The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has announced the draw for the Preliminary Round and the First Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. For the first time since 2006, the 68-team tournament will have a Preliminary Round, which is scheduled to begin on May 7, the earliest the competition has started in 20 years.
The USSF confirmed earlier reports that there will be two Preliminary Round games, which will feed into Round 1 that is scheduled to begin a week later on May 14. The Fresno Fuego Future, who qualified out of US Club Soccer (USCS), will host the NPSL’s FC Hasental in one of the games, while the Georgia Revolution (NPSL) will travel to the Denver area to take on US Speciality Sports Association’s first-ever entry, the Colorado Rovers.
The First Round features a Modern Professional Era (1995-present) single-round record 18 games with the Preliminary Round winners joining teams from the USASA (8), NPSL (6), PDL (16) and USL Pro (4).
The centennial edition of the tournament, which was first played from the fall of 1913 to the spring of 1914, features a number of Modern Professional Era milestones. The 68-team field is a record and for the second straight year, every US-based professional team will take part with the remaining eight USL Pro (Division III) teams and all six NASL clubs (Division II) beginning play in the Second Round scheduled for May 21.
All 16 US-based MLS clubs (Division I) will enter the competition in Round 3 (May 28).
Another change to the 2013 US Open Cup is the prize money involved. The winner of the tournament, in addition to an automatic berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, will receive $250,000, which is an increase from $100,000. The runner-up prize was boosted from $50,000 to $60,000. In the past, the tournament has awarded a cash prize to the lower division teams that advance the furthest at each level. The Division II, III and amateur team that advances the furthest will now receive $15,000, up from $10,000 in past years.
The process of determining home teams in the Open Cup received a makeover last year, and those reforms have been expanded for 2013. This year, the host of every game of the tournament from the Preliminary Round to the championship game will be determined by a coin flip. The secret bidding process has been completely eliminated. Teams can apply to host and if they meet the minimum venue standards set by the USSF, then they are given a chance to win the hosting rights by way of coin flip.
TheCup.us has learned that in Round 3, teams interested in hosting a tournament game will need to meet minimum venue standards and pay a $12,000 hosting fee. The fee increases to $18,000 for Round 4, and then to $25,000 for the Quarterfinals. The cost for the Semifinals is $50,000 and 50 percent of ticket revenue earned over $100,000. The championship game increases to $250,000 along with 50 percent of ticket revenue above $300,000.
Also, the process of selling home game rights has also been eliminated.
TheCup.us is planning to launch a brand new website in honor of the 100th edition of the Open Cup, and as always, will have live updates from every single game of the competition. You can follow TheCup.us on Twitter (@USOpenCup) and on Facebook. The Twitter hashtag for the tournament this year is #USOC100.
Here is the schedule for the Preliminary Round and the First Round for 2013:
2013 US Open Cup Preliminary Round (May 7)
All Times Eastern
Georgia Revolution (NPSL) at Colorado Rovers (USSSA)
Shea Stadium – Highlands Ranch, CO – 10 p.m.
The Revolution are making their second straight appearance in the Open Cup and remain one of only two Georgia-based amateur teams to qualify for the tournament in the Modern Pro Era (2009 – Atlanta FC). They lost a tight 1-0 game to the Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) in the Second Round last year. The Colorado Rovers are not only making their first appearance in the Open Cup, but the organization they represent, the US Specialty Sports Association, are making their tournament debut as well.
FC Hasental (NPSL) at Fresno Fuego Future (US Club Soccer)
Chukchansi Park – Fresno, CA – 10 p.m.
The Fresno Fuego have been a member of the USL’s Premier Development League since 2003, but when they didn’t qualify for the 2013 US Open Cup (which was based on 2012 league results), they looked for another way to get in, so they entered the US Club Soccer qualifying tournament. The Fuego are best known for their 2003 Open Cup run where they upset two professional teams before falling to the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS 3-1 in Round 4. They will host first-time entry FC Hasental who punched their ticket through the NPSL Western Conference’s preseason qualifying tournament.
2013 US Open Cup First Round (May 14/15)
All Times Eastern
Mass Premier Soccer (USASA) at GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL)
Memorial Field, Deering High School – Portland, ME – 8 p.m.
Mass Premier Soccer are making their first appearance in the Open Cup as they emerged out of the very challenging USASA Region I. They defeated Newtown Pride FC (Connecticut) 6-0 in the regional semifinals to become just the third Massachusetts-based USASA club to qualify for the tournament in the Modern Pro Era. GPS Portland Phoenix of the PDL are making their second straight Open Cup appearance and will also host for the second year in a row. Last year, they lost their opening game to the Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) 3-2. The Phoenix remain the only club (of any kind) from the state of Maine to qualify for the tournament in more than two decades.
Icon FC (USASA) at Brooklyn Italians (NPSL)
Aviator Sports Complex – Brooklyn, NY – 8 p.m.
Icon FC of New Jersey bring some experienced players for their first Open Cup run. The club, led by former DC United and US youth international Danny Szetela, are just the second USASA club from New Jersey to qualify (2012 – Jersey Shore Boca) since 1995 and they will face a club with a strong Open Cup resume. The Brooklyn Italians who compete in the NPSL, have won the Open Cup twice (1979 as “Brooklyn Dodgers” and 1991), and finished runner-up in 1990. Those accomplishments happened a long time ago, but they have had some recent accomplishments too. This is the fourth year in a row that the Italians have qualified for the tournament, and with last year’s 3-2 win against GPS Portland Phoenix, they earned their first Open Cup victory since winning it all in 1991.
New York Red Bulls U23s (NPSL) at Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL)
Carey Stadium – Ocean City, NJ – 7:30 p.m.
The last time the Ocean City Nor’easters qualified for the Open Cup was in 2009 when they were known as the Ocean City Barons. Since then, the club has undergone a makeover both on the field and off it. New manager Tim Oswald led the club to their best league finish since their undefeated season in 2004 and qualified for this year’s Open Cup. The Nor’easters are one of the best amateur clubs to compete in the Open Cup during the Modern Professional Era. They have six wins in the Open Cup since joining the PDL in 2003, with four of those coming against professional teams. Only the Michigan Bucks (12) and the Des Moines Menace (7) have more Open Cup wins as a PDL team than the Nor’easters (6) and only the Bucks have more professional team upsets (9) than Ocean City. The Red Bulls Under 23s also qualified for the tournament after a successful league performance in 2012. The Red Bulls are in the tournament for the first time won the Atlantic Division title, finishing 11-3-0, the second best record in the NPSL.
FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) at Reading United AC (PDL)
Oley Valley High School – Oley, PA – 7 p.m.
Reading United will host FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic in a battle of Eastern Pennsylvania clubs. Reading is competing in the tournament for a record fifth straight time, something no amateur club has done in the Modern Professional Era. Reading has their friendly rivals, Ocean City, to thank for keeping their streak alive. The Nor’easters, by virtue of finishing with the Eastern Conference’s best record, earned a berth, leaving the second place team, Reading, as the Mid-Atlantic’s representative. Reading, despite qualifying for the tournament seven times since 1996, they are 1-6-0 in the tournament and picked up their first-ever Open Cup win by defeating the New York Greek American Atlas last year. Sonic has tweaked their team name (formerly FC Sonic Lehigh Valley) for their second straight Open Cup appearance. In 2012, they were one-and-done, losing to the PDL’s Long Island Rough Riders 2-0 in the First Round.
Ocala Stampede (PDL) at Red Force (USASA)
Florida International Soccer Stadium – Miami, FL – 7:30 p.m.
A pair of first-time entries from Florida will square off in Round 1 with the USASA’s Red Force hosting the Ocala Stampede. The Red Force were the only USASA team from the state of Florida to enter the state qualifying tournament and therefore were given a bye into the regional tournament. The Red Force then won three games at the USASA Region III tournament in New Orleans to clinch a spot in the Open Cup. The Stampede qualified after a very successful inaugural season in the PDL. Ocala, which is located in Central Florida, just northwest of Orlando, won the Southeast Division title with an 11-3-2 record, which was the best record in the conference.
VSI Tampa Bay FC (USL PRO) at Orlando City U-23s (PDL)
Seminole Soccer Complex; Sanford, FL – 7 p.m.
The Orlando City U23s are back in the tournament for the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in franchise history. However, they are still seeking their first Open Cup win. Last year was their best chance, losing 2-1 at home to Jacksonville United (NPSL) on an 89th minute goal by Ramak Safi. VSI Tampa Bay FC are making their debut in USL Pro and the Open Cup this year.
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) at Carolina Dynamo (PDL)
Macpherson Stadium – Greensboro, NC – 7 p.m.
