Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Up For The Cup

The US Open Cup
Originally uploaded by mfishkin.
The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the oldest soccer competition in the country, and one of the oldest in the world. First contested in 1914, the USOC is a single-elimination tournament along the lines of the English FA Cup. The Cup runs concurrently with the MLS and other league seasons, and any team, amateur or professional, can take enter. The competition was named for US soccer pioneer and investor Lamar Hunt in 2002.

While the NASL teams of the 1970’s-80’s never took part in the USOC, MLS teams have participated in the Cup since the league kicked off in 1996. The league has captured all but one Cup title since then, when the 1999 Rochester Rhinos of the USL 1st division upset Colorado 2-0 in the cup final. Since MLS’ inception, Chicago has been the most successful Cup team, with 3 titles (’98, ’00, 03), while DC United (’96), FC Dallas (’97), LA Galaxy (’01), Columbus (’02), and Kansas City (’04), have the others.

This year’s final tournament includes forty-two clubs from MLS, the USL’s 1st and 2nd divisions and its Premier Development League, and the US Amateur Soccer Association. Cup matches are played on Wednesdays, and sixteen clubs are taking in tonight’s second round.

Tonight’s matches (club level, MLS=I):
Wilimington (NC) Hammerheads (III) vs. Roma of Dallas (Amateur)
Western Mass. Pioneers (III) vs. Reggae Boys of Indiana (Amateur)
Virginia Beach Mariners (II) vs. Richmond Kickers Future (IV)
Ocean City (NJ) Barons (IV) vs. Long Island Rough Riders (III)
Des Moines Menace (IV) vs. Charleston Battery (II)
El Paso Patriots (IV) vs. Charlotte Eagles (III)
Minnesota Thunder (II) vs. Chicago Fire Premier (IV)
Seattle Sounders (II) vs. Salinas Valley Samba (Amateur)

Chicago, Dallas, Salt Lake, and Chivas USA enter the cup in the third round on July 13th. The remaining MLS clubs start play in the fourth round on August 3rd. The final will be held on September 28th.

Last Weekend’s Results
Saturday, June 25th
New England 4-2 MetroStars
Kansas City 3-0 Chivas USA
Colorado 1-3 FC Dallas
San Jose 3-0 LA Galaxy

Sunday, June 26th
Chicago 3-1 Salt Lake

Standings (Team, Points, GD)
MLS Eastern Conference
New England 31, +15
Chicago 26, +4
Kansas City 21, +6
MetroStars 20, +5
DC United 19, +3
Columbus 13, -12

MLS Western Conference
FC Dallas 33, +14
LA Galaxy 24, +2
San Jose 21, +6
Colorado 14, -5
Salt Lake 12, -15
Chivas USA 6, -23

This Week’s Matches:
Wednesday, June 29th
Kansas City v Columbus, 8pm
Chicago v DC United, 8:30pm
San Jose v Colorado, 10:30pm

Saturday, July 2nd
Columbus v DC United, 7:30pm, FSC, HDNet
FC Dallas v San Jose, 8:30pm
Chivas USA v Chicago, 10pm

Monday, July 4th
Salt Lake v MetroStars
Colorado v Kansas City, HDNet
LA Galaxy v New England, FSC

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