NYC’s Deep Open Cup History – in Photos
The Five Boroughs of New York City have played a massive role in the history of the U.S. Open Cup (previously known as the National Challenge Cup). The first champions way back in 1914 were from Brooklyn and Gotham has provided 17 more winners since then. 19 Open Cup Finals (or Final legs) have been played in NYC in the last 106 years, at mythical places like the Eintracht, Zerega and Metropolitan Ovals, the long-gone Polo Grounds and Randall’s Island. Join us for a rare photographic look back at the enduring love affair between America’s oldest soccer tournament and the Big Apple.
Brooklyn Field Club won the first U.S. Open Cup (then the National Challenge Cup) in 1914. Here they pose with the Dewar Cup – the original Open Cup trophy. Bet you didn’t know they were also at the forefront of early 20th century photo doctoring!
Those sweaters! Robbins Dry Dock of Brooklyn won the 1921 U.S. Open Cup (National Challenge Cup) scoring 21 goals that year in five games. Harry Ratican is third from right down front. A top striker in his day, he went on to coach at West Point and was inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950
1928 U.S. Open Cup (National Challenge Cup) champs the NY Nationals. Bob Millar (front and center with steely eyes) played for 12 teams in 20 years and was considered as good a brawler as a player. He went on to coach Bart McGhee (front, right) at the 1st FIFA World Cup in 1930
The 1965 Open Cup-winning New York Ukrainians at their home pitch in Queens. Look close and you can see a young Joe Machnik (top row & second from left) who was the back-up goalkeeper for the team that year
A late-1960’s NYC All-Star team. USA international Werner Roth is in among them (top row, center) as is the legendary Gordon Bradley and a number of soon-to-be North American Soccer League (NASL) standouts
New York Hungaria beat the San Francisco Scots to claim the 1962 U.S. Open Cup (National Challenge Cup) with Andy Mate and Steve Karsey scoring in the 2-0 win in the Final at Queens, NY’s Eintracht Oval
Action from the 1944 U.S. Open Cup (National Challenge Cup) Semifinal between Brooklyn Hispano (with the H on their chests) and Brooklyn Celtic. Hispano went on to the win that year’s Dewar Cup by beating Morgan Strasser of Pittsburgh
Saint Mary’s Celtic in their Sunday Best and ready to fly in 1936. That year they reached the Semifinal of the U.S. Open Cup (National Challenge Cup) and lost out to Philadelphia’s German Americans
An early photo of the influential Brooklyn Italians, who still operate as a soccer club and made a return to the U.S. Open Cup as recently as 2018
The Brooklyn Italians were a big name in NYC’s semipro soccer scene in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. They won the U.S. Open Cup/National Challenge Cup under the name Brooklyn Dodgers in 1979 and then did it again in 1991 (team photo from the 1991 Open Cup Semifinal)
Jackie Hynes is a New York City legend. In addition to playing in a pair of Open Cup Finals, he was an NYC Firefighter and earned a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge during his service in World War II
Werner Roth – a future U.S. National Team player – hits an overhead kick for the NY German-Hungarians on one of those ancient Sundays out on the Metropolitan Oval. Look close and you can see the iron rail that used to ring the famous old ground.
1944 Open Cup/National Challenge Cup-winning captain Frankie Fernandez of Brooklyn Hispano at the Polo Grounds with the Dewar Cup (the original Open Cup/National Challenge Cup trophy)
The New York German Hungarians pose for a team photo at the fabled Metropolitan Oval in the middle-1960s
Hakoah FC were a big name in NYC soccer, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Saint Louis Kutis in the 1957 U.S. Open Cup/National Challenge Cup Final when they lost out 6-1 to Harry Keough and his men from the Gateway City
Back in the days of pre-game bouquets. Saint Mary’s Celtic lost the 1938 Final second leg at Starlight Park in the Bronx against Chicago Sparta, who went on to claim that year’s U.S. Open Cup crown 6-2 on aggregate.