We’re just about a week away from the fourth-round draw for the 105th Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, which means we’ll find out who the Revolution will face in their opener on Wednesday, June 6.
We can take a quick look at the potential opponents now, but before we do … we have to explain a few things first.
For those of you who don’t know, the US Open Cup was formed in 1914 and is the oldest continually-running domestic soccer tournament in this country. It’s a knock-out style tournament similar to England's FA Cup, where teams are put together via a blind draw; in the US, some teams are drawn together via their regions, in order to cut down on travel costs during the early rounds.
It was originally called the National Challenge Cup in 1914, but in 1999 US Soccer renamed it in honor of Lamar Hunt, the former Kansas City Chiefs owner who was also deeply involved with soccer, both the second incarnation of the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer (he owned three teams when MLS was struggling financially). The Cup’s “modern era” only began in 2012, when US Soccer gave all US-based MLS clubs a berth; beforehand, only the top six clubs in the Supporter’s Shield standings from the previous season received guaranteed berths into the tourney proper, with everyone else needing to qualify via preliminaries. In addition, the winner of The Cup earns a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League, which has happened every season since 2008. The winner of this year’s tourney will take part in the continental competition starting in February ‘19.
One other note about The Cup that you should be made aware of: if the Revolution have a home game in the fourth round, they won’t play this match at Gillette Stadium. They generally play fourth-, fifth-, and quarterfinal-round home matches at smaller pitches throughout Greater Boston and New England; they’ve used Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Brown University in Providence, a field in New Britain, Conn., as well as Jordan Field (formerly Soldier’s Field) in Allston, the small soccer pitch next to Harvard Stadium. Should they host the semifinals, that match would be at Gillette in August.
The Revolution won the tournament in 2007, and were finalists two years ago and in 2001.
Massachusetts also has a deep history in this competition: the Fall River Marksmen (named after their chairman, Sam Mark) won the competition four times in the 1920s and 1931 before moving to New Bedford, becoming the Whalers, and then won The Cup for a fifth time in that incarnation in 1932; the Fall River Rovers were the first winner based in the Commonwealth (1917). Another Fall River side, Ponta Delgada SC, won in 1947, and the Shawsheen Indians of Andover won in its only appearance (1925). The Western Mass. Pioneers in Ludlow are pretty much annual participants; Boston City FC made its lone appearance last year. Seriously … support the Revs, of course, but support local soccer, too.
So, now that the history lesson is complete, let’s take a gander at the potential opponents: