Lamar Hunt Cup begins without El Paso Patriots
El Paso, TX — The competition format and pairings for the first two rounds of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are set with the largest field in the tournament's modern era (1995-present), kicking off on May 7 with eight matches.
PDL (Amateur Division): Nineteen of 56 U.S.-based teams, with 14 entering in the Second Round and five in the First Round. Clubs from each of nine regional divisions qualified based on 2013 regular season records. The El Paso Patriots were 1-10-3 in 2013, finishing in last place in their division.
The 101st edition of the tournament features 80 teams, an increase from the then-record 68 that took the field last year. The expansion results in both the largest number of amateur teams (42) in the tournament proper-exceeding the previous record of 34 set last year-as well as the largest contingent of pro clubs (38, surpassing last year's record of 34), with all Division I, II and III professional sides participating for the third consecutive year. An additional record for the competition will see 24 second-round matches played, exceeding the previous high of 18 in a single round (2013 first round).
A new feature will be the prospect that many pro teams will have to play an early-round Open Cup match on a weekend date (a first in the competition's modern era). This scheduling opportunity for fourth round games June 14-15 is the result of a league break Division I (Major League Soccer) and II (North American Soccer League) clubs will take during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Club 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 100 consecutive years dating back to 1914. This year's winner will earn $250,000 and have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in American team sports. The runner-up will take home $60,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will earn a $15,000 cash prize. D.C. United is the defending U.S. Open Cup champion, having won its third tournament title (following triumphs in 1996 and 2008) after a tense 1-0 road victory over Real Salt Lake on Oct. 1, 2013. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
Tournament Format and Match Dates
The 2014 U.S. Open Cup will be conducted on a single-elimination, one-game-knockout basis utilizing a tiered-bracket format. Teams will be paired geographically. In the event that three or more teams are from the same proximity, pairings for these teams will be made by random selection. Pairings will be arranged to prevent the possibility of a lower division team playing a parent club (e.g. Portland Timbers U-23s [PDL] will not be pitted against the Portland Timbers [MLS], should both teams be in the competition in the same round) except for the Final.