CHICAGO (Thursday, June 20, 2002) – U.S. Soccer announced today that U.S. Amateur Soccer Association Region IV representative Mexico S.C. of Fresno, Calif., has been disqualified from the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after using an ineligible player in their First Round game against the host San Diego Gauchos of the D3 Pro League on June 11.
The decision was made at the conclusion of a conference call hearing conducted by the U.S. Open Cup Discipline Panel after the San Diego Gauchos filed a protest the following day after dropping a 6-5 decision on penalty kicks to Mexico S.C. on June 11th after both teams battled to a 2-2 draw at the end of regulation and two scoreless sudden death overtime periods.
After considering the testimony presented at the hearing by both parties (San Diego, Mexico S.C.), and reviewing the documentation related to the rosters and match, the Open Cup Discipline Panel concluded that Mexico S.C. knowingly listed a player on its roster as “Jose Luis Rosas” when in fact they knew that this individual was named “Jose Espindola,” and that Mr. Espindola was previously registered as a professional player with the D3’s Carolina Dynamo.
The Open Cup Discipline Panel found the submission of inaccurate information to be a serious violation that threatens the credibility of the tournament. Therefore, the panel voted unanimously that Mexico S.C. is disqualified from this year’s competition and forfeits its First Round match. San Diego is declared the victor by forfeit, 2-0, of the June 11th match and will now advance to the Second Round slated for June 26.
This is the first forfeit match since 1998 when the Western Mass Pioneers (D3) earned a win over the Greek Americans, N.Y. (USASA) after the amateur club used ineligible players. The Greek Americans had won the original game 1-0 on June 21, 1998.
The Panel also determined that Mexico S.C. must pay a fine for their violation of the 2002 Open Cup Rules & Regulations to cover any increase in travel expenses resulting in the change to the San Diego Gauchos going on the road.
The Gauchos will now travel to Blaine, Minn., to take on the host Minnesota Thunder (A-League) in 2002 Open Cup Second Round action on June 26 at the National Sports Center at 11 a.m. CT.
Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy awaits the winner of the Minnesota-San Diego match-up in the Third Round, which is slated for July 17. The defending Open Cup champion Galaxy will either travel to face Minnesota or play San Diego at a site to be determined.
The Second Round of the 89-year-old tournament begins with one encounter on Tuesday, June 25, as the A-League’s Seattle Sounders travel to Salt Lake City to face D3’s Utah Blitzz at Cottonwood High School at 7:30 p.m. MT. The Second Round concludes the next day (June 26) with the remaining seven matches on “Elimination Wednesday.”
The Third Round kicks off with the eight Second Round survivors facing eight MLS teams -- Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, NY/NJ MetroStars and San Jose Earthquakes -- on July 17.
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.
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.