The Seattle Sounders captured the 2009 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title, earning themselves $100,000 in prize money and a place in the 2010/2011 CONCACAF Champions League. This was officially announced by CONCACAF after rumors had spread that the number of club teams that would compete in the 2010/11 competition from the United States could be reduced from four to three, potentially leaving the Open Cup champion on the outside looking in. Those rumors appeared to be unfounded as the Sounders, who defeated DC United 2-1 in the Open Cup Final on September 2, are the first team to qualify for the 2010/11 tournament and unless they win MLS Cup or the Supporters’ Shield (which earn a spot in the group stage), they will begin in the qualifying phase in 2010.
For the full press release, visit the CONCACAF Champions League website.
“With their average attendance this year, the Sounders will be a great addition to the Champions League,” CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said. “We can’t wait to have them.”
Seattle, competing in its first season in Major League Soccer, has led MLS with an average crowd of 30,587 playing at Qwest Field, more than 10,000 better than the next best team: Toronto FC (20,308).
The United States submits four teams into the CONCACAF Champions League. The MLS Cup champion and the Supporters’ Shield winner both automatically qualify for the group stage, while the US Open Cup champion and the MLS Cup runner-up begin in the Preliminary Round. This is third year in a row that CONCACAF has accepted the US Open Cup champion into the competition.