Chattanooga FC are back in the Open Cup for the first since 2011 after winning their division last season. Tennessee-based clubs are few and far between in the Open Cup. Prior to Chattanooga qualifying in 2011, the Memphis Express (PDL) were the last entry in 2002, and before that, the Nashville Metros are the only Volunteer State-based club to qualify. The Carolina Dynamo have qualified for the Open Cup for the 10th time (5th time as a PDL club) both as a professional and an amateur team. They are 10-9-0 all-time in the tournament, but have been one-and-done the last two trips to the tournament after their historic run to the Fourth Round in 2006. During that run, they eliminated two professional teams (Richmond Kickers, Seattle Sounders) before falling to the Houston Dynamo. 2013 marks the Dynamo’s third straight appearance in the competition.
Dearborn Stars (USASA) at Michigan Bucks (PDL)
Ultimate Soccer Arenas – Pontiac, MI – 7:30 p.m.
For just the second time in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present), two teams from the state of Michigan will square off in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The last time it happened was in 2001 when the Michigan Bucks defeated the Detroit-based Chaldean Arsenal 3-0 at White Pine Stadium in Saginaw, Mich. With a record 12 Open Cup wins, 9 of them against professional opponents, the Bucks have the strongest resume of any amateur team in the country. Last year, they bolstered their reputation as giant killers with their second win in franchise history over a Major League Soccer team, defeating the Chicago Fire 3-2 in extra time. Combined with their 1-0 road win over the New England Revolution in 2000, they are the only amateur team to defeat multiple MLS teams. They will host the Dearborn Stars who have been around since 1982, but are entering the tournament for the first time. When the two teams square off at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich., it will be just the fifth Open Cup game in the 100-year history of the tournament to be played indoors.
RWB Adria (USASA) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO)
Highmark Stadium – Pittsburgh, PA – 7 p.m.
Since they launched in 1999, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds have qualified for the US Open Cup in 10 of their 14 seasons (the franchise was on hiatus in 2007). However, they have experienced very little success in the tournament. The club has only won multiple games in a tournament once and that was when they reached the Quarterfinals as an A-League team in 2001. Having said all that, it’s a new era in Pittsburgh as the Riverhounds opened their new soccer-specific Highmark Stadium near downtown Pittsburgh. Their opening round opponent, RWB Adria from Chicago, has been around since 1959 and have reached the semifinals twice (1978, 1991) but haven’t won a tournament game since 1991. They have qualified three times in the Modern Pro Era (1996, 2007, 2008) but lost to a professional team in their opening game each year.
River City Rovers (PDL) at Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO)
Beavercreek High School – Beavercreek, OH – 7 p.m.
The Dayton Dutch Lions were one of the tournament’s best Cinderella stories last year and they are back in 2013 looking to build on their success from a year ago. Despite struggling in their first two years as a professional franchise (they moved up from the PDL to USL Pro in 2011), and losing their opening game in both 2010 and 2011, the Dutch Lions surprised many by upsetting the Columbus Crew 2-1 in the Third Round. They continued their run by defeating the Michigan Bucks 2-1 in extra time to reach the Quarterfinals where they lost to eventual Open Cup champions Sporting Kansas City. Dayton’s run to the round of eight was made even more impressive by the fact that they did it without playing a single home game. This year, they kick off the 2013 tournament with their first-ever home game as they host the PDL’s River City Rovers. The Louisville, Kentucky-based Rovers have qualified for the tournament for the first time, benefiting from the fact that Forest City London, the team who finished in second place in the Great Lakes Division, are Canadian and are not eligible for the Open Cup. The Rovers qualified and are the first Kentucky-based club to take part in the tournament since the Louisville Alliance reached the Regional Semifinals in 1993.
Madison 56ers (NPSL) at Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Valley Stadium – West Des Moines, IA – May 15 at 8:30 p.m.
One of amateur soccer’s giants, the Des Moines Menace are back in the competition for the second year in a row, making their seventh all-time appearance. Only the Michigan Bucks (10) have qualified for the Open Cup more times among PDL teams. They enter the tournament as a 3rd place team because the Heartland Division champion, Thunder Bay Chill, are based in Canada. The Menace are tied with the Ocean City Nor’easters for second place among PDL teams with four professional team upsets (Michigan Bucks have 9). The Madison 56ers, who date back to 1956, are back in the tournament after a one year layoff. In 2011, they defeated Chicago’s AAC Eagles 4-0 before falling to the Chicago Fire’s PDL team 2-0 in Round 2. According to TheCup.us records, 2011 was the first tournament appearance for the 56ers since reaching the Regional Finals in 1991 (they lost to 2013 qualifier RWB Adria in penalty kicks that year)
NTX Rayados (USASA) at Austin Aztex (PDL)
House Park – Austin, TX – 8:30 p.m.
The Austin Aztex name is back in the US Open Cup after the previous version of the club left Austin to form Orlando City SC. New owners have brought the name back and launched a PDL franchise in 2012. A second place finish in the Mid-South Division last year was enough to get them back in the tournament. The North Texas Rayados from the USASA are back in the tournament for the second year in a row after cruising through the Region III tournament. They outscored their opponents 17-2 and won the Region III tournament. They not only earned a spot in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, but by defeating Florida’s Red Force 3-0 in the Region III title game, they will advance to the USASA Nationals in San Antonio.
Phoenix FC (USL Pro) at FC Tucson (PDL)
Kino Sports Complex Grandstand, Field 5 – Tucson, AZ – 10:30 p.m.
For the first time in the Modern Professional Era (and quite possibly ever), the US Open Cup will feature a game between two Arizona-based clubs. Both teams are first-time entries with USL Pro side Phoenix SC kicking off their inaugural campaign this year. FC Tucson qualified after a successful first season in the PDL last year, edging out the Fresno Fuego for second place in the Southwest Division with a 9-3-4 record.
Sacramento Gold (NPSL) at Portland Timbers U23s (PDL)
JELD-WEN Field – Portland, OR – 10:30 p.m.
The Timbers U23s are back in the tournament for the second year in a row, looking for their first win. Last year, they lost 3-1 in front of their home fans to USASA club PSA Elite. The Timbers are hoping their league success from the past three seasons, including the 2010 PDL championship, will translate into Open Cup success. On the other side, the Sacramento Gold from the NPSL are making their first appearance in the tournament, becoming just the second Sacramento-based club to qualify in the Modern Pro Era. The Sacramento Knights of the MPSL qualified through the USASA in 2004 and reached the Second Round before falling to the Utah Blitzz (Division III). The Gold qualified for the Open Cup through the NPSL’s preseason tournament where they cruised through the Northern Division, outscoring their three opponents 10-1, including a 5-1 championship game win over the Sonoma County Sol.
Doxa Italia (USASA) at Sounders FC U23s (PDL)
Sunset Chevrolet Stadium – Sumner, WA – 10 p.m.
Doxa Italia of the USASA are back in the tournament and will face first-time entry Seattle Sounders FC U23s in the opening round. Doxa last qualified for the Open Cup in 2011 (losing 3-1 to Ventura County Fusion in Round 1), and would have returned in 2012 but a little-known club called Cal FC handed them their only qualifying loss and they missed the cut. This year, Doxa returned the favor, handing Cal FC their only qualifying loss and leaving last year’s USASA Cinderella story on the outside looking in. No matter what they are called, the Seattle Sounders U-23s are making their first Open Cup appearance in franchise history. The club was originally known as Tacoma FC, but never qualified from 2006-2011. Last year, the team re-branded and enjoyed immediate success, winning the Northwest Division championship and reaching the final four in the PDL playoffs.
PSA Elite (USASA) at Laredo Heat SC (PDL)
Texas A&M International Soccer Complex – Laredo, TX – 9:15 p.m.
PSA Elite are back in the Open Cup for the second year in a row after dominating the USASA Region IV tournament this year. They outscored their opponents 26-4, including a pair of wins against fellow Open Cup qualifier Doxa Italia to punch their ticket to the Open Cup and the USASA National Finals. They won their first Open Cup game last year, defeating the Portland Timbers U23s (PDL) 3-1, but a cross-country trip to North Carolina was too much to ask as they were trounced 6-0 by the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks in Round 2. They will have another long trip on their hands this year as they will travel to Laredo, Texas to take on the Heat who are back in the Open Cup for a second straight year, and just the third time in franchise history. Three trips to the tournament in a decade is a surprising number for one of the best teams in the PDL. The 2007 league champion, and a three-time runner-up, the Heat qualified for the Open Cup for the first time back in 2006 when they nearly eliminated Dallas Roma FC in Round 1 before Roma began their historic run to the Fourth Round. Last year, the Heat returned, winning their first-ever Open Cup game, 4-2 over fellow Texas amateur club ASC New Stars (USASA) in extra time. They hit the road in Round 2 and lost 2-0 to the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions. This is a PDL team that has qualified for the league playoffs nine years in a row, and have only failed to qualify once, during their inaugural season in 2004, so single-elimination tournaments are nothing new to them.
Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) at Colorado Rovers (USSSA)
Shea Stadium – Highlands Ranch, CO – 10 p.m.
Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) at Georgia Revolution (NPSL)
RYSA Soccerplex – Conyers, GA – 7 p.m.
The winner of the Preliminary game between the Colorado Rovers (USSSA) and the Georgia Revolution (NPSL) will face the Real Colorado Foxes in Round 1. The Real Colorado Foxes (no relationship with the Colorado Foxes who took part in the 1995 US Open Cup), have qualified for the third year in a row as the second place team in the Heartland Division (Division champion Thunder Bay Chill are from Canada). The Foxes won their first-ever tournament game in 2011 when they defeated USASA’s DV8 Defenders from San Jose, Calif. 5-0. Then after being eliminated by fellow PDL side Kitsap Pumas the next round, they suffered another defeat at the hands of an amateur team, losing 3-1 to the KC Athletics (USASA) at home. If the Rovers are able to knock off the Revolution, it would make the first time in the Modern Professional Era (and possibly ever) that two Colorado-based clubs will meet in tournament play.
Fresno Fuego Future/FC Hasental at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)
Ventura College; Ventura, Calif. – 10 p.m .
The winner of the Fresno/FC Hasental match will travel to Ventura to take on the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL. The Fusion qualified for the Open Cup for the first time back in 2010 and were one-and-done to the USASA’s Arizona Sahuaros. Each year after that, they have improved on the previous year’s performance. In 2011, they won a single game before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Blues (USL Pro). Last year, they won two games, including a revenge win over the Blues in Round 2. They nearly knocked off an MLS team, but were unable to overcome an early goal by Chivas USA, and lost 1-0.
2013 US Open Cup Second Round
Potential pairings to be announced
2013 US Open Cup Participating Teams
Major League Soccer (Division I – 16 teams): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City.
North American Soccer League (Division II – 6 teams): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota United FC, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies.
USL Pro (Division III – 12 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Phoenix FC Wolves, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, VSI Tampa Bay FC, Wilmington Hammerheads.
USL Premier Development League - 16 places: The top two American-based teams from each division’s 2012 league standings. The teams will be: Austin Aztex, Carolina Dynamo, Des Moines Menace, FC Tucson, GPS Portland Phoenix, Laredo Heat, Michigan Bucks, Ocala Stampede, Ocean City Nor’easters, Orlando City U23s, Portland Timbers U23s, Reading United, Real Colorado Foxes, River City Rovers, Seattle Sounders U23s, Ventura County Fusion | PDL entry details [+]
National Premier Soccer League - 8 places: Brooklyn Italians, Chattanooga FC, FC Hasental, FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic, Georgia Revolution, Madison 56ers, New York Red Bulls U23s, Sacramento Gold
U.S. Adult Soccer Association - 8 places: Icon FC (New Jersey, Region I), Mass Premier Soccer (Massachusetts, Region I), Dearborn Stars SC (Michigan, Region II), RWB Adria (Illinois, Region II), North Texas Rayados (North Texas, Region III), Red Force (Florida, Region III), Doxa Italia (California South, Region IV), PSA Elite (California South, Region IV)
US Club Soccer - 1 place: Fresno Fuego Future
U.S. Specialty Sports Association - 1 place: Colorado Rovers
2013 US Open Cup Match Schedule
Preliminary Round - Date: May 7 – Number of Games: 2 – Teams: Georgia Revolution (NPSL) at Colorado Rovers (USSSA); FC Hasental (NPSL) at Fresno Fuego Future (US Club Soccer)
First Round - Date: May 14 – Number of Games: 18 – Teams: Preliminary Round winners plus USASA, NPSL, PDL entries and 4 USL Pro teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).
Second Round – Date: May 21 – Number of Games: 16 – Teams: First Round winners join remaining 8 USL Pro and 6 NASL teams.
Third Round - Date: May 28 – Number of Games: 16 – Teams: 16 Second Round winners are paired against 16 MLS sides.
Fourth Round – Date: June 12
Quarterfinals – Date: June 26
Semifinals – Date: Aug. 7 or 21
Final – Date: Oct. 1 or 2