The United States Soccer Federation announced the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) would receive eight entries in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This week, TheCup.us has confirmed five of those teams, all of which will enter the tournament in the first round.
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley, Chattanooga FC and the Madison 56ers, who finished first, second and third in the NPSL last season, are three of the teams that will be playing in the first round May 14.
Two others will be from the Western Conference, one from the Northern Division and one from the Southern Division. Those spots are being determined by tournaments — both finals are scheduled for March 30.
That leaves the NPSL with one first-round berth still to be determined, along with two spots in the qualifying round. The NPSL sides will play teams from U.S. Club Soccer and the United States Specialty Sports Association in qualifying matches May 7, with the winners moving on to the first round.
This will be the second straight Open Cup appearance for FC Sonic Lehigh Valley, which lost to the PDL’s Long Island Rough Riders 2-0 in the first round last year. The Pennsylvania team beat Chattanooga FC 1-0 in the NPSL final last July in San Diego.
The 56ers and Chattanooga FC both are back in the tournament after a one-year absence.
Chattanooga FC lost to the USL PRO’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-2 after extra time in their Open Cup debut in 2011. The 56ers, meanwhile, advanced to the second round that year, beating Illinois amateur club AAC Eagles 4-0 before losing to Chicago Fire PDL 2-0. That was Madison’s first berth in the Open Cup’s Professional Era (since 1995); the team also lost in the Region II semifinals in 1988, ’89 and ’90 and were ousted by Illinois’ RWB Adria 7-6 on penalty kicks following a 4-4 tie in the 1991 quarterfinals.
NPSL teams are 6-22-4 all-time in Open Cup play — with half of those wins coming last year, when the Brooklyn Italians, Georgia Revolution and Jacksonville United each won first-round matches. No league team has advanced to the third round, but eight sides have made it to the second round: Sonoma County Sol (2006 and ’09), Sacramento Knights (2004), Salinas Valley Samba (2005), Madison 56ers (2011), Georgia Revolution (2012), Jacksonville United (2012) and Brooklyn Italians (2012).
2013 NPSL entries in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (8 teams)
First Round entries
West – North Division winner
West – South Division winner
Team No. 6 TBA
Qualifying Round entries
NPSL Team No. 7 TBA vs. USASA entry TBA
NPSL Team No. 8 TBA vs. USSSA entry TBA