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Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Founded 1914
Region United States (CONCACAF)
Number of teams 91 (2015)
Current champions Sporting Kansas City (3rd title)
Most successful club(s) Bethlehem Steel F.C. & Maccabi Los Angeles (5 titles each)
Television broadcasters ESPN and Univision (Spanish)
Website . Open Cup.SU
2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, commonly known as the U.S. Open Cup, is a knock-out cup competition in American soccer. It is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and the world's third-longest-running open soccer tournament.[1] The 102nd edition, to be held in 2015, is expected to be contested by 91 clubs from the three professional leagues sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, including Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, and the United Soccer League, and amateur clubs in the earlier rounds of the tournament after qualifying through their leagues. The overall champion earn a total of $250,000 in prize money, while the runner-up receives $60,000 and the furthest-advancing team from each lower division league receive $15,000.[2] In addition, the tournament winner qualifies for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.[3]

The competition was first held during the 1913–14 season as the National Challenge Cup, with Brooklyn Field Club winning a trophy donated by Thomas Dewar for the promotion of American soccer.[4] It was renamed to the U.S. Open Cup in 1990 and then dedicated to MLS owner Lamar Hunt by the United States Soccer Federation in 1999.

Major League Soccer teams have dominated the competition since MLS began play in 1996. No lower division team has won the U.S. Open Cup since the Rochester Rhinos in 1999, reached the U.S. Open Cup final since the Charleston Battery in 2008, or reached the semifinals since the Richmond Kickers in 2011. The most recent champions of the competition, Sporting Kansas City, were awarded their third title after defeating the Philadelphia Union 7–6 on penalties after a 1–1 tie in the 2015 final, the 102nd edition of the competition.[5]


  • Format 1
    • Qualification 1.1
  • History 2
  • Hosting 3
  • Champions 4
    • Champions by number of titles 4.1
    • Champions by State 4.2
    • MLS Honors 4.3
    • U.S. Open Cup winners 4.4
  • Player records 5
    • Career goals 5.1
    • Season scoring leaders 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The competition is a single-elimination tournament that has been contested by 80 teams since the 2014 edition. This pool consists of the 38 American clubs in the three professional leagues, which are Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, and the United Soccer League (formerly USL PRO), as well as 42 amateur teams from the USL Premier Development League, National Premier Soccer League, the United States Adult Soccer Association, and US Club Soccer.[6] The first three rounds, consisting of amateur and lower-league teams, are played during consecutive weekdays in May with amateur teams advancing to face USL and NASL clubs in geographical pairings in the third round. The winner of each match progresses to the next round and the loser is eliminated from the tournament. MLS clubs enter play in the fourth round, matched geographically with the winners of the third round to play on a date in June that is determined by the home side specifically selected for non-interference with league games. After the fourth round, no new teams are introduced, leading to a quarterfinal round in July, a semifinal round in August, and a final match to determine the champion in September. Every match, including the final, is a one-legged tie that lasts 90 minutes plus any additional stoppage time. If no clear winner has been determined after 90 minutes of normal time, 30 minutes of extra time is played. If the score is still level after extra time then the winner is decided by a penalty shoot-out.[6]


Through the 2011 edition, eight teams from each level of the American Soccer Pyramid took part in the competition proper, with each league narrowing its delegation separately in the spring before the competition officially began in the summer. In some cases, additional teams played in qualifying rounds to gain entry. One example was found with MLS clubs, as only the top six from the previous regular season received automatic bids, while the bottom U.S.-based MLS teams faced each other to qualify for the remaining two MLS slots.

Beginning in 2012, the competition was expanded from its previous 40 teams to 64, with the qualifying process radically changed. The National Premier Soccer League received six places, plus the possibility of a seventh in a playoff against a team from the amateur US Club Soccer setup. Nine clubs from the USASA earned places, as did 16 USL Premier Development League teams. Each of these organizations has its own qualifying process to determine its entrants. These 32 teams competed in the first round of the Cup, with the winners meeting all 16 USL Pro and NASL teams in the second round. The 16 U.S.-based MLS teams entered in the third round.

In 2013 the competition was expanded to 68 teams. All U.S. based Division I, II and III teams participated in the tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO. The remaining 34 spots in the tournament field were filled by amateur teams from the Adult Council category—16 from the Premier Development League, eight from U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifying, eight from the National Premier Soccer League, one from US Club Soccer and one from the United States Specialty Sports Association.

