CHICAGO (Wednesday, June 5, 2002) – U.S. Soccer announced today the First and Second Round tournament brackets for the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Twenty-four teams—eight A-League, seven D3 Pro League, five Premier Development League (PDL) and four U.S. Amateur Soccer Association teams—were slotted on a geographic basis.
The 89-year-old tournament will pit seven D3 Pro League teams against seven amateur squads and two PDL clubs against each other in the First Round June 9-12, with the winners facing eight A-League qualifiers from the United Soccer Leagues in the Second Round on June 26.
After the conclusion of the First Round matches, the eight qualified Major League Soccer teams (Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, NY/NJ MetroStars and San Jose Earthquakes) will be placed into the Third Round brackets geographically and will meet the Second Round survivors on July 17.
The single-elimination competition begins on Sunday (June 9) with two First Round games. The USASA Region I representative Vereinigung Erzgebirge of Warminster, Pa., hosts the D3 Pro League’s South Jersey Barons at the V.E. Soccer Club while Austin, Texas’ Real Madrid (USASA Region III) travels to face the Greenville Lions (D3) at Sirrine Stadium in Greenville, S.C.
The opening round continues on Tuesday, June 11, with three match-ups as the Carolina Dynamo (D3) squares off against the host Raleigh CASL Elite (PDL) at SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C., while the D3 Pro’s New Jersey Stallions hit the road to play the PDL’s Des Moines Menace at Cara McGrane Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. In an intrastate battle between California clubs, Mexico S.C. of Selma (USASA Region IV) takes on the San Diego Gauchos (D3) at Stan Canaris Stadium (Eastlake H.S.) in Chula Vista.
The First Round concludes on Wednesday, June 12, with three more encounters. In an all-PDL contest, the Memphis Express faces the Texas Spurs at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in suburban Richardson while the AAC Eagles from Chicago (USASA Region II) battle the D3 Pro club New York Freedoms at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. The Utah Blitzz (D3) takes on the Chico Rooks (PDL) in Chico, Calif., to finish the tournament’s first stage.
U.S. Soccer also confirmed two of the eight venues for the Second Round, scheduled for June 26, and announced the home teams for several other Second Round contests based on possible First Round and qualifier outcomes.
The A-League’s Minnesota Thunder will host the winner of the San Diego Gauchos-Mexico S.C. match at the National Sports Center in Blaine on June 26 at 11 a.m. CT, while the N.J. Stallions-Des Moines Menace victor will travel to Rochester, N.Y., to meet the Rochester Raging Rhinos at Frontier Field at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Other Second Round home game possibilities for that date include the winner of the Raleigh CASL Elite-Carolina Dynamo showdown hosting the Richmond Kickers, the South Jersey Barons (should they advance) welcoming the Hampton Roads Mariners, V.E. (if they prevail) traveling to Hampton Roads, the Texas Spurs (should they triumph) hosting the Atlanta Silverbacks, the Memphis Express (if they win) visiting Atlanta, and the Greenville Lions (if they move on) greeting the Charleston Battery.
In the A-League’s final Open Cup qualifying game, the Milwaukee Rampage will host the Cincinnati Riverhawks on Sunday (June 9) in the final match of the home-and-home series. The Riverhawks won the first encounter, 3-2, in Cincinnati on May 4. The series winner, determined by total goals scored and then a penalty-kick tie breaker (if necessary), will host the survivor between the New York Freedoms and AAC Eagles in a Second Round game on June 26. The remaining Second Round hosting possibilities will be determined at a later date.
Played under FIFA rules, each Open Cup match will finish with a winner, with games tied after regulation time going into 30 minutes of sudden-death overtime and then to penalty kicks, if needed.
In 2001, the Los Angeles Galaxy captured their first domestic championship by claiming the Open Cup crown with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the New England Revolution in Fullerton, Calif.
Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Español, which have broadcast a number of Open Cup matches across the last two years, including the semifinals and championship games, will once again be the official television broadcaster of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2002. The exact broadcast schedule for this year’s tournament will be announced at a later date.
Dating back to 1914, the 89-year-old U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer cup competition in the United States and is among the oldest in the world.