CHICAGO (Sept. 22, 2017) - In the afterglow of a memorable 2017 Final, which ended with MLS’s Sporting Kansas City winning their fourth title on Wednesday, the opening round of Open Division Local Qualifying kicks off this weekend for the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer's National Championship. Ninety-eight teams will take the field from coast to coast in the history-filled annual tournament, now entering its 105th year.
Some notable matchups include 2017 Cinderella story Christos FC (Md.) taking on local power Aegean Hawks FC (Md.) on Sept. 24 (1 p.m. ET at Troy Park - Field 4 in Elkridge, Md.); FC Boulder (Colo.) hosting Harpos FC (Colo.) at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colo. (Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. MDT); and 2016 Open Cup amateur standard bearer La Máquina FC (Calif.) visiting Bell Gardens FC (Calif.) on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. PT (John Anson Ford Park in Bell Gardens, Calif.)
The Leu Blacks FC (Fla.) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.) game has been postponed due to the original venue (Tropical Park in Miami) no longer being available, the result of scheduling adjustments in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The game is being rescheduled for another date and location still to be determined.
Carpathia FC (Mich.) and Santa Fe Wanderers KC (Kan.) have both proactively withdrawn from the competition due to their inability to field enough players. Their respective opponents, Ann Arbor FC (Mich.) and Stegman's Soccer Club (Minn.), thus automatically advance to the second qualifying round, set for Oct. 21-22.
A number of other schedule changes have been made since the original list of matchups was announced on Aug. 29. Fans are encouraged to review the updated schedule below to confirm the date, time and location of games.
Second Qualifying Round Draw to be Live-Tweeted Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. ET
U.S. Soccer will live-Tweet the draw for the second qualifying round on Monday, Sept. 25, starting at 11 a.m. ET. Fans can follow the action through the official Open Cup Twitter feed @opencup. Exact dates, times and locations for the matches, scheduled for Oct. 21-22, will be announced later that same day.
About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Entering its 105th year, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, is the only high-profile competition in American team sports where amateur sides have the opportunity to face professionals in meaningful competition. The tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. Pro teams enter the competition once the tournament progresses further. The winner receives $250,000 in prize money and a place in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions’ League.
2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Open Division Local Qualifying Schedule
First Qualifying Round: Sept. 23-24
Game (home team listed first)
|None||Carpathia FC (Mich.) vs. Ann Arbor FC (Mich.)||0-1 (forfeit)||None (Carpathia FC withdrew Sept. 12)|
|None||Santa Fe Wanderers KC (Kan.) vs. Stegman's Soccer Club (Minn.)||0-1 (forfeit)||None (Santa Fe Wanders KC withdrew Sept. 19)|
|Sept. 23||Unations FC (Mass.) vs. Safira FC (Mass.)||10 a.m. ET||Burncoat High School; Worcester, Mass.|
|Sept. 23*||Kendall Wanderers (Mass.) vs. Boston Siege FC (Mass.)||2 p.m. ET||Danehy Park; Cambridge, Mass.|
|Sept. 23*||Lynn United (Mass.) vs. GPS Omens (Mass.)||3 p.m. ET||Manning Stadium; Lynn, Mass.|
|Sept. 23||Southie FC (Mass.) vs. Mass United FC (Mass.)||4 p.m. ET||Medford High School; Medford, Mass.|
|Sept. 23#||Salone FC (Pa.) vs. Junior Lone Star U23s (Pa.)||4:30 p.m. ET||West Chester United Turf Field; West Chester, Pa.|