The process for determining the site for the Open Cup tournament semifinals and final was changed in 2013. In past years, the sites for the final three matches of the tournament had been determined through a sealed-bid process, but in 2013 the hosts of those games were determined by a coin flip. Home teams throughout the entire tournament were determined by random selection.[2]

Since 2008, the champion of the U.S. Open Cup has earned the right to play in the CONCACAF Champions League. The first team to represent the U.S. as Open Cup champion was 2007's winner, New England Revolution.[3]


The Sir Thomas Dewar Cup

The competition dates back to 1913-14, when it was known as the National Challenge Cup. In 1999, U.S. Soccer honored one of American soccer's most important patrons, Lamar Hunt, by changing the official title of the tournament to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The winners of the tournament were awarded the Dewar Cup, donated by Sir Thomas Dewar for the promotion of soccer in the United States in 1912, until it was retired due to poor condition in 1979. It was brought back into use by the United States Adult Soccer Association in 1997, but is now back on permanent display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York, and the recent winners of the tournament have been awarded a new, different trophy. Despite this, the name of each winning club is still added to the base of the original Dewar Cup.

Trophy awarded to the Rochester Rhinos in 1999

The National Challenge Cup was the first truly national cup competition in the United States, as previous cups had been effectively relegated to regional status by the difficulties in coordination and travel caused by the size of the United States in the early 1900s. While U.S. Soccer had initially administered the competition, in 1985 they handed over management to the USASA. In 1995, U.S. Soccer resumed its administration of the competition.[7]

Maccabi Los Angeles of California and Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania have both won the cup a record five times, while Greek American AA of New York and Seattle Sounders FC are tied for the record for most consecutive cup victories at three. Most of these records are likely to fall over time, now that Major League Soccer offers a fully professional league, and its teams typically dominate the competition. The old NASL did not participate in the Open Cup.[8]

Since MLS' debut in 1996, MLS clubs have won the cup in all but one of those years. The Rochester Rhinos of the 2nd division A-League were surprise winners in 1999, defeating four MLS clubs, including the Colorado Rapids 2–0 in the championship match. The first professional team to win in the modern era were the Richmond Kickers of the USISL (the predecessor to the A-League, USL First Division, and USL Pro) in 1995, one year before the start of MLS. D.C. United were the first MLS team to win in 1996.


U.S. Soccer uses a simple coin toss to decide which team hosts each match all the way through the final.[9]

Up until the 2011 U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer had used sealed bids to award home matches,[10] which resulted in certain clubs outbidding other teams. From 2007 to 2011, MLS side D.C. United hosted 17 straight matches including two finals, and from 2008–2010 MLS side Seattle Sounders FC hosted 11 of 14 matches in its three championship seasons.


Champions by number of titles

Titles Teams
5 Bethlehem Steel, Maccabi Los Angeles
4 Chicago Fire, Fall River Marksmen, Greek American AA, Philadelphia Ukrainians, Seattle Sounders FC
3 D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City, New York Pancyprian-Freedoms, Stix, Baer and Fuller F.C.
2 Brooklyn Hispano, Brooklyn Italians, Elizabeth S.C., Greek-American A.C., Harmarville Hurricanes, Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles Kickers, New York Americans, St. Louis Kutis, St. Louis Simpkins-Ford, Sparta
1 New Bedford Whalers, New England Revolution, New York Hakoah, New York Hungaria, New York Nationals, New York Ukrainians, Paterson F.C., Pawtucket, Ponta Delgada, Richmond Kickers, Robins Dry Dock, Rochester Rhinos, St. Louis Busch Seniors, Uhrik Truckers, San Francisco I.A.C., San Jose Oaks, St. Louis Scullin Steel, St. Petersburg Kickers, Shawsheen Indians

