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

Posted on 20. Apr, 2011 by Gerald Barnhart in Qualification

PDL logoUS 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 exciting portion of the event for the league as 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 Central Conference portion of the four-part series of breakdowns:

Central Conference Qualifying Breakdown

US Open Cup qualifying for the PDL Central Conference, the last conference to begin qualification play, opens with three games on May 14 and a fourth the following evening.

Great Lakes Division
Akron Summit Assault, Chicago Fire, Cincinnati Kings, Indiana Invaders, Michigan Bucks, River City Rovers

The two expansion sides Akron Summit Assault and River City Rovers make up a third of the six-team group in 2011, and Akron has quite the challenge ahead of it. The new club in Ohio will play host to the Chicago Fire (PDL) in the opening game of the group May 14 and is also in the division’s next two cup qualifiers as well, traveling to Cincinnati May 17 and River City May 19 for the Rovers’ debut.

The Open Cup has not been kind to the Cincinnati Kings. As a professional third division side, they entered the tournament three times (2005-07), but lost to amateur sides in each of those three years. Current division rivals, the Michigan Bucks, eliminated them 2-1 in the second round in 2007. But as a member of the PDL, the Kings have failed to qualify the last three years. The Indiana Invaders, from South Bend, have yet to qualify in their 13-year team history, despite holding one of the best overall records in the PDL over the last decade. That is because, historically, this grouping belongs to the Bucks and the Chicago Fire, who have a combined 11 trips to the tournament over the years.

The Fire and the Bucks, who rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in overall PDL records since 2003, will wrap up qualifying play with one of the two matches on the final night for the division Monday, May 30.

Last year, the Dayton Dutch Lions finished in the top spot, finishing one point ahead of Michigan and two in front of Chicago and Indiana. Dayton, however, will not be part of the picture as it has moved on to USL Pro and is returning to the tournament as an automatic entrant.

Over the last four years, the Bucks have boasted the best mark with only two losses in 16 matches at 12-2-2, qualifying twice. Chicago, meanwhile, was 9-3-4 and reached the tournament in 2009. Indiana is 5-6-5 in that time and Cincinnati has a record of 4-8-0 in its three PDL qualifying stints.

Looking at the upcoming schedule, it appears as though River City and Cincinnati drew the short straws as the duo is slated to play both Michigan and Chicago in their attempt to qualify. Indiana’s path may be its most opportune in years with both expansion sides and Cincinnati on the schedule along with a match against the Bucks.

Cincinnati and Michigan will both face all three of their veteran rivals in the division during qualifying, something the Kings are familiar with having played the trio of Michigan, Chicago and Indiana the past two years as well. The Kings won in Chicago last year and picked up a win at home against Indiana in 2009.

GREAT LAKES DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA GF GD
Akron Summit Assault 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Chicago Fire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Cincinnati Kings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Indiana Invaders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Michigan Bucks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
River City Rovers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 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 14 Chicago Fire at Akron Summit Assault 7:30
May 17 Akron Summit Assault at Cincinnati Kings 7:30
May 19 Akron Summit Assault at River City Rovers 7:30
May 21 Cincinnati Kings at Chicago Fire 7:30
May 21 Michigan Bucks at River City Rovers 7:30
May 22 Indiana Invaders at Akron Summit Assault 7:00
May 23 Michigan Bucks at Cincinnati Kings 7:30
May 25 Cincinnati Kings at Indiana Invaders 7:30
May 28 Indiana Invaders at Michigan Bucks 12:00
May 28 River City Rovers at Chicago Fire 7:30
May 30 River City Rovers at Indiana Invaders 7:30
May 30 Chicago Fire at Michigan Bucks 7:30


Heartland Division
Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Real Colorado Foxes, Springfield Demize, St Louis Lions

While the Great Lakes arguably closes with the showcase match of its qualifying phase, the Heartland Division opens with one of its as the Des Moines Menace play host to the St Louis Lions Saturday, May 14. The Menace ended a three-year absence by earning their fifth trip to the tournament a year ago, ending a two-year run by the Lions. The Menace directly contributed to the turn of events with a 2-1 victory over St Louis, who finished three points back of Des Moines and only one back of second.

Also on the first night of qualifying, the Kansas City Brass visit the Real Colorado Foxes in the first of back-to-back matches. The Foxes finished tied for second in the group last year while Kansas City finished with just one victory for the third consecutive year after earning the 2007 berth with the last 4-0-0 record to come out of the division.

St Louis holds the edge over Des Moines as the best team of the bunch with a 10-4-2 combined qualifying record in the past four years while the Menace are 9-5-2. Kansas City is an even 7-7-2 while Real Colorado has a winning mark of 4-3-1 in its two campaigns. The Springfield Demize bring up the rear with a 2-13-1 record over the last four years, last tasting victory with two wins in 2007.

The Demize are the lone team of the five that will be facing all four of their qualifying rivals, kicking off at home against Des Moines May 18 and playing on the road in the finale of the division’s slate May 28 in St Louis. Springfield was also the only team to have played all four of the other clubs in qualifying last year as well as in 2009.

HEARTLAND DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA GF GD
Des Moines Menace 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Kansas City Brass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Real Colorado Foxes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
St. Louis Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Springfield Demize 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 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 14 St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace 8:30
May 14 Kansas City Brass at Real Colorado Foxes 9:00
May 15 Kansas City Brass at Real Colorado Foxes 3:00
May 18 Des Moines Menace at Springfield Demize 8:30
May 21 St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace 8:30
May 21 Real Colorado Foxes at Springfield Demize 8:30
May 22 Real Colorado Foxes at St. Louis Lions 6:00
May 22 Springfield Demize at Kansas City Brass 8:30
May 25 Des Moines Menace at Kansas City Brass 8:30
May 28 Springfield Demize at St. Louis Lions 6:00


Eastern Conference
(Inside Look +)

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, Seacoast United 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 (Inside Look +)

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 Jaxy 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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