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Your Yearly Reminder That the U.S. Open Cup Is Really Important For Orlando City

Orlando City is about to enter the 2016 edition of the U.S. Open Cup, and it's very, very important that they win it all this season.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This is your yearly reminder that what Orlando City is about to embark on is very, very important.

The U.S. Open Cup will welcome the Lions to the fold on Wednesday, when the team travels to Jacksonville to face the Armada in the fourth round of the 2016 edition of the tournament. It's been almost two years since Orlando City last brought in a trophy, and the Open Cup is the club's next best chance to capture one.

Outside of another trophy, the Open Cup holds one big happy token: a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League — a goal the team is passionate about reaching.

Last year, Adrian Heath talked about the importance of the Open Cup to getting to the Champions League, saying:

"We've got to get into [the Champions League] and that's why the Open Cup this year will be incredibly important to us." Heath said on Tuesday. "I know all the directors at our football club talk about the same thing. It is one of those things that can put you on the map worldwide, and I think it's something over the next few years it certainly will take a real importance with us."

Ironically, the lineups used in those games suggested otherwise. But I digress.

A trip to the Champions League would give Orlando City a chance to earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup, where'd the Lions would go up against the best teams from the other top confederations around the world. The Lions could also qualify for Champions League by winning the MLS Cup or Supporters' Shield this season. While those are certainly obtainable goals for the club, Open Cup appears to be their best opportunity.

The Open Cup — U.S. Soccer's version of the FA Cup in England — is a yearly tournament that includes close to 100 teams from just about about every level of the soccer pyramid in the United States.

Orlando City has been a part of this tournament every year since coming to Orlando in 2011, losing to FC Dallas, 3-2, in the third round that year. The Lions suffered a third-round exit again in 2013, losing to Sporting KC, 3-2. In 2013, the club made its best tournament run to date, beating the Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC in the third and fourth rounds, only to fall to the Chicago Fire, 5-1, in the quarterfinals. In 2014, the Lions were outed in the fourth round after a 5-1 loss to Colorado. Last season, the team reached the quarterfinals with a penalty shootout win over Charleston Battery and a home win over Columbus Crew, before being eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Fire, 3-1.

With a much deeper squad in MLS this season, the Lions stand as potential threats to make it to the championship match this season, especially when some teams don't give much of an effort in this competition.