Breakdown for 2011 USL PDL US Open Cup Qualifying: Southern Conference

Posted by | April 13, 2011 | No Comments

PDL logoThe 2011 US Open Cup qualifying process for the Premier Development League begins April 30 when the Central Florida Kraze play host to Fort Lauderdale Schulz. The match marks the beginning of what is arguably the most intense opening to any league season, making it the most pressure-packed portion of the PDL schedule league-wide. The task of qualifying can be more daunting than the professional opponents awaiting them in the tournament proper.

In the upcoming edition of the tournament, the PDL will be represented by a record nine clubs after seven consecutive years with eight representatives. With nine berths available, the league will send one from each division based on four league contests that will double as qualification matches – a format long established by the parent United Soccer Leagues.

Here is the Southern Conference portion of the four-part series of breakdowns:

Southern Conference Qualifying Breakdown

Mid South Division
Baton Rouge Capitals, Chivas El Paso Patriots, Laredo Heat, New Orleans Jesters, RGV Grandes FC, West Texas United Sockers

Previously an all-Texas group, the addition of the Baton Rouge Capitals and New Orleans Jesters marks the return of Lone Star State outsiders to the qualification process after a two-year absence.

Last year, Central Florida qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

The bigger news for this division is how compact the nature of the qualification process will be as four of the six clubs will play all four of their designated matches within, at most, an 11-day span. The Capitals will play all four games in that period while their Louisiana counterparts will do the same in one fewer. The Chivas El Paso Patriots and West Texas United Sockers both will determine their fate during a stretch of nine days.

The only two clubs that will have the opportunity to relax and take their time in qualifying are the Laredo Heat and expansion side RGV Grandes. Both open the group’s fixture list May 13 at home as RGV plays host to El Paso and Laredo takes on West Texas. They also close out the campaign with RGV traveling to New Orleans May 28 and Laredo visiting Baton Rouge the following day.

But while the Louisiana duo are making a return to the group, the pair will not see one another during the qualifying process as each club will face their four Texas rivals, leaving the local derby for the rest of the season.

US Open Cup tournament history is extremely limited outside of El Paso, where the Patriots have appeared in the official bracket eight times through its storied past, which includes the 1995 US Open Cup Final. The only other appearance in the tournament proper among the six-team field was Laredo’s 2006 appearance.

El Paso and Laredo, historically, have been among the leaders in the qualifying process from the group with the Patriots boasting a 9-4-3 record over the past four years while the Heat were 7-5-4. The other three clubs, though, have respectable records for the past four years with New Orleans at 6-4-6, Baton Rouge at 5-7-4 and West Texas at an even 3-3-2 in its two-year history.

MID-SOUTH DIVISIONGPWLTPTSGFGA GFGD
Baton Rouge Capitals0000000 0+0
El Paso Patriots0000000 0+0
Laredo Heat0000000 0+0
New Orleans Jesters0000000 0+0
Rio Grande Valley Grandes0000000 0+0
West Texas United Sockers0000000 0+0

Top team qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup

Clinched Open Cup berthEliminated from contention

Note: Columns on the far right are for tiebreaker purposes

USL Premier Development League tiebreakers

(1) Head-to-head record based on total points in Open Cup qualifiers

(2) Total wins in Open Cup qualifying games

(3) Goal difference (+/- 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

(4) Goals scored (+/- 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

(5) Lottery conducted by the USL

All times Eastern

May 13El Paso PatriotsatRio Grande Valley Grandes9:00
May 13West Texas United SockersatLaredo Heat9:15
May 14West Texas United SockersatRio Grande Valley Grandes9:00
May 14El Paso PatriotsatLaredo Heat9:15
May 19Baton Rouge CapitalsatWest Texas United Sockers8:30
May 19New Orleans JestersatEl Paso Patriots10:00
May 21New Orleans JestersatWest Texas United Sockers8:30
May 21Baton Rouge CapitalsatEl Paso Patriots10:00
May 27Rio Grande Valley GrandesatBaton Rouge Capitals8:00
May 27Laredo HeatatNew Orleans Jesters8:00
May 28Rio Grande Valley GrandesatNew Orleans Jesters8:00
May 29Laredo HeatatBaton Rouge Capitals8:00


Southeast Division
Central Florida Kraze, FC Jax Destroyers, Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy, IMG Bradenton Academics, Mississippi Brilla, Nashville Metros

While it is one of four six-team groups across the PDL, the Southeast faction is completely unique in that the fixture schedule features two sub-groups of three playing home and away schedules as their qualifying matches. As the northern-most Floridian side, the expansion Jax Destroyers of Jacksonville have been paired up with the Nashville Metros and Mississippi Brilla in one half while the trio of the Bradenton Academics, Central Florida Kraze and second-year Fort Lauderdale Schulz are in the other.

