A new era in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup kicks off Tuesday, May 15, as the new 64-team field begins its quest to win the oldest national soccer competition in the US.
Nine teams from the USASA regions will take part and attempt to play Cinderella in the first round. They will face a team from either the USL-PDL (United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League) or the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League) for a chance to play a NASL (North American Soccer League) or USL-PRO team.
The Croatian Eagles (Wisconsin) will be the first USASA team in action. They will take on Chicago Fire PDL on the Toyota Park Practice Field at 6 p.m. CT. The Eagles defeated Chicago’s AAC Eagles 2-0 for their first Open Cup birth since 2006.
K.C. Athletics (Kansas) will travel to Littleton, Colorado to match up against the Real Colorado Foxes of the PDL. KC won convincingly over an 8-man Cincy Saints squad 10-2. This is KC’s second time representing Region II in the last three years.
Out east, Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (DC/Virginia) will spar with the PDL’s Carolina Dynamo. The Hawks return to the Open Cup after a 2-0 win over the Maryland Bays. They also made an appearance in 2007 and 2009.
New York Greek Americans (Eastern New York), a club deep with US Open Cup history, returns to the Open Cup for the first time since 2005. They will meet up with Reading United AC of the PDL, but time and location are still to be determined. NY Greek Americans have four Open Cup titles and are the only club to win the tournament three consecutive times.
Region III will field a repeat champion and a newcomer in its first round US Open Cup matches. ASC New Stars (Texas South) opened last year’s tournament against Orlando City SC but fell 0-4. They’ll look to improve on that performance this year against the PDL’s Laredo Heat. NTX Rayados (North Texas) will drive down to El Paso, Texas to take on the El Paso Patriots (PDL) in their clubs inaugural US Open Cup match.
This weekend Region IV will hold its tournament to determine which two years will face the PDL’s Portland Timbers U23s and Kitsap Pumas in their first round match up. DV8 Defenders (Cal Nouth) and Doxa Italia (Cal South), last year’s Region IV qualifiers, will be there as well as six other teams looking for their first bid.