Missouri and Illinois Have an Open Cup Final Tradition
In addition to a long border along the Mississippi River, Missouri - home to the Kansas City Wizards - and Illinois - home to the Chicago Fire - share a long tradition of being the home of the Dewar Trophy for winning the U.S. Open Cup. While the trophy now resides in Oneonta, N.Y. at the National Soccer Hall of Fame, let's take a look back at the teams that brought it to the home states of the teams in the U.S. Open Cup Final in 2004.
No team outside of Chicago in the state has played in a U.S. Open Cup final.
The first Chicago-based team to appear in the Open Cup final was the Chicago Bricklayers, who lost to the New York Nationals 3-1 on aggregate goals the 1928 Cup’s two-game series. The games that year were played at New York’s Polo Grounds and Chicago’s Soldier Field with an estimated total of 31,000 fans seeing the two matches.
Three years later, the Bricklayers lost again to the Fall River Marksmen from Massachusetts. The first Chicago team to win the Open Cup was Chicago Sparta A.B.A., which defeated Brooklyn St. Mary’s Celtic in a two-game series in 1938.
After Chicago Manhattan Beer lost the 1939 Open Cup, Sparta A.B.A. returned to the final and finished as co-champions with Baltimore S.C. in 1940 after the team’s played to a 2-2 aggregate tie after two games. In 1946, the Chicago Vikings won the Open Cup with the second leg of the final being held in Comisky Park. Sparta lost the 1947 final, and six years later the Chicago Falcons brought the Cup back to Chicago with a 3-0 aggregate win over Pittsburgh Harmarville S.C.
It would be 37 years until the Open Cup title returned to Chicago. In 1965, Chicago Hansa lost the Open Cup to the New York Ukrainians. Chicago Olympic then came up on the short side in 1968, while Chicago Croatia lost the final in 1974, 1979 and 1984.
In 1990 Chicago A.A.C Eagles topped the Brooklyn Italians for the Open Cup championship, and eight years later the Chicago Fire, it their first year of existence, topped the Columbus Crew 2-1 in overtime at Soldier Field. In 2000, the final returned to Soldier Field where the Fire topped the Miami Fusion 2-1.
Three years later in 2003, the Fire traveled to East Rutherford, N.J. to face the MetroStars, who were led by long-time Fire head coach Bob Bradley, now in his first year with his new team. The visiting Fire prevailed, and won their third U.S. Open Cup title and first on the road.
The Wizards are the first team from Kansas City to ever advance to the final of the Open Cup, but across Missouri on Route 70 there is a long tradition of champions from St. Louis dating back to 1920. That year, St. Louis Ben Miller F.C. won the seventh U.S. Open Cup title and was the first team not from the East Coast to win it all. At the Federal League Park in St. Louis on May 9, Ben Miller F.C. topped Boston Fore River Shipyard 2-1 with a reported 12,000 fans on hand.
The next year, St. Louis Scullin Steel advanced to the final but lost to Brooklyn Robbins Dry Dock at a neutral site in Fall River, Mass. They rebounded in 1922 back in St. Louis for a 3-2 victory over Brooklyn Todd Shipyard, which was essentially the same team they had played the year before. Scullin Steel also had a shot at the 1923 Open Cup title, but after playing to a 2-2 tie with Paterson F.C. in the final, they passed up on the replay and forfeited.
Though the state regularly sent a team to the Open Cup final through the rest of the 20s, it was not until 1933 that the Dewar Cup was brought home. St. Louis Stix, Baer and Fuller topped the New York Americans 3-1 on aggregate in the final’s two-game series that year, and then repeated with a 7-3 aggregate victory over the Pawtucket Rangers. That team was led by three members of the Men’s National Team that went to the World Cup in 1934 – Billy Gonsalves, Werner Nilsen and Bill McLean.
In 1935, Gonsalves, McLean and others switched allegiances to the St. Louis Central Breweries F.C. team that again topped the Pawtucket Rangers 7-6 as the final was played as a three-game series for the only time in history. Gonsalves had three goals in the series, while Bert Patenaude scoring two goals. Patenaude was the star of the first U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup appearance in 1930 with four goals which still stands as a single tournament and career record for a U.S. player.
In 1948 the Open Cup title returned to St. Louis, and this time it was future World Cup stars that would steal the show. Charles Colombo, Gino Pariani, Frank Borghi, and Frank Wallace – all members of the 1950 World Cup team that shocked England in Brazil – led Simpkins-Ford past New York Brookhattan 3-2 in the Final match. Another member of the 1950 World Cup squad, Joe Gaetjens, played and scored for New York. The same Simpkins-Ford team won 3-2 on aggregate goals in the 1950 final over Fall River Ponta Delagada S.C. from Fall River, Mass. That Fall River team included 1950 World Cup stars as well, with Ed and John Souza.
Three more Missouri teams – all from St. Louis – have won the Open Cup. St. Louis Kutis S.C. won in 1957 and then almost 30 years later in 1986, and St. Louis Busch S.C. became the last team from the state to win the Open Cup with a 1-0 win over San Francisco Greek-American.