Mississippi Brilla 2010

Can the Mississippi Brilla return to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after falling just short in last season? Photo: Mississippi Brilla

The threesomes are fairly comparable as both feature a pair of veteran clubs along with a third that is only in its first or second season in the league.

Mississippi, a qualifier in 2009, is the standout of the northern trio as the club boasts an 8-4-4 record in qualifying over the last four years. Although Nashville has not been in the tournament since 2003, the club has not exactly been a doormat over the last four years with a record of 5-7-4. A year ago, Brilla won the lone qualifier between the two by a 3-0 scoreline as they swept the four game season series en route to finishing the season unbeaten at 11-0-3.

The all-Florida trio is a little more balanced as Central Florida is 9-5-2 over the past four years in its qualification efforts and Bradenton is 8-4-4. The Kraze took the top spot a year ago for their third appearance in the tournament while Bradenton’s lone appearance came in 2008. Fort Lauderdale had a rough outing a year ago with four losses, including a 3-1 defeat to the Kraze and 1-0 to the Academics. Bradenton and Central Florida did not face one another head-to-head a year ago, but split the regular season series with a pair of 1-0 decisions.

SOUTHEAST DIVISIONGPWLTPTSGFGA GFGD
Bradenton Academics0000000 0+0
Central Florida Kraze0000000 0+0
FC Jax Destroyers0000000 0+0
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy0000000 0+0
Mississippi Brilla0000000 0+0
Nashville Metros0000000 0+0

Top team qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup

Clinched Open Cup berthEliminated from contention

Note: Columns on the far right are for tiebreaker purposes

USL Premier Development League tiebreakers

(1) Head-to-head record based on total points in Open Cup qualifiers

(2) Total wins in Open Cup qualifying games

(3) Goal difference (+/- 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

(4) Goals scored (+/- 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

(5) Lottery conducted by the USL

All times Eastern

April 30Fort Lauderdale Schulz AcademyatCentral Florida Kraze4:00
May 6Central Florida KrazeatFort Lauderdale Schulz Academy7:00
May 8Fort Lauderdale Schulz AcademyatBradenton Academics5:30
May 12Central Florida KrazeatBradenton Academics5:30
May 13FC Jax DestroyersatMississippi Brilla8:00
May 15FC Jax DestroyersatNashville Metros4:00
May 15Bradenton AcademicsatFort Lauderdale Schulz Academy6:00
May 19Mississippi BrillaatFC Jax Destroyers7:00
May 23Nashville MetrosatFC Jax Destroyers7:00
May 26Mississippi BrillaatNashville Metros8:00
May 28Bradenton AcademicsatCentral Florida Kraze4:00
May 30Nashville MetrosatMississippi Brilla6:00


Here is a quick look at all of the eligible clubs with links to previews by conference (as available):

Central Conference (Coming Soon)

Great Lakes Division
: Akron Summit Assault, Chicago Fire, Cincinnati Kings, Indiana Invaders, Michigan Bucks, River City Rovers
Heartland Division: Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Real Colorado Foxes, Springfield Demize, St Louis Lions

Eastern Conference (Coming Soon)

Mid Atlantic Division
: Brooklyn Knights, Central Jersey Spartans, Jersey Express, Long Island Rough Riders, New Jersey Rangers, Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United AC, Westchester Flames
Northeast Division: MPS Portland Phoenix, New Hampshire Phantoms, Vermont Voltage, Western Mass Pioneers
South Atlantic Division: Carolina Dynamo, Fredericksburg Hotspur, Northern Virginia Royals, Real Maryland Monarchs, Virginia Beach Piranhas, West Virginia Chaos

Southern Conference


Mid South Division
: Baton Rouge Capitals, Chivas El Paso Patriots, Laredo Heat, New Orleans Jesters, RGV Grandes FC, West Texas United Sockers
Southeast Division: Central Florida Kraze, FC Jax Destroyers, Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy, IMG Bradenton Academics, Mississippi Brilla, Nashville Metros

Western Conference
(Coming Soon)

Northwest Division
: Kitsap Pumas, North Sound SeaWolves, Portland Timbers U23, Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire
Southwest Division: BYU Cougars, Fresno Fuego, LA Blues 23, Los Angeles Legends, Ogden Outlaws, Orange County Blue Star, Southern California Seahorses, Ventura County Fusion

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