|Sept. 23+||West Chester United (Pa.) vs. Junior Lone Star FC (Pa.)||7:30 p.m. ET||West Chester United Turf Field; West Chester, Pa.|
|Sept. 23||Aurora Borealis Soccer Club (Ill.) vs. United Serbian Soccer Club (Wis.)||7:30 p.m. CT||Ohio Moose Sports Complex; Mooseheart, Ill.|
|Sept. 24||New York Pancyprian Freedoms (N.Y.) vs. Newtown Pride FC (Conn.)||12 p.m. ET||Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Jamaica, N.Y.|
|Sept. 24||NLS Graduates (Md.) vs. Izee Auto FC (Md.)||1 p.m. ET||Banner Field at Latrobe Park; Baltimore, Md.|
|Sept. 24||Christos FC (Md.) vs. Aegean Hawks FC (Md.)||1 p.m. ET||Troy Park - Field 4; Elkridge, Md.|
|Sept. 24+||Phoenix Soccer Club (Pa.) vs. Upper Darby FC (Pa.)||2:30 p.m. ET||Phoenix Sports Club; Trevose, Pa.|
|Sept. 24*||Vereinigung Erzgebirge (Pa.) vs. United German Hungarians (Pa.)||4 p.m. ET||Vereinigung Erzgebirge Clubhouse; Warminster, Pa.|
|Sept. 24||Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (Pa.) vs. Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.)||4 p.m. ET||Rooney Field (Duquesne Univ.); Pittsburgh, Pa.|
|Sept. 24||Jackson Lions FC (N.J.) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Jackson Justice Complex; Jackson, N.J.|
Game (home team listed first)
|Sept. 23*^#||Majestic Soccer Club (Ga.) vs. Lowcountry United (S.C.)||3:30 p.m. ET||Atlanta United Training Ground; Marietta, Ga.|
|Sept. 23||Central Texas Lobos (Texas) vs. NTX Rayados (Texas)||5 p.m. CT||Gregg-Clarke Park; Kyle, Texas|
|Sept. 23||Austin Real Cuauhtemoc (Texas) vs. Celtic Cowboys Premier (Texas)||6 p.m. CT||McMasters Athletic Complex; Georgetown, Texas|
|Sept. 23#||Hurricane FC (Fla.) vs. Boca Raton Football Club (Fla.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Seacrest Soccer Complex - Field 1; Delray Beach, Fla.|
|Sept. 24||FC Ginga (Fla.) vs. Red Force FC (Fla.)||10 a.m. ET||Barry University; Miami Shores, Fla.|
|Sept. 24*||South Florida FC (Fla.) vs. Miami United FC U23 (Fla.)||5 p.m. ET||Brian Piccolo Park; Cooper City, Fla.|
|Sept. 24||Orlando Storm (Fla.) vs. InterUnited AC (Fla.)||7 p.m. ET||UCF Soccer & Track Complex; Orlando, Fla.|
|Sept. 24||Gaffa FC (Miss.) vs. Motagua New Orleans (La.)||6 p.m. CT||Freedom Ridge Stadium; Ridgeland, Miss.|
|Sept. 24||Miami Wolves FC (Fla.) vs. Miami Nacional SC (Fla.)||8 p.m. ET||Amelia Earhart Park Field 6, Hialeah, Fla.
|Sept. 24||Leu Blacks FC (Fla.) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.)||8 p.m. ET||Amelia Earhart Park Field 5, Hialeah, Fla.
First Round Bye: Cajun Soccer Club (La.), Nashville United (Tenn.)
Game (home team listed first)
|Sept. 23||Gam United FC (Colo.) vs. FC Denver (Colo.)||4:30 p.m. MDT||Aurora Public Schools Stadium; Aurora, Colo.|
|Sept. 23||Azteca FC (Colo.) vs. Denver Metro FC (Colo.)||7 p.m. MDT||Aurora Public Schools Stadium; Aurora, Colo.|
|Sept. 23||Chiapas FC (Ariz.) vs. Inter EmpireWorks FC (Ariz.)||8 p.m. MST||Desert West Sports Complex - Field 1; Phoenix, Ariz.|
|Sept. 23||Ojuelos Jalisco (Ariz.) vs. ALLSTARS SC (Ariz.)||8 p.m. MST||Desert West Sports Complex - Synthetic Field; Phoenix, Ariz.|
|Sept. 24||FC Boulder (Colo.) vs. Harpos FC (Colo.)||3 p.m. MDT||Fairview High School; Boulder, Colo.|
|Sept. 24||Indios Denver FC (Colo.) vs. FC Union Jerez (Colo.)||3:45 p.m. MDT||Englewood High School Stadium; Englewood, Colo.|
|Sept. 24*||Colorado Springs FC (Colo.) vs. Colorado Rovers (Colo.)||4:30 p.m. MDT||Grace Center for Athletics; Colorado Springs, Colo.|
|Sept. 24||Colorado Rush (Colo.) vs. Club El Azul (Colo.)||5 p.m. MDT||Shea Stadium; Highlands Ranch, Colo.|
|Sept. 24*||Fort Collins United (Colo.) vs. FC Greeley (Colo.)||7:30 p.m. MDT||Loveland Sports Park; Loveland, Colo.|
First Round Bye: Galati FC (Ariz.), Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.)
