Major League Soccer Sets Up Qualifying Brackets For US Open Cup


While everyone is watching this afternoon’s USA friendly against the Dutch at Amsterdam ArenA, Major League Soccer has already prepared the matches for the qualifying of two spots in the third round of the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The event was hosted by MLS Executive Vice President of Competition Nelson Rodriguez & MLS Extratime host Greg Lalas. The clubs involved with these matches did not finish in the top three positions of the Eastern & Western Conference. The six MLS sides that have reached the US Open Cup with automatic bids are Chicago, Chivas-USA, Columbus, Houston, Los Angeles & Seattle.

The dates haven’t been announced but the matches have. After several flips of the coin to determine who will be the home side during these qualifying matches, these are the match-ups.

New York hosts Philadelphia: Winner Hosts New England
Kansas City hosts Colorado

San Jose hosts Real Salt Lake
DC United hosts FC Dallas

For RBNY this is a perfect opportunity to host two consecutive matches at Red Bull Arena while facing the expansion side Philadelphia Union and if they advance, hosting the New England Revolution as well. Nine clubs in MLS fighting for two spots in the third round of the US Open Cup is pretty exciting, but still I have my problems with this setup.

While I have stressed many times that I don’t agree with all pro sides qualifying for US Soccer’s version of the F.A. Cup this season I will tone down my arguments due to the current C.B.A. negotiations and this past war between the new NASL & USL for Second Division status. But when the off-season arrives in 2011, I will hope that the Open Cup Committee will make some form of an attempt to make this tournament bigger and better.

I enjoy writing, discussing and praising this fabulous tournament when an underdog finds a way to write their Cinderella story. This is when the fairy godmother actually wears football boots and at the end of her magic wand is a small football with sparkles flying around. Two years ago the Charleston Battery now of USL-2nd Division reached the US Open Cup Final and nearly forced extra time at RFK Stadium against DC United.

 They were the second club from the lower levels since the Rochester Rhinos defeated the Colorado Rapids to win the 1999 US Open Cup at Columbus Crew Stadium. Of course before the Battery reached the final, the Dallas Roma FC from the US Adult Soccer Association Region III made a fabulous run till they were stopped by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005.

A two all draw in the first round against the PDL Laredo Heat and winning it in the round of penalties to face Miami FC in the second round. A John Waters penalty in the 13th minute stood for victory and advanced into the third round to face Chivas-USA. That match was scoreless till another round of penalties and Roma would win it again. But their luck ran out in the fourth round against the Galaxy by a final of two nil.

There is always excitement involving the US Open Cup. Upsets galore awaits us every season, when the calendar turns and on a specific date it’s marked round one.

15 thoughts on “Major League Soccer Sets Up Qualifying Brackets For US Open Cup”

  1. I love the USOC. I just wish that the Menace would get more MLS draws. It seems like we have to fight through three USL-2 and USL-1/NASL clubs before we get to the Wizards. It’s always the Wizards. And the MLS clubs definitely should not get the first option to host against lower level teams. Having the MLS team facing your PDL club in your stadium is more meaningful than sending your team away to play against the MLS side in a backup (read small, temporary) stadium.

  2. I agree with you. IF the MLS teams would use big stadium and draw a lot of fans, then you could argue that there is big money involved and both teams benefit. But when they play it in a 3,000 fan stadium, why not let the USL team host ?
    Some of my favorite memories back then were the pre-MLS Sounders taking it to MLS teams in Seattle at QWest….don’t know why it got reversed ? The larger team hosting and it is not at QWest ?

  3. So…wait…you DON’T agree with all pro teams qualifying for the US Open Cup, yet you want the tournament expanded?

    Want to explain that one?

  4. Very Simple Jason. It’s not so much about expanding the tournament, but making it into a proper FA Cup. As we all know the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps will join MLS in 2011. That makes it 16 American & 2 Canadian Clubs.

    The new NASL will have ten clubs next season with the return of Atlanta & new club Edmonton. Montreal will be with the NASL next season so that means 8 American Clubs & 2 Canadian once again.

    Remaining in the USL pro division will be Austin, Charleston, Charlotte, FC New York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Real Maryland & Richmond. That’s 8 clubs.

    Round 1 Proper: 8 PDL & 8 USASA qualifying sides will face off against 8 NASL clubs (Atlanta, Carolina, Miami FC, Minnesota, Rochester, St. Louis, Tampa Bay) & 8 USL clubs (Austin, Charleston, Charlottle, FC New York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Real Maryland, Richmond)

    Round 2 Proper: 16 Round 1 Winners facing all 16 American MLS sides (Chicago, Chivas-USA, Colorado, Columbus, DC United, FC Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Real Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle)

    Round 3 Proper: Round of 16. All Round 2 Winners will play each other and winners advance to the Quarters, Semis & then the Final.

    The heads of the Open Cup Committee can do a form of a blind draw, Geographical pairings, or winners advance in a bracket formation like the NCAA Final Four Brackets.

    So if you paid close attention to the ammount of clubs in each of the three division of pro soccer in the USA 32 clubs can fit into a true & proper US Open Cup.

    PDL uses regular season matches that doubles up into USOC Qualifiers & USASA Regional Tournaments to enter. Now if you want to go a bit further and allow a decent number of bids for the NPSL league and add more spots to both PDL & USASA, then you can add a Round Four Proper and make Round of 16 there.

    Let me also remind you that Montreal, Puerto Rico, Toronto & Vancouver are not eligable.

    I hope that answers your question Jason.

    1. Maybe have the NCAA tourney serve as the play-in.
      However, there could be problems with this conflicting with NCAA rules. I used to fall asleep with my eyes open during those meetings, but they do have rules as to when you can practice/play games etc.

  5. To Coconut Monkey: To answer that question only BYU is the lone College or University side that does participate in the US Open Cup Qualifying in the PDL Western Conference.

    If I can remember correctly they don’t participate in the NCAA’s because they like to make more than one or two trips outside the country and play friendly matches. I believe the NCAA has limitations on these sort of trips for all their university’s. I remember this because I use to write on the US Open Cup fan site.

  6. To add to Daniel’s comments on BYU: Yes, BYU does participate in the US Open Cup via the PDL. They are not in any way affiliated with the NCAA, nor have they for about 15 years. They do so because the men’s teams is only a club and now exclusively plays in the PDL (since 2004 I think). Prior to PDL BYU won a few collegiate club national championships.

    You are right that they did so because the university and the team can spend money in ways it couldn’t before. Although, they can still play exhibition matches against other universities, and unfortunately, this also means the players have no available scholarships (shouldn’t be too bad because the school tuition is still under 5k a year).

  7. Thanks Kjesare for the additional information. I had a feeling it was something like that as well, but wasn’t sure. I did remember about their pre-season trips dilema, but I wasn’t sure till you added your comment.


  8. Thanks for the info guys. I always thought that adding college teams to the mix could really spice up the tourney and have the added benefit (hopefully) of raising the profile and level of play in the college game.

    I figured scheduling would be the biggest obstacle. Especially since the college season is relatively short.

    Like Charles suggested, the NCAA Tourney could serve as a play-in. Maybe as a play in for the NEXT year’s USOC or something.

  9. CoconutMonkey: I think that idea would still be tossed out, not saying I disagree with you. But the whole keeping amateur status thing would force stupid sanctions from the NCAA. A friendly is one thing, actual competition with Professional and the PDL/USASA clubs could be a risk.

    That’s why BYU did what they did by removing themselves with the NCAA Designation. I wouldn’t be apposed to it, but you never know if the NCAA is going to have a crap fit about their National Champion getting involved with a tournament that (A) doesn’t give them a piece of the pie (B) could waive their magic wand of suspension for a college team getting involved.

    Like I said I’m not disagreeing with you, but these could be the problems of why it’s not going to happen.

  10. Hey guys
    I hope to play for a PDL club this summer and at the same time play NCAA DIV II soccer during the Fall. Let’s say, my PDL team goes as far as the Final of the Open Cup, which will be played in October. At that same time, I’m sure I will still be playing for my college. So, my question is, if I do decide to play in the Open Cup Final in the middle of my college’s season, will I still be eligible to continue my college season? Another question is, if my PDL club wins the Open Cup, would we be allowed to represent the USA in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League? Would that also affect my NCAA eligibility, since in fact I will be playing amonst/against professionals? Just saying……

  11. Paul to be honest with you, I think you would be allowed to play with your PDL side during the College season, but once again the NCAA needs to clarify the situation. Ask your PDL coach about this & your college coach as well. Then they could contact the NCAA and make sure that you are not in violation of their rules.

    A PDL side has never advanced deep into the US Open Cup in such a long time and I don’t think the NCAA has ever paid attention to get to this problem. Still I believe that you should ask your PDL coach and make a phone call to you’re college coach and make sure that this is o.k. with the NCAA.

    But yes if it does happen that your PDL side wins the US Open Cup, you might or might not be eligable for the CONCACAF Champions League.

  12. hey soundersfc have the best fans they average over 35,000 per game…. and plus soundersfc will win it all again so fck the USL teams

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