Wizards the Cup.
 
QUOTES

Josh Wolff: "Before Igor took (the free kick), I said to Jimmy Conrad, `This might go in. It didn't go in quite like I thought it would, but at least he put it hard on frame. Henry made a good save on the first one, then it took an unfortunate bounce off the crossbar and hit him in the back of the head and it went in. I was sitting at the back door in case it came out. Obviously, I'm extremely happy for Igor with all the work he put in. It was a great moment for him, a great moment for this organization."

Bob Gansler: "I couldn't see anything. It seemed like there were about 14 Fire players on that wall. It was a shot for a right-footer. We know who has the best chance at those things. If the same ball was on the other side, you would have seen Diego (Gutierrez) in there. If Francisco (Gomez) was in there, he might have had to arm-wrestle Igor for it."

Gansler: "It's a one-goal kind of situation. We've rehearsed those games, not on purpose. We came through some, including the semifinal (1-0 over the San Jose Earthquakes). Through this run, we were the better side. I congratulate my team."

Igor Simutenkov: "I'm just happy it went in. For me, it's been a difficult year since surgery. I'm just really happy now. For me, this is the most important goal of my life. Alex ducked down and I was able to get the ball through the wall. I'm very happy and happy for this group of guys, the coaches and the fans."

Tony Meola: "I'm happy to get through that one. I've played this tournament so many times at all levels. It feels good to finally get it."

Dave Sarachan: "It was a hard game for the offense. Kansas City doesn't concede a lot of goals and we didn't have many looks at the goal tonight. I give credit to their defenders. In these kind of games -- championship matches -- everything is tight as it is and teams don't get a lot of looks."

BOX SCORE

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City, MO
 
Scoring Summary:
Kansas City: Igor Simutenkov (Free Kick) 95
 
Kansas City Wizards (adidas®: Blue): #1 Tony Meola (Cpt.); #3 Nick Garcia, #6 Jose Burciaga, Jr., #12 Jimmy Conrad, #23 Alex Zotinca; #5 Kerry Zavagnin, #7 Diego Gutierrez, #10 Francisco Gomez (#20 Igor Simutenkov 46'), #14 Jack Jewsbury (#26 Taylor Graham 68'); #15 Josh Wolff, #22 Davy Arnaud.
 
Chicago Fire (Nike®: Yellow w/red; dark blue; dark blue): #13 Henry Ring; #2 J. Brown (Cpt.), #3 Evan Whitfield, #5 Jim Curtin, #6 Kelly Gray; #12 Logan Pause (#14 Chris Armas 88'), #15 Jesse Marsch, #16 Andy Williams, #17 Dipsy Selolwane; #8 Damani Ralph, #11 Nate Jaqua.
 
Shots: KC 15 (Wolff 4), CHI 9 (Williams 4).
Shots on goal: KC 5 (five tied with 1), CHI 1 (Williams 1).
Fouls: KC 15 (Arnaud/Conrad 3), CHI 23 (six tied with 3).
Corner kicks: KC 1 (Burciaga), CHI 8 (Williams 8).
Saves: KC 1 (Meola 1), CHI 4 (Ring 4).
Offsides: KC 4 (Jewsbury/Wolff 2), CHI 2 (Ralph, Selolwane).
 
Disciplinary Summary:
Chicago: Logan Pause 21' Caution (Delaying a restart)
Kansas City: Diego Gutierrez 80' Caution (Reckless foul)
 
Attendance: 8819
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Assistant Referee: Nathan Clement
Assistant Referee: Greg Barkey
Fourth Official: Michael Kennedy
 
TOURNAMENT RECAP

Championship - Wednesday, September 22

at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City (MLS) 1, Chicago Fire (MLS) 0 (OT)

Semifinals - 

Wednesday, August 25 at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, Ill.
Chicago Fire (MLS) 1, Charleston Battery (A) 0 (2OT)

Tuesday, August 24 at Blue Valley Complex in Overland Park, Kans.
Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 1, San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 0

Quarterfinals - Wednesday, August 4

at University of Richmond (Va.) Stadium
Chicago Fire (MLS) 1, Richmond Kickers (A) 0 (2OT)

at Blue Valley Complex in Overland Park, Kans.
Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 4, Dallas Burn (MLS) 0

Fourth round - Wednesday, July 21

at DeKalb Stadium in Clarkston, Ga.
Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 4, Atlanta Silverbacks (A) 1

at Columbus (Ohio) Crew Stadium
Chicago Fire (MLS) 2, Columbus Crew (MLS) 1 (OT)

U.S. Open Cup field (40 teams)

MLS (10): Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, D.C. United, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, MetroStars, San Jose Earthquakes
A-League (8): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Syracuse Salty Dogs, Virginia Beach Mariners.
Pro Select League (6): Charlotte Eagles, New Hampshire Phantoms, San Diego Gauchos, Utah Blitzz, Western Massachusetts Pioneers, Wilmington Hammerheads.
Premier Development League (8): Boulder Rapids Reserves, Cape Cod Crusaders, Carolina Dynamo, Chicago Fire Reserves, Cocoa Expos, DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) Tornadoes, South Jersey Barons, Spokane Shadow
USASA (8): Allied FC (Baltimore), Azzurri (Dallas), Chico Rooks, Legends FC (Texas), Milwaukee Bavarians, N.Y. Greek-American-Atlas, SAC Wisla (Chicago), Sacramento Knights.

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