Champions by State

State Titles Teams
New York
Greek American AA (4), New York Pancyprian-Freedoms (3), Brooklyn Hispano (2), Brooklyn Italians (2), New York Americans (2), Brookhattan, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic, Eintracht, German Hungarian S.C., Krete, Hota, New York Hakoah, New York Hungaria, New York Nationals, New York Ukrainians, Robins Dry Dock, Rochester Rhinos
Maccabi Los Angeles (5), Greek-American A.C. (2), Los Angeles Galaxy (2), Los Angeles Kickers (2), McIlvaine Canvasbacks, C.D. Mexico, San Francisco I.A.C., San Jose Oaks
Uhrik Truckers
Stix, Baer and Fuller (3), St. Louis Kutis (2), St. Louis Simpkins-Ford (2), Ben Millers, St. Louis Busch Seniors, Kansas City Wizards,[N 1] St. Louis Scullin Steel
Chicago Fire (4), Sparta (2), Chicago Viking, Eagles, Falcons
Fall River Marksmen (4), Fall River Rovers, New Bedford Whalers, New England Revolution, Ponta Delgada, Shawsheen Indians
Seattle Sounders FC (4)
Washington, D.C.
D.C. United (3), España
New Jersey
Elizabeth S.C. (2), Paterson F.C.
Sporting Kansas City[N 1] (2)
Rhode Island
Columbus Crew
FC Dallas
St. Petersburg Kickers
Richmond Kickers
  1. ^ a b The club, now known as Sporting Kansas City, was based in Kansas City, Missouri when it won its first U.S. Open Cup title in 2004. The club did not move to its current home of Kansas City, Kansas until 2007.

MLS Honors

Rank Team Wins Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
1 Chicago Fire 4 2 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 2004, 2011
2 Seattle Sounders FC 4 1 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 2012
3 Sporting Kansas City 3 0 2004, 2012, 2015
4 D.C. United 3 2 1996, 2008, 2013 1997, 2009
5 Los Angeles Galaxy 2 2 2001, 2005 2002, 2006
6 Columbus Crew 1 2 2002 1998, 2010
FC Dallas 1 2 1997 2005, 2007
7 New England Revolution 1 1 2007 2001
8 Philadelphia Union 0 2 2014, 2015
9 Colorado Rapids 0 1 1999
Miami Fusion F.C. 0 1 2000
New York Red Bulls 0 1 2003
Real Salt Lake 0 1 2013

U.S. Open Cup winners

Player records

Career goals

The following is a table of the leading career goal scorers in the U.S Open Cup during the modern professional era (1995–present).[11]

Rank Player Goals Ref
1 Sebastien Le Toux 16 [12]
2 Kenny Cooper 13 [12]
2 Jaime Moreno 13 [13]
2 David Bulow 13 [14]
2 Johnny Menyongar 13 [13]

Season scoring leaders

Season Player Team Goals Ref
2010 Paulo Araujo Jr.
Nate Jaqua
Miami FC
Seattle Sounders FC
5 [15]
2011 David Bulow Richmond Kickers 6 [16]
2012 Brian Shriver Carolina Railhawks 5 [17]
2013 Dwayne DeRosario
Frederic Piquionne
D.C. United
Portland Timbers
5 [18]
2014 Kenny Cooper Seattle Sounders FC 6 [19]


  1. ^ Parker, Graham (October 1, 2013). "The US Open Cup: A quiet century of soccer history".  
  2. ^ a b "100th Edition of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Includes Increased Number of Teams and Prize Money". (Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation). March 5, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League" (Press release). New York City:  
  4. ^ "100 Moments: The First U.S. Open Cup Winner". (Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation). May 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sporting Kansas City Sinks Philadelphia Union in Sudden Death PKs to Win 2015 U.S. Open Cup Title". (Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation). September 30, 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Kicks Off May 7". (Chicago, Illinois:  
  7. ^ "USASA". USASA. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ Westervelt, Ted (May 13, 2013). "U.S. Open Cup 1958-1987". Goal, The New York Times Soccer Blog. The New York Times Newspaper. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ Jonathan Tannenwald (March 5, 2013). "U.S. Open Cup updates format, increases prize money for 2013 edition". Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ Brian Straus (October 5, 2011). "U.S. Open Cup could be revamped for '12 - SOCCER - Sporting News". Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ "2014 US Open Cup Round 5: Sebastien Le Toux’s historic brace leads Philadelphia Union past New York Cosmos, 2-1 (video)", The Cup, June 25, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "US Open Cup: Title more important to Philadelphia Union's Sebastien Le Toux than scoring record", MLS Soccer, September 15, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Philadelphia Union Reaches Semifinals of U.S. Open Cup", U.S. Soccer, July 8, 2014.
  14. ^ "Philadelphia Union Reaches Semifinals of U.S. Open Cup", U.S. Soccer, July 8, 2014. (The Richmond Kickers claimed in a 2013 press release that Bulow has scored 14 goals. See "Kickers Face United In Open Cup")
  15. ^ "2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  16. ^ "2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  17. ^ "2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  18. ^ "2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  19. ^ "2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".

External links

  • Official website
  • List of Open Cup finals at RSSSF
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