Major League Soccer will also begin qualifying teams this weekend, with the winner of this Saturday's regular season match between the Kansas City Wizards and Colorado Rapids at Mile High Stadium in Denver becoming the fifth team to qualify for the 1999 U.S. Open Cup.
Four MLS clubs (the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn and D.C. United) earned automatic berths as the last three U.S. Open Cup champions and 1998 finalists. Eight teams each from the A-League and D3 Pro League, as well as four teams each from the PDL and U.S. Amateur Soccer Association, will join the eight MLS qualifiers in the final field of 32 teams competing for the Dewar Cup Trophy.
The tournament's first round is scheduled for June 9-13 and will match-up eight qualifiers from the D3 Pro League against four PDL and four USASA qualifiers. The first round winners will then be drawn against eight A-League qualifers, who join the U.S. Open Cup in the second round. The eight MLS competitors will enter the tournament in the third round.
Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 86-year-old single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.
As in year's past, a draw will be held prior to each round of the tournament to determine the competition's pairings. Played under FIFA rules once the tournament proper kicks off in June, each Open Cup match will finish with a winner, with tie games going into 30 minutes of sudden death overtime, and then to penalty kicks, if needed.
|THE SCHEDULE |
(dates subject to match-ups and venue availability)
|Qualifying||Ends June 1||32 finalists from MLS, A-League, D3 Pro, PDL & USASA|
|First Round||June 9-13||8 D3 Pro League teams vs. 4 PDL teams and 4 USASA teams|
|Second Round||June 23-27||8 A-League teams vs. 8 first round winners|
|Third Round||July 12-14||8 MLS teams vs. 8 second round winners|
|Quarterfinals||Aug. 11-12||8 third round winners|
|Semifinals||Sept. 1||4 quarterfinal winners|
|Finals||Sept. 14||2 semifinal winners|
MLS: 8 teams (through June 1) Of the eight MLS teams entering the 1999 U.S. Open Cup in the third round of this year's tournament, four are pre-qualified based on their previous results in the event. Three additional teams will qualify through three single-match knockout games, being played as part of the regular season MLS schedule. The final MLS slot will be filled by the losing team from the three knockout matches with the most points as of June 1. (If the three losing teams have not played an even number of games, then the final spot will be filled by the team with the highest point per game average.)
A-LEAGUE: 8 teams (through May 23) The eight A-League qualifiers will be decided based on total regular season points among the league's 27 U.S.-based teams across their first six games (through May 23). Four teams will qualify from the 15-team Eastern Conference and four more from the 12-team Western Conference. The A-League squads will enter the tournament in the second round, where they will be matched up against eight first round winners.
D3 PRO LEAGUE: 8 teams (through May 23) Eight D3 Pro League teams will qualify for the first round of the 1999 U.S. Open Cup, where they will be matched up with four PDL teams and four USASA teams. To qualify for the U.S. Open Cup, 26 teams from the D3 Pro League have been broken into six regional divisions, where each club will compete within their group in individual U.S. Open Cup qualifying games. The six winners of each group, plus two wild cards, will qualify for the 1999 tournament.
PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: 4 teams (qualifying through May 23) The U.S. Open Cup first round will feature four PDL teams, representing the United Soccer Leagues amateur division. To qualify for the U.S. Open Cup, 38 PDL teams have been broken into three regional divisions, where each club will compete within their group in four individual U.S. Open Cup qualifying games. The three winners of each group, plus the best overall second place team, will battle for the Dewar Cup.
U.S. AMATEUR SOCCER ASSOCIATION: 4 teams (qualifying through May 31) In addition to the four PDL teams, four teams from the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association will also qualify for the first round of the '99 U.S. Open Cup. One team each will qualify from the USASA's four regions (Region I, II, III & IV), where qualifying tournaments involving 42 teams are being staged all across the country.
www.us-soccer.com FOR U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATES: U.S. Soccer has redesigned their web page for the 1999 U.S. Open Cup. New features on the site include up-to-date qualifying procedures and standings for each division in the competition; a "Match of the Week" preview, tuning you into key games during qualifying and the tournament proper; and a list of the 10 best Open Cup games since the participation of MLS. In addition, U.S. Soccer have match reports and/or live on-line updates for all non-televised matches. For the latest on the tournament, go to www.us-soccer.com and click on the U.S. Open Cup icon.