Game (home team listed first)
|Sept. 23||Davis Legacy SC (Calif.) vs. Western Nevada Futbol Club (Nev.)||5 p.m. PT||Davis Legacy Soccer Complex; Davis, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Valley United SC (Calif.) vs. Los Angeles SC (Calif.)||1-0 Forfeit||Heritage High School; North Hills, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Academica Soccer Club (Calif.) vs. Oakland Pamperos (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Academica Fields; Turlock, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Dynamos FC (Calif.) vs. El Farolito (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Dougherty Valley High School; San Ramon, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Las Vegas Mobsters FC (Nev.) vs. Pacific Side FC (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Kellogg-Zaher Soccer Complex; Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Sept. 23||Santa Ana Winds FC (Calif.) vs. Outbreak FC (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Lake Forest Sports Park; Lake Forest, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||IPS/Marathon Taverna (Ore.) vs. Boise FC Cutthroats (Idaho)||7 p.m. PT||Rob Strasser Memorial Field; Portland, Ore.|
|Sept. 23||Bell Gardens FC (Calif.) vs. La Máquina FC (Calif.)||7:30 p.m. PT||John Anson Ford Park; Bell Gardens, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Real San Jose (Calif.) vs. Cal Victory FC (Calif.)||7:30 p.m. PT||PAL Stadium; San Jose, Calif.|
|Sept. 23||Vanquish FC (Calif.) vs. C.F. Cachorros USA (Calif.)||8 p.m. PT||Great Park, Main Stadium; Irvine, Calif.|
|Sept. 24||UFA Hawks L.A. (Calif.) vs. Santa Clarita Storm (Calif.)||5:10 p.m PT||Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA|
|Sept. 24||Buena Park FC (Calif.) vs. Newport FC (Calif.)||3 p.m. PT||John F. Kennedy High School; La Palma, Calif.|
|Sept. 24^||SFV Scorpions (Calif.) vs. AC Brea Steaua United (Calif.)||4 p.m. PT||Alemany High School; Mission Hills, Calif.|
|Sept. 24||Newcastle United FC (Calif.) vs. Del Rey City SC (Calif.)||6 p.m. PT||SilverLakes Sports Complex; Norco, Calif.|
|Sept. 24*^||San Pedro Monsters FC (Calif.) vs. Fontana International SC (Calif.)||6:30 p.m. PT||Banning H.S. Soccer Stadium; Wilmington, Calif.|
|Sept. 24||Strikers FC South Coast (Calif.) vs. Chula Vista FC (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Lake Forest Sports Park; Lake Forest, Calif.|
|Sept. 24||L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.) vs. Real Sociedad Royals (Calif.)||7:30 p.m. PT||John Anson Ford Park; Bell Gardens, Calif.|
* Time changed ^ Date changed # Venue changed + Home team switched
Second Qualifying Round: Oct. 21-22
Third Qualifying Round: Nov. 18-19Read more
Home is a practicality in the world of sports. An advantage. A better option than playing away. But when Sporting Kansas City’s players talk about home, about Children’s Mercy Park and the fans that make it bounce and sing, you get the sense it means a little more than that.
“I don’t even have the words to express what it means to me to win a trophy with this atmosphere and these amazing fans,” said Tim Melia, SKC’s outstanding goalkeeper who conceded just two goals in five games of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. He forced back tears amid a swirl of blue confetti and that warm feeling of being with people who care about the same things you do. “The feeling is something I want to feel every night of my life. The closeness of the fans and the players here, and what they do for us, it’s just amazing. They’re so much a part of us.”
You can’t blame Melia for getting emotional. Home is a heavy notion. It matters, maybe more than anything. And he had a hard road to the rarefied air of Cup Finals and being ranked among the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer. It wasn’t too many years ago that he didn’t have a club, that he was willing to entertain whatever offers came his way. But at Children’s Mercy Park on the night he and SKC beat the Red Bulls 2-1 to win a fourth Open Cup, he got a standing ovation just for coming out to warm up.
