The Magic of the Open Cup was on full display with 43 games played across the country between September 31 and October 1. The Open Division/Amateur Qualifying Rounds – organized each fall at high school fields and public parks all over the USA – are never short of drama, incident or quirkiness.
Join us for a look back on the games of the Second Qualifying Round…
Blowouts on the Menu
While many of the contests were tight-run affairs, some went the other way entirely.
Let’s just say we had our share of lopsided hidings. None caught the eye more than the 13-2 hammering Baltimore-area Steel Pulse FC, who play out of NISA Nation, inflicted on Villarreal CF Virginia.
The prolific Williams Yami Nono scored six goals and his teammate and former Louisburg College Hurricane Jakob Asfaha nabbed himself a hat-trick in the only game of the round with a double-digit scoreline (it’s also the second-largest Qualifying margin of victory since 2015).
Miami United FC, the SoFla amateur powers who reached the Open Cup Proper in 2023, went close to matching Steel Pulse’s output with a 9-0 victory over Soccer Paradise FC after an hour-long weather delay. And not too far away, FC America CFL Spurs put eight past Deportivo Lake Mary without reply.
Leg-AZ World FC also beat Royal Palms Soccer Club 8-1 while Santa Monica Surf bested Trojans FC 7-1 in the Golden State.
Such massive scorelines dwarfed Majestic Soccer Club’s 6-1 win over North Georgia United. The impressive Irvine Zeta also beat last year’s Open Cup qualifiers’ Capo FC by a sturdy 6-0 – setting themselves up as a side to keep an eye on in these Qualifying Rounds – as regular contenders South Carolina United Heat joined the six-goal club by beating Mint Hill FC 6-1.
Former Champions Prosper
Realities have changed since the time when the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, in the 1960s, and the NY Pancyprian Freedoms, in the 1980s, were crowned champions of the U.S. Open Cup. But these clubs, who share seven national titles between them, were both in Amateur Qualifying action this weekend – and both revived nostalgic echoes of their former glories with impressive wins.
The Ukrainians made easy meat of Colonial SC with a 3-1 win. But the Pancyprians – who qualified for the Open Cup Proper in 2020 before Covid-19 spoiled the party – had a tight one to survive.
Even after going a man down, the Pancyprians managed to beat 2017 and 2021 National Amateur Champions – and annual amateur powerhouse – Lansdowne Yonkers FC. Jordan Baylin, playing at his Alma Mater of St John’s University, grabbed a winner for the Queens side deep into extra-time (2-1).
In the category of honorable mention, we can’t forget the United German Hungarians. They never won the Open Cup, but they did finish runners-up back in 1977. And those old timers would have been plenty proud of the young ones of 2023/24, who pulled off a 6-0 thrashing of Real Central NJ Soccer.
Tight & Tense Ones
It wasn’t all blowouts.
There was tense business too. In all, 15 games finished with one-goal margins separating the teams. UDA Soccer – a club team affiliated with New Mexico State University who reached the Open Cup Proper last year – edged Coronado Athletic Club 2-1.
Sahara Gunners – trying to become the first team since 1968 from the city of Buffalo, NY to reach on Open Cup Proper – managed a win by that same scoreline (2-1) against northern neighbors IASC Boom despite being short-handed and forced to use an improvised goalkeeper.
Sporting Arizona, who last qualified the Open Cup Proper in 2018 and reached the Third Round when they did, had to survive a tough one against SC Union Maricopa (2-1). Miami Soccer Academy, FC Folsom, FC Denver and the magnificently named Sharktopus FC also won out by the same score.
Boston’s CD Faialense won via a shootout in the only game of the 43 that needed penalties. It was a tense one with Boston Street FC that ended 2-2 before eventually being sorted 5-3 on kicks from the spot.
Names Old & New
OG Baltimore-area amateurs Christos FC were the sensation of the 2017 Open Cup Proper with a win over pro side Richmond Kickers and an early goal to briefly lead MLS’ D.C. United. Their 5-0 win over familiar foes Aegean Hawks FC sees them clean through to the Third Qualifying Round.
Tennessee Tempo FC might seem like newcomers, but there are some familiar faces in the side – a lot of them in fact. That’s because they were, last year, called Beaman United. And they reached the Open Cup Proper after the marathon four-Round Qualifying and are now looking on target to repeat the feat under their new – and fitting – name.
Of the teams that survived the Amateur Qualifying Rounds last year to reach the Open Cup Proper, five survived this weekend’s Second Round. Chicago House AC, International San Francisco, UDA Soccer and Miami United FC were all victorious while defeated Lansdowne Yonkers and Capo FC will have to wait until 2025 to make their returns.
The 22 games of the Third Qualifying Round will take place on October 21-22 with a Fourth and Final Round scheduled for November 18-19. That will send 11 teams through to the 2024 Open Cup Proper alongside this year’s USASA National Amateur Cup Champions SC MesoAmerica and AS Frenzi – the Springtime national champion of the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL).
2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Schedule
Sept. 9-10, 2023 – First Qualifying Round - 21 matches
Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, 2023 – Second Qualifying Round - 44 matches
Oct. 21-22, 2023 – Third Qualifying Round - 22 matches
Nov. 18-19, 2023 – Fourth Qualifying Round - 11 matches
Saturday, September 30th Results
Villarreal CF Virginia 2 vs. 13 Steel Pulse FC
Vereinigung Erzgebirge 3 vs. 0 Philadelphia Heritage SC
Houston FC 3 vs. 4 Athletic Katy FC
Azteca FC 2 vs. 1 Harpos FC
Arlington SA 2 vs. 3 Yinz United
Chicago House AC 2 vs. 1 Wisloka Chicago
Valley 559 FC 4:1 Bay Area United
Orlando FC Wolves 1 vs. 3 Harbor City FC
Mint Hill FC 1 vs. 6 South Carolina United Heat
Leg-AZ World FC 8 vs 1. Royal Palms Soccer Club
Florida Premier FC 4 vs. 0 Clearwater Chargers SC
Hodler Miami FC 2 vs. 3 City Soccer FC
Austin Thunder 4 vs. 1 Daggers CTX
Santa Monica Surf 7 vs. 1 Trojans FC
International San Francisco 4 vs. 1 The Olympic Club
Temecula Football Club 4 vs. 0 Murrieta Soccer Academy
Edgewater Castle Football Club 2 vs. 1 Berber City FC
Sunday, October 1st Results
Terminus FC 0 vs. 4 Kalonji Pro-Profile
Majestic Soccer Club 6 vs. 1 North Georgia United
FC Omens 0 vs. 3 Brockton FC United
Colonial SC 1 vs. 3 Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals (a.e.t) (1-1 FT)
United German Hungarians 6 vs. 0 Real Central NJ Soccer
Valhalla FC 2 vs. 0 Chicago Strikers
UDA Soccer 2 vs. 1 Coronado Athletic Club
Sahara Gunners FC 2 vs. 1 IASC Boom
DCFC 1 vs. 4 NOVA FC
Austin Longhorns 0 vs. 1 Alamo City Soccer Club (Forfeit)
Soccer Paradise FC 0 vs. 9 Miami United FC
FC Birmingham 1 vs. 4 Tennessee Tempo FC
SC Union Maricopa 1 vs. 2 Sporting Arizona FC
New Jersey Alliance FC 2 vs. 0 SC Vistula Garfield
Deportivo Lake Mary FC 0 vs. 8 CFL GOSA Spurs
FORO SC 2 vs. 0 Tenfifteen FC
NY Renegades FC 3 vs. 1 Zum Schneider FC 03
Aegean Hawks FC 0 vs. 5 Christos FC
Florida Brothers 1 vs. 2 Miami Soccer Academy
FC Folsom 2 vs. 1 UC Davis Club Soccer
Irvine Zeta FC 6 vs. 0 Capo FC
Boston Street FC 2 vs. 2 (aet) CD Faialense (CDF win 5-3 on PKs)
FC Denver 3 vs. 2 Provo Athletic Club
New York Pancyprian Freedoms 2 vs. 1 (a.e.t) Lansdowne Yonkers FC
Rebels Soccer Club 0 vs. 2 Escondido FC
Sharktopus Football Club 2 vs. 1 Holac FC
Tuesday, October 3rd
O'Shea's FC vs. Parkland Soccer Club
Maduro is a senior reporter at large for usopencup.com