6 THINGS ABOUT THE U.S. OPEN CUP
To give you a little primer on one of the nation’s longest-running and intriguing competitions, here’s a list of “6 Things You Need to Know about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup”:
- This year will be the 102nd rendition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a single-elimination tournament composed of both amateur and professional teams from across the country. A champion has been crowned every single year since 1914 (when it was known as the National Challenge Cup), making it one of the longest continuously-running competitions in any sport in the country.
- U.S. Soccer’s national club championship competition was re-named in 1999 to honor the legacy of American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt, who helped to found both the original NASL in the 1960’s and Major League Soccer in the 1990’s.
- The 2015 tournament consists of a record 91 teams fighting it out across nine rounds. Forty-four amateur teams competed in the preliminary and first rounds, followed by 21 USL clubs hopping in during last week’s second round. The NASL’s nine teams will join the 21 winners from last week’s games in the third round on Wednesday, while that night’s 15 victors will make it to the fourth round in mid-June, when 17 MLS clubs will join the fray.
- The winner of the prestigious tournament will win both $250,000 and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament played by premier club teams throughout North America and the Caribbean. The club that finishes second in the tournament will receive $60,000 and the team that advances the furthest from their league will earn $15,000.
- Seattle Sounders FC are the defending champions. The MLS side won their third Open Cup in five years (and fourth in club history) after defeating the Philadelphia Union 3-1 in the 2014 championship at PPL Park in Chester, PA.
- Since the “MLS era” of the tournament began in 1996, only one lower division team has captured the Open Cup crown. Indy Eleven goalkeeper Kristian Nicht’s former squad, the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League (then the second division in American soccer), completed their Cinderella run to Open Cup glory in 1999.
News Source: Indy Eleven