Sporting Kansas City’s captain Matt Besler had a busy night in the Final of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer club championship. The U.S. National Team defender and Kansas native kept things tight at the back, resisting the menace of New York Red Bulls’ ace marksman Bradley Wright-Phillips and their elegant playmaker Sacha Kljestan. Amid the celebrations, fireworks and blue confetti at Children’s Mercy Park, the good-natured skipper took a few minutes to talk to ussoccer.com about what it means to bring another title to Kansas City.
ussoccer.com: It’s another Open Cup title for Sporting Kansas City. That makes it four in all. How does it feel to be a part of a club that has never lost an Open Cup final?
Matt Besler: This is what it’s all about. These are the nights you live for as a soccer player. Here with these fans right now and my teammates, celebrating a win like this is the reason why you even play this game.
ussoccer.com: The game had a physical edge from the start. The tackles were flying in and no one on either team gave any quarter. Did you expect the game to play out the way it did?
MB: It was a tough game. Everyone was working for everything and it was clear that both teams were committed and trying their all to win this Cup. Both teams were really aggressive in their tackles and it really played out like a classic cup final. I felt like this was the kind of game we were going to have tonight and we were good enough to get through it in the end. But it was never easy.
ussoccer.com: The New York Red Bulls didn’t go quietly. They were pressing hard at the end with the score at 2-1 and it looked like an equalizer might be in the cards…
MB: You have to credit the Red Bulls for the effort they put in, but at the end of the day we did what we needed to do and it was enough for us to win. You can never predict how a final is going to go, but you can be sure they’re not going to be easy. None of our games in this Open Cup were easy. We had to work for everything. And this one went our way tonight and I don’t really have the words to describe what I’m feeling right now.
ussoccer.com: It seemed like there was a special feeling to this Sporting Kansas City team from the start of the Open Cup campaign. Would you say there was something like destiny about this Cup run?
MB: I would. It started in our first game. We really felt like something special was happening with us. There was a real special feeling in the locker room and around the club. When we played in Dallas and had to be a man down for almost 90 minutes, there was something about winning that game with all of that going against us, that just made it seem like we were headed for something great.
ussoccer.com: The SKC Family suffered a loss not long before that FC Dallas game…
MB: One of our owners, Neal Patterson, passed away a week before the Dallas Quarterfinal. It was a tough thing for the club and for everyone connected to it. I’d just like to dedicate this win to him.
ussoccer.com: You’re getting to be an old hand at winning Cups – MLS Cups and Open Cups. How does this one measure up to the rest?
MB: Any Cup feels just as sweet as the one before. It never gets old. I don’t even know how I feel right now – I’m still in a haze about it. I haven’t had a minute to even digest it. We’re trying to win as many of these things as we can before we’re done playing. Nothing compares to the feeling.
ussoccer.com: Latif Blessing, a young man with a lot of talent, had a big night. In a team with many experienced leaders, it must be satisfying to see one of the youngsters step up in such a big way…
MB: Latif stepped up tonight. He was a threat from the opening whistle. It was unfortunate that he had to leave the game with an injury, but he certainly made his mark on it. He imposed his will while he was in there. We couldn’t ask any more of him.
ussoccer.com: What do you have to say to the fans that have been such a huge part of your 2017 Open Cup campaign and all of the success that has come to this club?
MB: I just want to say “thank you” to all of them. They are our twelfth man, they are our lifeblood, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t matter. We owe a lot to these fans right here. They’re just the best. They’re always there for us. You can’t find better fans anywhere.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting KC Wins Fourth U.S. Open Cup Crown with 2-1 vs. New York Red Bulls in 2017 Final
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sept. 20, 2017) – Sporting Kansas City kept alive their perfect record in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Finals, beating New York Red Bulls 2-1 to claim their fourth crown in this the 104th installment of U.S. Soccer’s club championship. In front of a huge home crowd of 21,523 (third-largest in the history of Children’s Mercy Park), Peter Vermes’ SKC were in control from the start, and goals from Latif Blessing and substitute Daniel Salloi were enough to give the home team, and their boisterous fans, yet another night to savor.
The first-half proved that the pre-game promises of a wide-open Final that came from both sides were more than just empty advertising. Inside the 3rd minute, Gerso Fernandes latched onto a clever diagonal pass from Roger Espinoza and snuck in behind a flat Red Bull defense. Only a last-ditch tackle from Aaron Long kept the home side from carving out an early lead.
