CHICAGO (January 29, 2007) – A total of 40 teams, including 24 professional and 16 amateur clubs, will compete in the 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June for the 94th consecutive year.
With the busiest summer in the history of soccer in the United States approaching for both professional clubs and the U.S. National Teams, the number of Major League Soccer teams that will enter the tournament proper has been reduced to eight teams. However, every U.S. based MLS squad will participate in the tournament either in qualifying rounds or in the tournament proper.
The United Soccer Leagues First Division will have 10 teams participating in 2007, up from eight in 2006.
Qualifying for the first round of the tournament is slated to be completed by May 28, with the pairings announcement shortly thereafter. The defending champion Chicago Fire and the other seven MLS teams enter the tournament on July 10 in the third round. The quarterfinals will be played Aug. 7, the semifinals will be played Sept. 4, and the final will be played on Oct. 2. In a change from recent years, the fixture dates in 2007 have been scheduled for Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
With 40 teams in the tournament in 2007, the additional amateur qualifying round that was played in 2005 and 2006 has been eliminated and the tournament will begin with the first round on June 12 with all 32 lower division teams taking the field in 16 matches. On June 26, the 16 first-round winners will face off in the second round with eight victors moving into third round to square off against eight MLS teams.
The U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National 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 93 consecutive years dating back to 1914.
Within the U.S. Open Cup framework, teams compete in one of the following four categories: professional outdoor Division I (Major League Soccer), Division II (USL First Division) or Division III (USL Second Division); or Amateur Division (USL Premier Development League & U.S. Adult Soccer Association).
The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with games tied after regulation being decided in two 15-minute overtime halves. If neither team scores during the overtime period, the winner is decided on penalty kicks. The team that advances the furthest from each level except Division I earns a $10,000 cash prize. The runner-up takes home $50,000, while the champion collects $100,000. The winner also will have the team’s name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, the oldest trophy in American team sports that is housed in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
|2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule|
|May 28||Qualifying Deadline|
|May 29||First Round Pairings Announced|
|June 12||First Round||All 32 lower division teams enter tournament|
|June 26||Second Round||Round 1 winners face off|
|July 10||Third Round||Round 2 winners face eight MLS teams|
|Aug. 7||Quarterfinals||Round 3 winners|
|Sept. 4||Semifinals||Quarterfinal winners|
|Oct. 2||Final||Semifinal winners|
Composition of participating teams:
8 Major League Soccer
10 United Soccer Leagues First Division
6 United Soccer Leagues Second Division
16 Amateur (8 USL Premier Development League, 8 USASA regional qualifiers)
Total Number of Teams: 40
Total Number of Games: 39
2007 U.S. OPEN CUP QUALIFYING BREAKDOWN
MLS – 8 Teams
For the first time since 2002, all eligible MLS teams will not participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper due to fixture congestion with international and club events this summer. However, each team will have the chance to qualify for the tournament. The top six MLS teams from the 2006 standings are being placed in the tournament proper, while the six remaining teams will play qualifying matches. The Columbus Crew, Kansas City Wizards, Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles Galaxy will play in the first qualifying round, with the winners facing the New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids for a chance to qualify for the tournament.
Automatically Qualified Teams: Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution
Eligible Qualifying Teams: Columbus Crew, Kansas City Wizards, Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls
USL First Division – 10 Teams
All 10 U.S.-based teams in the USL First Division will participate in the tournament.
USL-1 Teams: Atlanta Silverbacks, California Victory, Carolina RailHawks, Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Seattle Sounders, Virginia Beach Mariners
USL Second Division – 6 Teams (qualifying through May 28)
Six of the nine U.S.-based teams will qualify in the tournament. The Richmond Kickers receive an automatic berth as the defending league champion In addition, the top five teams, based on point percentage from games played through May 28, qualify for the tournament.
Defending Champion (automatic qualifier): Richmond Kickers
Eligible Teams for Qualification: Cincinnati Kings, Charlotte Eagles, Cleveland City Stars, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Harrisburg City Islanders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Western Mass Pioneers, Wilmington Hammerheads
Premier Development League – 8 Teams (qualifying through May 28)
Eight teams will participate from the PDL, where 60 U.S.-based teams are eligible to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup. The top two teams from each conference based on the results of four pre-designated league games will advance to the tournament.
U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers – 8 Teams (qualifying through May 28)
Eight representatives from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association will also qualify for the 2007 U.S. Open Cup. Two teams qualify from each of the USASA’s four regions (I, II, III & IV), where qualifying tournaments will be staged on a statewide and then regional basis.