CHICAGO (Monday, February 25, 2002) – The 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will kick off this year in early June with first round action and will conclude with the championship match tentatively set for the final weekend of October. 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.
With a slight format revision in 2002, the single-elimination tournament will feature eight A-League teams from the United Soccer Leagues taking on the opening round survivors in the second round on June 26, while the eight Major League Soccer squads that qualify for the tournament will join the competition in the third round on July 17.
The 2002 tournament’s first round is scheduled for completion by June 12 and will match seven D3 Pro League qualifiers against seven of the nine amateur teams from the Premier Development League (PDL) and the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association (USASA) who qualify for the tournament. The eighth first-round match will feature two amateur teams facing off and will be determined at the U.S. Open Cup Pairings Draw on June 5 in Chicago.
The U.S Open Cup committee will announce the first-round tournament pairings after qualifying play concludes on June 2, where teams will be grouped through the third round of play on a geographical basis. Quarterfinal pairings will be bracketed before the start of the tournament.
For the first two rounds of play, the home teams will be determined by competitive bids submitted prior to the U.S. Open Cup pairings in early June.
The third round will feature seven of the eight MLS teams playing away, while the quarterfinal hosts will be determined by lottery. U.S. Soccer will determine the semifinal and final venues as the tournament progresses.
Played under FIFA rules, 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.
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 SCHEDULE (dates subject to change)
Qualifying (amateur) Ends May 27 - 9 finalists from PDL & USASA determined
Qualifying (pro) Ends June 2 - 23 finalists from MLS, A-League & D3 Pro League determined
First Round Ends June 12 - 7 D3 Pro League teams, 5 PDL teams & 4 USASA teams meet
Second Round June 26 - 8 A-League teams vs. 8 first round winners
Third Round July 17 - 8 MLS teams vs. 8 second round winners
Quarterfinals Aug. 6-7 - 8 third round winners
Semifinals Sept. 6-7 or 10-11 - 4 quarterfinal winners
Finals Oct. 26-27 - 2 semifinal winners
—2002 U.S. OPEN CUP QUALIFYING BREAKDOWN—
MLS – 8 Teams (qualifying through June 2)
Of the eight MLS teams entering the 2002 U.S. Open Cup in the third round of this year’s tournament, six will be pre-qualified based on their 2001 regular season finish in the MLS standings. The final two spots will be determined by the remaining four teams’ 2002 MLS regular season results. The eight qualifiers will meet the survivors of round two on July 17.
Los Angeles Galaxy
San Jose Earthquakes
to be completed by June 2
A-League – 8 Teams (qualifying through June 2)
Two of the eight A-League qualifiers were predetermined based on their 2001 A-League finishes. The Rochester Raging Rhinos were the league’s overall 2001 champion, while the Richmond Kickers won the regular season crown. The remaining six qualifiers will be decided based on direct knock-out, home-and-away results from six stand-alone pairings. The eight qualifiers will meet the survivors of Round One on June 26.
Rochester Raging Rhinos
to be completed by June 2
D3 Pro League – 7 Teams (qualifying through June 2)
The 2001 D3 Pro League champion Utah Blitzz will join six qualifiers (out of 17 entries) as determined by select 2002 regular-season results. The seven qualifiers will be paired against amateur teams from the PDL and USASA in the first round, to be completed by June 12.
D3 PRO LEAGUE QUALIFYING
to be completed by June 2
Premier Development League – 5 Teams (qualifying through May 27)
The U.S Open Cup first round will feature five PDL teams (out of 44 entries) representing the United Soccer Leagues amateur division. None of the PDL teams have pre-qualified for the tournament, thus the five PDL qualifiers will be determined by select 2002 regular-season results. The qualifying teams will be paired against squads from the D3 Pro League in the first round, to be completed by June 12, with the exception of one match-up that will feature only amateur teams.
U.S. Amateur Soccer Association – 4 Teams (qualifying through May 27)
In addition to the five PDL teams, four teams from the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association will also qualify for the first round of the 2002 U.S. Open Cup. One team each will qualify from the USASA’s four regions (I, II, III & IV), where qualifying tournaments will be staged across the country. The qualifying teams will be paired up against teams from the D3 Pro League in the first round, to be completed by June 12, with the exception of one match-up that will feature only amateur teams.