The pattern repeated itself on the ten-minute mark, with the speedy Gerso racing in from the right side and collecting the ball again from the foraging Espinoza. This time, though, the live-wire attacker made the wrong choice. Instead of pulling the trigger from a tight angle, he tried to lay the ball back across the box for the onrushing Benny Feilhaber. The noisy section behind the goal, the one they call the Claudron, responded with a groan before promptly getting back to drumming, chanting and general merry-making.
Bradley Wright-Phillips plowed a lone furrow for himself in attack at the other end. But even all on his own, the English-born striker was a threat not to be underestimated. His first effort to get on the end of a long ball saw him stray into an offside position. The next time, Matt Besler bundled him over. But the time after that, in the 13th minute, BWP forced SKC keeper Tim Melia to stretch to his limits and punch clear at the last possible second. The goalkeeper, who only allowed one goal in four games leading up to the Final, wasn’t off the hook yet. Sacha Kljestan, Red Bulls captain, got hold of the clearance and fired low with his right foot, forcing Melia into another fingertip save.
U.S. Youth International Tyler Adams of New York shadows U.S. MNT and Sporting KC defender Graham Zusi.
It was the Red Bulls turn to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Shortly after their captain made Melia work, U.S. youth international and native New Yorker Tyler Adams tried his luck from the edge of the box too. Melia, again, was equal to the task with a fine low save.
But all that good work proved a false dawn for the New Yorkers. In the 25th minute, the roof flew off Children’s Mercy Park when Latif Blessing – the shortest and slightest player on the pitch – rose highest to meet Graham Zusi’s inch-perfect cross from the right to make it 1-0 for the home team. Ryan Meara got a glove to the shot, but the effort only had eyes for the net.
Sporting KC's 5'5" forward Latif Blessing leaps in front of his marker to provide the opening salvo in his team's 2017 U.S. Open Cup triumph.
In the venerable tradition of the best cup finals, the game developed a physical edge. It straddled the line between tough and nasty. Every loose ball was challenged and every player on the pitch, even the darlings like SKC schemer Benny Feilhaber and New York’s elegant Kljestan, went hell for leather into tackles and 50-50 balls.
In the 41st minute, the diminutive Blessing was at it again. This time he hustled and harried to win the ball deep in his own half before sending a curling ball 60 yards up the field to pick out the flying Gerso. The man from Guinea-Bissau was all alone and bearing down on goal. A tug of the shirt from Adams and a charge from Meara, who stood in for regular No.1 Luis Robles for every minute of the Red Bulls’ 2017 Open Cup campaign, was enough to throw off Gerso’s shot and keep the game alive.
Having turned the contest on its ear with a goal and no shortage of lively play, it was a sad sight to see Blessing limp off two minutes from the interval with an injury. There was the sense he had more to offer the game with his guile and pace. Tempers flared on the stroke of half-time with both sets of player agitated over tight calls and even tighter no-calls.
The second-half picked up right where the first let off, with both sides fighting for every ball. Sporting Kansas City, with a 1-0 lead to comfort them, didn’t need to take any chances. Vermes strengthened the midfield by bringing on Jimmy Medranda for Gerso, almost daring the Red Bulls to push into attack.
Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi revs up 'Blue Hell' after putting the home team ahead 2-0 midway through the second half of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Final.
But before the visitors even had a chance to mount a charge, Sporting KC doubled their lead in the 66th minute. Feilhaber collected the ball out wide on the left and used his fly’s-eye vision to curl a pass in for Salloi, the substitute from Hungary who came on to replace opening goal-scorer Blessing. Meara hesitated before racing off his line and found himself in no-man’s land by the time the wispy Salloi stretched to poke the ball home to a roar of delight from the elated Kansas City crowd. They could sense a fourth Open Cup crown was on the cards for their heroes.
And so it was to be. Despite a late Wright-Phillips consolation goal in injury time, the 2-1 result earns Sporting Kansas City $250,000 dollars in prize money and a place in the CONCACAF Champions League, the competition which sends CONCACAF’s representative to the annual FIFA Club World Cup. But all of that is gravy for later, as the night and its celebrations, both in the stands and down on the pitch, were what it was all about. It was a fitting end to another unforgettable Open Cup.