04/08/2015 10:32 AM
Article By: Staff
2015 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP KICKS OFF APRIL 25
Matchups for Play-In, First and Second Rounds Determined
CHICAGO (April 8, 2015) – U.S. Soccer has announced the pairings for the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in, first and second round matches.
Cal FC, the Cinderella amateur team of the 2012 tournament that knocked out Division III and Division I pro sides on its way to the round of 16, opens the 2015 Open Cup on April 25, when it visits first-time entrant San Francisco City FC (US Club Soccer) at historic Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California, at 2 p.m. PT. An hour later, U.S. Specialty Sports Association qualifier Harpo’s FC (Boulder, Colorado) hosts the KC Athletics in a 4 p.m. MT game to conclude the play-in round schedule.
The two play-in round winners will join 40 amateur sides from the Premier Development League, National Premier Soccer League and U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifiers in first round action, scheduled for May 13. A number of teams familiar with Open Cup success will be taking part, including 2014 Amateur Division prize winner Laredo Heat (PDL), multiple-time giant killer Michigan Bucks (PDL), 1991 champion Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) and four-time (1967-69 and 1974) Open Cup winner New York Greek American Atlas (USASA qualifier). Several local derbies highlight the first-round schedule, including a clash between NPSL success story Detroit City FC and the nearby Bucks.
One week later, the 21 first-round survivors will take on a Division III (United Soccer League) pro side in the second round on May 20. With the rapid expansion of USL in 2015, nine USL clubs will be experiencing the Open Cup for the first time, while others, like 1995 champion Richmond Kickers, 1999 winner Rochester Rhinos, and 2008 finalist Charleston Battery, have a long and storied history in the competition.
The third round match-ups – scheduled for May 27 and the first to include Division II (North American Soccer League) squads – will be determined on May 14 after first-round results are in the books. The possible fourth round pairings, when Division I (Major League Soccer) clubs enter the fray, will be announced on May 21 once the second round has concluded. The highly-anticipated round of matches between MLS teams versus survivors from previous rounds (with the exception of one all-MLS tilt) is set for June 16 and 17.
Matches from the beginning of the tournament to the fourth round are determined on a geographic basis within certain parameters. Those parameters include arranging pairings to prevent a lower division team from playing a parent club. Teams playing in their first Open Cup match also cannot be paired against another club from the same qualifying pool (the all-MLS fourth round match is the lone exception). In the event that three or more teams are within the same proximity, pairings for these teams are made by random selection.
In a new wrinkle for 2015, the pairings for the fifth round (June 30 and July 1) will be determined after dividing the 16 fourth-round winners geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams that have a shared-ownership relationship precluded from being in the same group. A random draw, scheduled for June 18, will determine the pairings within each group. The two fifth-round winners from each group will subsequently face each other in the quarterfinal (sixth) round July 21-22. Each group will also be paired geographically with another group to pre-determine the pairings for the semifinal round August 11-12. Should two ownership-affiliated teams reach the semifinal round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn to avoid this outcome.
The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final will take place Sept. 29 or 30 at the home of one of the participating teams.
This year's winner will earn $250,000, a berth in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions' League and have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in American team sports. The runner-up will take home $60,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will earn a $15,000 cash prize.
The 91 teams competing in the 102nd edition of the tournament mark the largest field in the modern era (1995-present) and the fourth consecutive year that has seen a participation record set. This year also marks the fourth consecutive competition in which all U.S.-based Division I, II and III professional teams will participate in the tournament proper.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 101 consecutive years dating from 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
Seattle Sounders FC are the defending U.S. Open Cup champion, having won a fourth tournament title (following triumphs in 2009, 2010 and 2011) after a 3-1 overtime, road victory against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 16, 2014.
2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participating Teams
Participating Professional Teams (47 total)
Major League Soccer (Division I - 17 teams, entering in the Fourth Round): Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City
North American Soccer League (Division II - 9 teams, entering in the Third Round): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Indy Eleven, Jacksonville Armada, Minnesota United FC, New York Cosmos, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies
USL PRO (Division III - 21 teams, entering in the Second Round): Arizona United, Austin Aztex, Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Harrisburg City Islanders, A Galaxy II, Louisville City FC, New York Red Bulls II, Oklahoma City Energy, Orange County Blues, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Portland Timbers 2, Real Monarchs SLC, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Sacramento Republic, Saint Louis FC, Seattle Sounders 2, Tulsa Roughnecks, Wilmington Hammerheads
Distribution of Amateur-Level Places (44 total) U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers (11 places [nine entering in the First Round, two entering in the Play-In Round): Region I – Maryland Bays, New York Greek American Atlas; Region II – KC Athletics (Kan.), Madison Fire (Wis.); Region III – NTX Rayados (North Texas), Triangle Brigade (N.C.); Region IV – Cal FC (Calif.-South), Chula Vista FC (Calif.-South); Wild Card Berths (3): Global Premier Soccer (Mass.), PSA Elite (Calif.-South), RWB Adria (Ill.). Five USASA regional qualifiers advanced to the third round in 2014, including Cinderella story PSA Elite, who reached the fourth round and faced the eventual champion Seattle Sounders FC.
Premier Development League (19 places, entering in the First Round): Division Winners: Des Moines Menace, FC Tucson, Jersey Express, Kitsap Pumas, Michigan Bucks, Ocala Stampede, Seacoast United Phantoms, Ventura County Fusion, West Virginia Chaos; At-Large Berths: AC Connecticut, Burlingame Dragons, BYU Cougars, Golden State Misioneros, Laredo Heat, Long Island Rough Riders, Midland/Odessa Sockers, Reading United, SW Florida Adrenaline, Western Mass Pioneers. The PDL is a national amateur league affiliated with the USASA. Two PDL sides advanced to the fourth round in 2014 (Orlando City U23s and Laredo Heat, which had the only amateur victory over a Division II club when they came from behind on the road to knock off the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3-2 with a penalty kick in the last act of regulation time).
National Premier Soccer League (12 places, entering in the First Round): Brooklyn Italians, Chattanooga FC (Tenn.), Detroit City FC, FC Tacoma 253, Fort Pitt Regiment (Pa.), Greater Binghamton Thunder (N.Y.), Lansing United (Mich.), Miami United (Fla.), Sonoma County Sol (Calif.), Tulsa Athletics (Okla.), Upward Star (S.C.), Virginia Beach City FC. The NPSL is a national amateur league affiliated with the USASA. Two NPSL clubs (Brooklyn Italians and Chattanooga FC) reached the third round in 2014.
US Club Soccer (one place, entering in the Play-In Round): US Club Soccer is an organization member of U.S. Soccer participating in its fifth Open Cup tournament in the last six years. San Francisco City FC won the US Club Soccer qualifying place on Jan. 31 and is making its first trip to the tournament.
U.S. Specialty Sports Association (one place, entering in the Play-In Round): The USSSA is an organization member of U.S. Soccer participating in its third consecutive Open Cup tournament. Its qualifier was decided on March 15 when Harpo’s FC from Boulder, Colorado, won the USSSA qualifying tournament.
Tournament Format, Match Dates and Pairings: The 2015 U.S. Open Cup will be conducted on a single-elimination, one-game-knockout basis utilizing a tiered-bracket format. Teams will be paired geographically. In the event that three or more teams are from the same proximity, pairings for these teams will be made by random selection. Pairings will be arranged to prevent the possibility of a lower division team playing a parent club (e.g. Portland Timbers 2 [USL] will not be pitted against the Portland Timbers [MLS], should both teams be in the competition in the same round) except for the Final.