U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that the 101st edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will kickoff on May 7. Sporting KC and the other 15 U.S.-based MLS clubs will enter the competition during the fourth round. Sporting KC's first match will come against an opponent to-be-determined during the week of June 10-18.
Thanks to a two-week break for the 2014 World Cup, Major League Soccer clubs can potentially schedule an Open Cup match during the weekend of June 14-15. Open Cup matches are usually mid-week affairs.
Oklahoma Energy FC and Orlando City, Sporting KC's two affiliate USL Pro clubs, will enter during the third round. Energy FC will face the Tulsa Athletics (National Premier Soccer League) while Orlando City will face the Ocala Stampede (Premier Developmental League).
Sporting Kansas City will be matched up geographically with a third-round opponent. The two best candidates would be either the winner of Energy FC vs. Tulsa or the Des Moines Menace (United States Adult Soccer Association) vs. Real Colorado Foxes (PDL). SKC defeated the Menace 2-0 in last year's Open Cup.
The tournament, a single-elimination knockout tournament, has expanded to 80 teams this year — the largest in the competition's modern history (1995-present day). The field includes 42 amateur teams and 38 teams from MLS, NASL and USL Pro.
In 2012, Sporting KC won the Open Cup trophy in a penalty kick shootout with the Seattle Sounders. It was the club's second Open Cup victory in club history.
Here's the tournament schedule.First round: May 7 (16 amateur teams)
Second round: May 14 (8 first-round winners, 26 remaining amateur clubs and 14 USL Pro clubs)
Third round: May 28 (24 second-round winners and 8 NASL clubs)
Fourth round: June 10-18 (16 third-round winners and 16 U.S.-based MLS clubs)
Fifth round: June 24-25 (16 fourth-round winners face each other, match-ups based geographically)
Quarterfinal round: July 8-9 (winners paired geographically)
Semifinal round: Aug. 12-13 (winners paired geographically)
Sept. 30-Oct. 1
The fourth, fifth and quarterfinal round will all take place during the 2014 World Cup. The fourth and fifth rounds fall during a two-week break in MLS action.
The 2014 winner will take home $250,000 in prize money and have its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy.