The oldest soccer tournament in the United States is back! On Thursday, U.S. Soccer announced the preliminary and first round schedule for the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.
The Open Cup is a club soccer tournament that features every American team from the MLS, NASL, USL PRO, USL PDL, NPSL, select teams from the USASA, U.S. Club Soccer and the United States.
The winners of the tournament will receive an automatic spot in the 2016-2017 CONCACAF Champions League and $200,000. The defending champions are Seattle Sounders FC who will look to tie Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles for the record of 5 U.S. Open Cup Championships. The Chicago Fire are also stuck on 4 titles.
The tournament kicks off on April 22nd when San Francisco City F.C. of U.S. Club Soccer takes on Cal FC of USASA and Harpo FC of USSA will host K.C. Athletics of USASA in the preliminary round
There are a couple of different wrinkles to this year’s tournament. The tournament has been expanded to 91 teams, a new record. It will also includea fixed bracket system meaning teams in certain areas of the country will play one another. So instead of having another snooze-fest between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Carolina Railhawks we might see the Los Angeles Galaxy and Sonoma County Sol.
Also teams that have multiple clubs (for example: New York Red Bulls 1 and New York Red Bulls 2) cannot play each other until the final.
So here is the full first round series of pairings. USL PRO, NASL, and MLS teams will be introduced in the second, third, and fourth rounds, respectively.
But here is the cool thing about the U.S. Open Cup: It is so much more than just MLS and the NASL. So check out some of the websites from the teams below and get ready as MLS Multiplex will be providing full in-depth coverage of the tournament.
FIRST ROUND (All Matches On May 13; big thanks to the thecup.us for all of the dates and times. )
Fort Pitt Regiment (NPSL) at West Virginia Chaos (PDL)
Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium; Charleston, WV – 7 p.m.
Madison Fire (USASA) at Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Valley Stadium; West Des Moines, IA – 8:30 p.m.
North Texas Rayados (USASA) at Laredo Heat (PDL)
Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex; Laredo, TX – 9:15 p.m.