UPDATE (3/24/13): Icon FC defeated Polonia Wallington 4-0 in the New Jersey Open Cup final to complete the eight-team field for the Region I tournament. || Full story
The draw for the 2013 USASA Region I tournament has been announced with eight teams from the Northeast set to battle for two berths in the 100th Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. According to the recently announced 2013 US Open Cup format, the two finalists in the tournament will qualify for the competition. The winner will also represent the region at the USASA National Cup Finals in San Antonio July 19-21.
The tournament will be divided into a North and South bracket with the quarterfinals beginning April 7 and the semifinals will take place on April 21. The two semifinal winners will qualify for the US Open Cup.
In the North, Eastern New York champion the Pancyprian Freedoms will travel to Connecticut to play Newtown SC, while the Rhode Island Reds will take on Massachusetts champion Mass Premier Soccer.
The newcomers from the Connecticut Soccer League (CSL), Newtown SC, will have their hands full with the three-time Open Cup champion Freedoms who defeated their rival Greek American Atlas SC 4-0 to win their sixth Eastern New York title in the last eight years. The Freedoms have also qualified for the Open Cup three times in the last five years (2008, 2010, 2011). Newtown finished in second place (5-1-3) in the fall season of the very competitive CSL and after a decade, the club is making their first attempt at qualifying for the Open Cup.
Mass Premier Soccer are back in the tournament for the second time in three years after winning a penalty kick shootout with East Providence Sports, a Rhode Island-based club, in the Massachusetts final. (East Providence competes in a Mass.-based league) MPS will travel to Rhode Island to face the Reds of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The Rhode Island Reds finished tied for fourth place last year in the NPSL Atlantic Division with a 2-4-3 record, but they are part of the USASA regional tournament because they have a reserve team that will compete in the Southern New England Super Cup this summer.
In the South bracket, the two-time defending Eastern Pennsylvania champion West Chester United will host first time New Jersey title holders Icon FC. West Chester defeated United German Hungarians 3-1 in the Eastern PA final and are back in the Region I tournament hoping to improve on their brief appearance in the competition last year where they lost to the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks 3-1 in their opening game. Icon FC, who are making their first Open Cup qualifying appearance, cruised to a state championship with a 4-0 win over Polonia Wallington on March 24 to complete the regional field.
The other South bracket match-up will feature the Screaming Eagles, the first-time Maryland champions hosting tournament regulars Aegean Hawks FC, the Metro DC/Virginia champion. The Eagles denied the Maryland Bays their third straight Maryland Open Cup title in chaotic fashion, winning 4-2. The Hawks defeated Hammers FC 1-0 to win their second straight DC/VA title. The Hawks have qualified for the Open Cup three times since 2006, and have won their state tournament six of the last seven entries.
2013 USASA Region I Finals (US Open Cup qualifying)
Quarterfinals (April 7)
New York Pancyprian Freedoms (ENY) at Newtown SC (CT)
Treadwell Park (Newtown, CT) – 4 p.m. ET [MAP]
Mass Premier Soccer (MA) at Rhode Island Reds FC (RI)
Cranston Stadium (Cranston, RI) – 2 p.m. ET [MAP]
Icon FC (NJ) at West Chester United (EPA)
Delacy Soccer Complex No. 4 (West Chester, PA) – 2 p.m. ET [MAP]
Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (DC/VA) at Screaming Eagles (MD)
Cedar Lane Regional Park (Bel Air, MD) – 1:30 p.m. ET – [MAP]
Semifinals (April 21)
Semifinal winners both qualify for 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup