Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2006 US Open Schedule

The longest running Cup in the US will start on June 7 and include 42 teams. It total, there will be 7 rounds.

For the fourth consecutive and final year, all MLS teams will enter the US Open Cup (next year Toronto will be in the MLS but will not be allowed in since Canada is not part of America). Chicago, Colorado, DC, Dallas, Houston, LA, New England and New York will enter the tournament in the fourth round. Chivas, Columbus, KC and Salt Lake will enter in the third.

Eight USL first division teams will enter the Cup. Atlanta Silverbacks, Portland Timbers, Rochester Raging Rhinos and Seattle Sounders will enter the in the third round. Charleston Battery, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder and Virginia Beach Mariners will come start in the second round.

Six USL second division teams will get a chance at a miracle. The Charlotte Eagles get a berth into the second round as league champs. The other five spots will be sorted out by point percentage of matches played through May 28. Eligible teams for qualification are Cincinnati Kings, Harrisburg City Islanders, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Western Mass Pioneers and Wilmington Hammerheads.

The Premier Development league and U.S. Adult Soccer Association will each get 6 direct teams into the first round. The second-place qualifiers from USASA Regions I and II will be geographically paired to second-place qualifiers from the PDL's Eastern and Central Conferences in the qualifying round. Winners move on to the first round.

So what do teams get from the US Open Cup? The team that advances the furthest from each level except Division I earn a $10,000 cash prize. The runner-up takes home $50,000, while the champion collects $100,000.

These prizes seem a little cheap to me. Maybe US soccer fans could start some sort of 'Supports Prize.' Maybe ask fans to place $5 into a pot with 50% going to the winning team, 25% to the runner up and the other 25% divided amongst teams the went the furthest (excluding the top 2 spots). If just 100,000 soccer fans dropped down $5, it could be a hack of a prize and a fantastic marketing strategy. It would truly be the people's cup.

But enough of my dreaming. Here is the schedule and other relevant information.

2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Qualifying Concludes May 29 Qualifying completed Memorial Day weekend
Qualifying Round June 7 2 PDL vs. 2 USASA Regional Qualifiers
First Round June 14 2 Qualifying Round Winners, 6 PDL vs. 6 USASA Regional Qualifiers, 2 USL Second Division
Second Round June 28 First Round winners vs. 4 USL Second Division, 4 USL First Division
Third Round July 12 Second Round winners vs. 4 USL First Division, 4 MLS
Fourth Round Aug. 2 Third Round winners vs. 8 MLS
Quarterfinals Aug. 23 Fourth Round winners
Semifinals Sept. 6 Quarterfinal winners
Final Sept. 27 Semifinal winners

Composition of participating teams
12 Major League Soccer
8 United Soccer Leagues First Division
6 United Soccer Leagues Second Division
16 Amateur (8 USL Premier Development League, 8 USASA regional qualifiers)

Total Number of Teams: 42
Total Number of Games: 41



Blogger Mr. Fish said...

I'm all for a supporters' prize, but until the Fed finds a sponsor for the event, the USOC will languish in the shadows.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

I'd throw a couple bucks at a prize.

It's a great competition. My boys have done well the past couple years.

2:43 PM  

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