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

Posted on 22. Apr, 2011 by Gerald Barnhart in Qualification

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 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 Western Conference portion of the four-part series of breakdowns:

Western Conference Qualifying Breakdown

The conference will be the second to kick off qualifying play across the PDL with Orange County Blue Star taking on the Los Angeles Misioneros Sunday, May 1, the day after the opening match in Florida.

Northwest Division
Kitsap Pumas, North Sound SeaWolves, Portland Timbers U23s, Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire

With five teams in the group, it’s a nice balanced schedule as they will each play one another in the qualifying process. The big change to the division for the year is the geographic isolation to the Pacific side of the region with all five clubs, including the expansion North Sound SeaWolves, on the Western side of the Cascade mountain range for the first time.

Paul Ogunyemi (now with FC Dallas) and the Portland Timbers U23s finished with a perfect record last year en route to winning the PDL championship, but missed out on the US Open Cup due to a tiebreaker. Photo: Portland Timbers

In a strange quirk of the scheduling Washington Crossfire will be the opening match for three of its opponents with the exception being the Tacoma Tide, who will see the Crossfire in their second outing. Washington will hit the road for the group’s opening night May 7 against the expansion SeaWolves, who will also play on closing night of the qualifying campaign as hosts of Kitsap Pumas. The other match that night, May 29, features Tacoma at Portland Timbers U23s.

The powers of the group over the past two years have been the Portland (7-1-0) and Kitsap (7-0-1). The two will meet in Kitsap May 21. It will be the first meeting of the two third-year clubs in qualifying play while Portland holds the advantage in league play over the course of two years with a 3-1-1 record, sweeping the Pumas in three games en route to their perfect championship season last year. But while Portland has the better overall results, it is Kitsap that has advanced the past two years from the group, besting Portland on tiebreakers a year ago after each finished 4-0-0.

The Tide are no slouches either with a 7-5-4 record over the past four years in qualifying, never finishing with a losing record in a single campaign. Washington’s history has not been all that horrible as well with a 3-4-1 record in two rounds through the circuit.

NORTHWEST DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA GF GD
Kitsap Pumas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
North Sound SeaWolves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Portland Timbers U23s 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Tacoma Tide 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Washington Crossfire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0

Top team qualifies for the US 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 7 Washington Crossfire at North Sound SeaWolves 10:00
May 14 Washington Crossfire at Kitsap Pumas 10:00
May 15 Portland Timbers U23s at Washington Crossfire 6:00
May 21 Portland Timbers U23s at Kitsap Pumas 10:00
May 21 North Sound SeaWolves at Tacoma Tide 10:00
May 23 Tacoma Tide at Washington Crossfire 10:00
May 25 North Sound SeaWolves at Portland Timbers U23s 2:00
May 27 Kitsap Pumas at Tacoma Tide 10:00
May 29 Kitsap Pumas at North Sound SeaWolves 6:00
May 29 Tacoma Tide at Portland Timbers U23s 8:00

Southwest Division
BYU Cougars, Fresno Fuego, Los Angeles Blues 23, Los Angeles Misioneros, Ogden Outlaws, Orange County Blue Star, Southern California Seahorses, Ventura County Fusion

A large group with eight teams, the division has been split into two sub-groups for scheduling purposes based on geography. The five teams in the greater Los Angeles metropolis are in the southern group while the BYU Cougars, Ogden Outlaws and Fresno Fuego are in the other.

The smaller group of the two will see the three clubs playing home and away series against their opposition. There is not very much qualifying history between the trio as the two clubs from Utah joined the division just two years ago. The only match among them in two qualifying campaigns is a 4-0 home victory for Fresno over Ogden last year.

Bright Dike of the Portland Timbers battles for the ball with Dan Scott of the Kitsap Pumas in the second round of the 2010 US Open Cup. The Pumas have qualified the last years, but have been eliminated by the Timbers both times. Photo: Prost Amerika

BYU has had the most success of the three with a four-year qualifying record of 8-5-3 while Fresno is an even 6-6-4 and Ogden is 3-10-3. While all three have reached the tournament, none have done so since 2007 when BYU advanced for the second consecutive time. Ogden also qualified in 2006 and Fresno’s lone appearance came in 2003.

With the other sub-group consisting of five teams in arguably the smallest geographic region of any bunching within the entire PDL qualifying process, the clubs will all face one another. Among the five are two fresh faces as the Los Angeles Legends becoming the Misioneros and the LA Blues 23, affiliated with the LA Blues USL Pro club, replacing Hollywood United Hitmen. The Misioneros

The three teams within the group with tournament experience have consecutively represented the Southwest the past three years with Ventura County Fusion finishing first last year after Orange County Blue Star in 2009 and Los Angeles Legends in 2008. With at least two wins in each of the last four years, the Legends held the best record in that span with a run of 9-5-2 while Ventura County is 8-4-4 and Orange County is 6-5-5. Blue Star has been in the tournament more than any other club in all of the division with three appearances.

Veteran club Southern California Seahorses and newcomers LA Blues 23 are the lone teams in the division who have not reached the tournament. The Seahorses know this year’s opposition well having played three of their slated opponents in qualifiers last year as well.

The Southwest Division was the only group a year ago in which every team finished with at least one victory during the qualifying process. It is one of only five groups in the course of the last four years in which that has occurred.

The division wastes no time getting started with Misioneros playing host to Orange County on the First of May. The northern cluster of teams begins the qualification process May 12 with BYU visiting Fresno. May 28 marks the close of the qualifying quest with three games. The Utah duo meet in Ogden while Blues 23 hosts the Misioneros and the Fusion hit the road to face the Seahorses.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA GF GD
BYU Cougars 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Fresno Fuego 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Los Angeles Blues 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Los Angeles Misioneros 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Ogden Outlaws 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Orange County Blue Star 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Southern California Seahorses 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0
Ventura County Fusion 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0

Top team qualifies for the US 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 1 Orange County Blue Star at Los Angeles Misioneros 9:00
May 7 Los Angeles Blues 23 at Orange County Blue Star 8:00
May 7 Ventura County Fusion at Los Angeles Misioneros 9:00
May 12 BYU Cougars at Fresno Fuego 10:00
May 13 Los Angeles Blues 23 at Ventura County Fusion 10:00
May 14 Los Angeles Misioneros at Southern California Seahorses 7:30
May 14 Ogden Outlaws at Fresno Fuego 10:00
May 20 Fresno Fuego at BYU Cougars 9:30
May 20 Orange County Blue Star at Ventura County Fusion 10:00
May 21 Fresno Fuego at Ogden Outlaws 8:00
May 21 Southern California Seahorses at Los Angeles Blues 23 10:00
May 24 Ogden Outlaws at BYU Cougars 9:30
May 25 Southern California Seahorses at Orange County Blue Star 8:00
May 28 BYU Cougars at Ogden Outlaws 8:00
May 28 Los Angeles Misioneros at Los Angeles Blues 23 10:00
May 28 Ventura County Fusion at Southern California Seahorses 10:00

Central Conference (Inside Look +)

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 (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

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