U.S. Soccer has finalized the remaining schedule for this year's U.S. Open Cup. It appears the defending-champion Sounders will get into action along with seven other MLS teams in the round of 16, which begins June 29. That would be a tight squeeze for the Sounders, however, as the MLS schedule has them playing June 27 three time zones away in Philadelphia. And sometimes there is wiggle room of a day or two, depending on just such considerations. And -- as you may recall -- home/road is decided by bidding between the two teams.
With all that as disclaimer, here's the release from U.S. Soccer:
A total of 40 teams, including 23 professional and 17 amateur clubs, will compete in the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June for the 97th consecutive year of the tournament.
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Qualifying for the first round of the tournament is slated to complete by May 31, with the pairings announced shortly thereafter. Eight MLS teams enter the tournament on June 29 in the third round. The quarterfinals will be played July 6-7, the semifinals will be played Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, and the final will be played Oct. 5.
With 40 teams participating in 2010, the tournament will begin with the first round on June 15 with all 32 lower-division teams. First-round pairings will be determined by dividing the clubs geographically into eight groups of four, with random drawings for each group. On June 22 in the second round, the 16 first-round winners will face off with eight victors moving into the third round to square off against eight MLS teams.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 96 consecutive years dating back to 1914.
Within the U.S. Open Cup framework, teams compete in one of the following four categories: professional outdoor Division I (Major League Soccer), Division II (USSF D-2 Pro League) or Division III (USL Second Division); or Amateur Division. In recent years, the Amateur Division has been comprised of the USL Premier Development League and regional qualifiers from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association.
In 2010, qualifying in the Amateur Division will also include a match between the Sonoma County Sol of the National Premier Soccer League (an affiliate of the USASA) and PSA Los Gatos Storm, a club affiliated with U.S. Club Soccer (a member organization of U.S. Soccer). The winner of that match will enter the tournament as the 17th amateur team in the first round.
The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with games tied after regulation being decided in two 15-minute overtime halves. If the score is still tied after overtime, the winner is decided in a penalty kick shootout. The team that advances the furthest from each level except Division I will earn a $10,000 cash prize. The runner-up will take home $50,000, while the champion will collect $100,000. In addition, the winner will have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, the oldest trophy competed for nationally in American team sports.
2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule May 31 Qualifying Deadline June 15 First Round: 32 lower division teams enter tournament June 22 Second Round: 16 First Round winners face off June 29 Third Round: Round 2 winners face eight MLS teams July 6-7 Quarterfinals: Round 3 winners Aug. 31-Sept. 1 Semifinals: Quarterfinal winners Oct. 5 Final: Semifinal winners
Number of participating teams (by division): 8 - Major League Soccer (Division I) 9 - USSF D-2 (Division II) 6 - United Soccer Leagues Second Division (Division III) 8 - USL Premier Development League (Amateur) 8.5 - USASA (Amateur) .5 - U.S. Club Soccer (Amateur)
Total Number of Teams: 40 Total Number of Games: 39