So there has been a lot of talk this week about the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and the fact that the NASL teams will not be allowed to take part in the tournament this year. Some have called it punishment, others have said it is a conspiracy. I for one think the US Open Cup should be redone to mimic the most successful and entertaining national tournament in soccer, the FA Cup. Every team should be entered, even if at different stages. The fact that more teams from D2 entered the "tournament proper" last year than teams from D1 (MLS) is just kinda sad to me. Anyhow, the details of the tournament were announced today:
STRUCTURE, SCHEDULE FINALIZED FOR
98th EDITION OF THE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
Amateurs to Make Up More than Half of the Tournament Field;
Eight MLS Teams to Enter Tournament on June 28 in Third Round
CHICAGO (Feb. 17, 2011) - The 98th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will get underway on June 14 with 16 first-round games. Five rounds of play precede the Oct. 4 final that will decide the U.S. Soccer national club championship.
The more than 155 teams that entered the competition beginning in the initial stages will be narrowed to 40 teams for the tournament proper by the May 30 qualifying deadline. In 2011, 19 professional teams - including eight from Major League Soccer - and 21 amateur teams will make up the field.
The first and second rounds will be made up of exclusively lower division and amateur teams and will be played on June 14 and June 21, respectively, with eight teams advancing to play eight MLS teams on June 28 in the third round.
The quarterfinals will be played on July 12 and the semifinals will be played on Aug. 30. All 2011 U.S. Open Cup matches are scheduled to be played on Tuesdays.
more after the jump:
The tournament has crowned a champion for 97 consecutive years beginning in 1914. Every winning team's name is engraved on the base of the Dewar Challenge Trophy which dates to the first year of the tournament and currently resides at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago.
The two-time defending champion Seattle Sounders will enter the tournament in the third round and will be the first team since 1984 with a chance of winning three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles. The New York Greek-Americans (1967-69) were the only other team to accomplish this feat.
Like recent editions, the U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with games tied after regulation extended by two 15-minute overtime halves. If a winner is not determined in overtime, advancement will be determined by kicks from the penalty spot.
The 2011 champion will earn a $100,000 cash prize, while the runner-up will collect $50,000. The top Division III and Amateur Division clubs will each receive a $10,000 prize. No Division II teams will participate in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup as the North American Soccer League did not obtain provisional sanctioning in time to be included.
2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
May 30: Qualifying Deadline
June 14: First Round (32 teams from USL PRO and Amateur Division)
June 21: Second Round (First round winners)
June 28: Third Round (Second round winners paired against eight MLS teams)
July 12: Quarterfinals
Aug. 30: Semifinals
Oct. 4: Final
Major League Soccer (Division I - 8 teams): Six automatic qualifiers based on the 2010 regular season standings and two qualifiers from a play-in competition that features 10 teams.
Automatic Qualifiers (6 berths): Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders
Play-in Qualifiers (2 berths): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City
United Soccer Leagues PRO (Division III - 11 teams): All U.S.-based clubs automatically qualify.
Automatic Qualifiers (11 berths): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, FC New York, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Wilmington Hammerheads
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (Amateur - 9 teams): The top U.S.-based clu b from each of nine PDL divisions will qualify based on the results of four pre-selected 2011 regular season games. Each of the 54 teams eligible will play two home and two away matches that will serve as qualifiers.
U.S. Adult Soccer Association (Amateur - 8 teams): The first and second place teams from each of the four U.S. Soccer regions will advance to the tournament. Approximately 50 teams entered qualifying at the local or state level.
National Premier Soccer League (Amateur - 4 teams): The process for determining NPSL qualifying teams will be announced in the coming weeks. The 36-team national amateur league is affiliated with the USASA. In previous years its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.
For Real Salt Lake this means at least one additional match this year, on June 28th. I am not sure if this will be a home match or not, but I hope that RSL can use this chance to bring home the LHUSOC trophy to Rio Tinto Stadium.
OFF MY SOAPBOX