CHICAGO (Thursday, February 3, 2005) – A total of 42 teams – 26 professional and 16 amateur – will compete in the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as it kicks off in June. After 40 teams participated in the prestigious tournament in 2004, two expansion Major League Soccer teams have been added to the fray in 2005, bringing the total number of teams to its highest level since MLS began participating in the event in 1996.
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 addition of the two expansion Division I teams has led to the creation of a qualifying round prior to the first round. In the qualifying round, four amateur teams will face off as two of the United States Adult Soccer Association’s regional second-place qualifiers will face two second-place teams from the Premier Development League of the United Soccer Leagues. The qualifying round will be determined by a random draw after teams are paired geographically.
Qualifying is slated to be completed by May 30, with the pairings announcement expected on June 1. The defending champion Kansas City Wizards enter the tournament on Aug. 3 in the fourth round. The semifinals will be played Sept. 14, with the final being played on Sept. 28.
After the Qualifying Round on June 8, the first round will be played on June 15 with the remaining 12 qualifiers from the USASA and PDL, as well as two USL Second Division teams joining the qualifying winners. The winners of those games advance to the second round to face four teams from the USL Second Division and four from the USL First Division. In the third round, the four remaining USL First Division teams join the fray along with four MLS teams. The final eight MLS teams join in the fourth round.
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 drawn games being decided by two 15-minute overtime halves. If neither team scores during the two overtime halves, 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 Cup, the oldest trophy in American team sports that is housed in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Qualifying Concludes: May 30 (Qualifying completed Memorial Day weekend)
Pairings Announcement: June 1
Qualifying Round: June 8 (2 PDL vs. 2 USASA Regional Qualifiers)
First Round: June 15 (2 Qualifying Round Winners, 6 PDL, 6 USASA Regional Qualifiers, 2 USL Second Division)
Second Round: June 29 (First Round winners vs. 4 USL Second Division, 4 USL First Division)
Third Round: July 13 (Second Round winners vs. 4 USL First Division, 4 MLS)
Fourth Round: Aug. 3 (Third Round winners vs. 8 MLS)
Quarterfinals: Aug. 24 (Fourth Round winners)
Semifinals: Sept. 14 (Quarterfinal winners)
Final: Sept. 28 (Semifinal winners)
Composition of participating teams:
12 Major League Soccer
8 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: 42
Total Number of Games: 41
2005 U.S. OPEN CUP QUALIFYING BREAKDOWN
MLS – 12 Teams
For the third consecutive year, every MLS team will enter the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including the expansion teams Real Salt Lake and CD Chivas USA. Eight MLS teams will enter the fourth round of this year’s tournament based on their 2004 regular season finish in the MLS standings. The remaining four MLS teams will enter the Open Cup in the third round.
Third Round Teams: Chicago Fire, CD Chivas USA, FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake
Fourth Round Teams: Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, MetroStars, New England Revolution, San Jose Earthquakes
USL First Division – 8 Teams
All eight U.S. based teams in the USL First Division will participate in the tournament. Teams will enter the tournament based on 2004 regular season league results,
Second Round Teams: Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Seattle Sounders, Virginia Beach Mariners
Third Round Teams: Atlanta Silverbacks, Portland Timbers, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Raging Rhinos
USL Second Division – 6 Teams (qualifying through May 30)
Six of the nine teams will participate in the tournament. The top six teams, based on point percentage from games played through May 29, qualify for the tournament. The top four teams enter in the Second Round with the bottom two qualifiers entering in the First Round.
Eligible Teams: Charlotte Eagles, Cincinnati, Harrisburg City Islanders, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Northern Virginia Royals, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Western Mass Pioneers, Wilmington Hammerheads
Premier Development League – 8 Teams (qualifying through May 30)
Eight teams will participate from the PDL. The top two teams from each conference based on the results of four pre-designated league games will advance to the tournament. Two of the four second-place group finishers will be drawn to play in the Qualifying Round against two USASA regional qualifiers. The remaining six will enter in the First Round.
USL Second Division/PDL Tiebreakers:
a) Head-to-head record based on total points in Open Cup qualifiers
b) Total wins in the Open Cup qualifying games
c) Goal difference (PDL: +/- 3 goals maximum for each Open Cup qualifier)
d) Goals scored (PDL: +/- 3 goals maximum for each Open Cup qualifier)
e) Lottery conducted by USL
U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers – 8 Teams (qualifying through May 30)
Eight representatives from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association will also qualify for the 2005 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. Six of the qualifying teams will enter the tournament in the first round. Two second-place regional qualifiers will be geographically paired to second-place qualifiers from the PDL and will play in the qualifying round.