Things you should know about the First Round of the US Open Cup

Posted by | September 1, 2009
David Geno and the Seattle Sounders Under-23s celebrate one of the club's five goals in a 5-1 win over Doxa Italia in the First Round of the 2013 US Open Cup. Photo: Chris Coulter | SoundersPhotos.com

David Geno and the Seattle Sounders Under-23s celebrate one of the club’s five goals in a 5-1 win over Doxa Italia in the First Round of the 2013 US Open Cup. Photo: Chris Coulter | SoundersPhotos.com

A total of 40 clubs took part in the first Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (then known as the National Challenge Cup) tournament in 1913/14, a majority of whom came from the Northeast region of the country.

In 2008, the Seattle Sounders USL franchise became the first club in the Modern Era to advance to the Semifinals in consecutive seasons after beginning play in the First Round.

Since 1996, only five teams have advanced to the Semifinals after beginning play in the First Round. The Charleston Battery (2008), Carolina RailHawks (2007), San Francisco Bay Seals (1997) and the Seattle Sounders who did it twice in 2007 and 2008. San Francisco remain as the only third division club to advance to the final four (after beginning in Round 1) during that span.

Since 1995, an Open Division Local team has failed to advance past the First Round only three times (1995, 1998, 2002). Uruguay SC from Florida made the Second Round in back-to-back years (2000, 2001), and Mexico SC (Fresno, CA) joined them in 2000. Dallas Roma FC advanced in consecutive seasons in 2005 and 2006 and Bavarian SC (Milwaukee, WI) moved on to the next round in 2003 and 2007. From 2008-2010, only one USASA club survived the opening round each year (Hollywood United – 2008, Sonoma County Sol – 2009, Arizona Sahuaros – 2010). After the tournament expanded in 2012, it has become more common.

In 1999, the Wilmington Hammerheads saw two players score hat tricks in their First Round match. Ryan Walker and Luke Griffith both scored three times in Wilmington’s 8-1 rout of Los Lobos, a USASA team from Oklahoma.

The Atlanta Silverbacks (USL First Division, Div. 2 pro) embarrassed Azzurri, an Open Division Local club from North Texas, 10-0 in the First Round of the 2007 tournament. It was the biggest route in the Modern Era, topping the Chicago Stingers’ (USL D3 Pro) 8-0 win over SAC Wisla (USASA) in 1997.

2007 marked the first year that all non-MLS teams began the tournament in the First Round. It was also the first year that any Division 2 pro teams started in Round 1.

In 2013, David Geno of the Seattle Sounders U-23s (USL League Two) became the first player from an Open Division team to score four goals in one game, and just the 10th player from any division to pull off the feat. He did this in Seattle’s 5-1 home win over Doxa Italia, and he scored all four of his goals in the first half.

The First Round in 2013 marked the first time that four different players scored a hat trick in the same round. Prior to that year, no more than two players had ever done it in the same round in the Modern Era (1995-present).  David Geno of the Sounders U23s scored four against Doxa Italia (USASA), while Hakan Ilhan (Carolina Dynamo), Kwadwo Poku (Georgia Revolution) and Argjent Duka (Icon FC) each scored a trio of goals in their respective games.

The attendance record for the First Round of the US Open Cup (Modern Era) is 5,816, when the Arizona Sahuaros (D3 Pro League) hosted the San Gabriel Valley Highlanders (PDL) at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona on June 12, 1998.

The record for highest average attendance in the First Round (Modern Era) is 1,247, but there were only four games scheduled that year (and one of them was forfeited).

The record for the biggest Second Round in the Modern Era is 2017 when there were 28 games played.

Updated after the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup