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.