Orlando City starts what we hope to be a long run in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night at 7:30 at Orlando City Stadium, against Miami FC. For our readers who may not necessarily be familiar with this competition, it's a knockout tournament similar to England's FA Cup, with only U.S.-based teams — both amateur and professional — eligible to play.
MLS clubs enter the tournament in the fourth round, which is where we are now, after many amateur and lower level teams have already been eliminated. Orlando City's opponent was determined by draw before Round 3 was played, and the Lions were slated to face the winner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Miami FC. The NASL club from South Florida won, so here we are.
Here's a primer for the match.
How many rounds are there?
There are eight rounds in this year’s competition, but just four for MLS clubs, who start play in Round 4. It takes two wins to reach the quarterfinals from here. The quarterfinals take place in mid-July, with the semifinals coming in mid-August and the final in late September.
So...the winner just gets a trophy?
Well, no, not just a trophy. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has changed names over the years, but it's one of the oldest soccer competitions in the world, dating back to 1913-14, so it's kind of a big deal.
The winner of the U.S. Open Cup receives one of the four coveted U.S. spots in CONCACAF Champions League. Oh, and the winning team gets $250,000 in prize money as well, while the runner-up gets $60,000 and there’s a $15,000 bonus for advancing the furthest in your division. Baltimore-based Christos FC, a local qualifier that will play D.C. United in Round 4, is an example of a team advancing the furthest from its division.
How has Orlando City fared in the U.S. Open Cup?
Orlando City holds an all-time record of 10-6-1* in U.S. Open Cup play and has gone as far as the quarterfinals in 2013 and 2015. The Lions defeated the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City in 2013 before the Chicago Fire knocked them out. Coincidentally, the Fire knocked out Orlando in the 2015 quarterfinals as well.
*The Lions drew the Charleston Battery, 4-4, in 2015 but advanced on penalties. This technically counts as a draw even though Orlando City moved on in the tournament.
Last season, the Lions defeated the Jacksonville Armada on the road, 1-0, but fell 2-1 at home against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a 120th-minute strike by current Orlando City defender, PC, which came very much against the run of play. The Lions had out-shot the Strikers after halftime by a 20-1 margin.
How has Jason Kreis done in the U.S. Open Cup as a head coach?
Kreis coached Real Salt Lake from 2007 to 2013 and then managed New York City FC in 2015, so he’s seen the competition a few times. His first four seasons at RSL, only eight MLS teams qualified for the competition and his club did not qualify in those years, falling out in various rounds of qualification. His best season was in 2013, reaching the final before falling, 1-0.
Jason Kreis in U.S. Open Cup
|2007||Real Salt Lake||DNQ||Lost in qualification final to Colorado Rapids, 2-1|
|2008||Real Salt Lake||DNQ||Lost in second round of qualification to Columbus, 2-0|
|2009||Real Salt Lake||DNQ||Lost in qualification semifinals to Seattle, 4-1|
|2010||Real Salt Lake||DNQ||Lost in qualification final to D.C. United after extra time, 2-1|
|2011||Real Salt Lake||1-1-0||Lost in quarterfinals to FC Dallas, 2-0|
|2012||Real Salt Lake||0-1-0||Lost in Round 3 to Minnesota Stars, 3-1|
|2013||Real Salt Lake||4-1-0||Lost in final, 1-0 to D.C. United|
|2015||New York City FC||0-0-1||Lost in Round 4 on penalties to New York Cosmos, 2-2 (4-3)|
|DNQ = Did Not Qualify|
How has Miami FC fared in the U.S. Open Cup?
The club has only been in existence for two seasons, beginning play in 2016, so Miami FC doesn’t have a rich history in the USOC. Miami has a record of 2-1 in the tournament, losing its first ever USOC match last year to the Wilmington Hammerheads, 2-1. This season, Miami FC survived in a 3-2 win over South Florida Surf in the second round before knocking out Tampa Bay, 2-0.
Will we see basically the regular lineup from Orlando City?
Not likely. Orlando City will be like many MLS teams and rest important regulars during Cup matches. The Lions have an important match against the Montreal Impact on Saturday and will want to rest guys like Jonathan Spector, Kaká, and probably several others, while Cyle Larin and Will Johnson are with the Canadian national team. This match-up was originally supposed to take place June 13, which might have made a slight difference in who Jason Kreis uses. Plus there are rules as to how many foreign players can be in the lineup. It’ll likely be a mixture of a few regulars, some bench players, and a few guys recalled from Orlando City B. The reality is that the fixture schedule has been crowded and some players need rest to stay fresh for MLS matches or simply to let nagging injuries heal up.
Expect to see guys like Hadji Barry, Tony Rocha, Leo Pereira, Rafael Ramos, and probably Seb Hines. We'll likely see a few regulars, just owing to numbers, but don't go in expecting 90 minutes of Kaká.
What's the history between these two teams?
There isn’t any. These two teams have never met.
What do we know about Miami FC?
Former USL Orlando City defender Brad Rusin plays for Miami. He made 23 appearances with the Lions in 2014, scoring two goals. Midfielder Kwadwo Poku is a former New York City FC player who is big and strong and gave Orlando fits back in 2015 with his passing. He’s a key player for Miami. Midfielder/defender Gabriel Farfan played with the Philadelphia Union and Chivas USA in MLS, scoring once in 65 appearances. Midfielder Michael Lahoud also played with both the Union and Chivas USA.
Will the game be televised?
No, but we did get word that it would be streamed.
According to an Orlando City spokesperson, Orlando's U.S. Open Cup game vs @TheMiamiFC will be streamed via Ooyala & on U.S. Soccer website.— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) June 9, 2017
Are there any roster limitations?
As a U.S.-centric tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has restrictions on using international players. Each team may dress only five foreign players for Cup matches in its 18-man roster. This can be problematic for a team like Orlando City, which relies heavily on international players. A few will have to sit.
What if it's a draw?
If the teams are tied after 90 minutes, they will play 30 minutes of extra time, similar to how World Cup knockout round matches are played. If there is still no winner after 120 minutes, penalty kicks will be used to determine which team advances. It is officially listed as a draw.
Does this count in the standings?
No, the U.S. Open Cup is a separate competition and there won't be any points added to Orlando City's total should they win. If the Lions prevail, their fifth-round opponent will be determined via draw, as will the game's location. This isn’t a completely random draw, as geographic location plays a large role in determining the opponent.
Where and who will Orlando City play if they win?
There will be a drawing to determine the location of the Round 5 match-up if both clubs have applied to host. The Lions would play the winner of the Chicago Fire and Saint Louis FC. Provided Orlando City gets past Miami FC, we'll bring you that information as soon as it's available. The date would be June 28.
Who won it last year?
In a rematch of the 2007 USOC final, FC Dallas hosted the match and defeated the New England Revolution, 4-2, on Sept. 13 of last season. It was the second time Dallas has won the U.S. Open Cup. The club won the competition back in 1997 as the Dallas Burn in penalties over D.C. United in a match played in Indianapolis. Dallas is also a two-time runner-up in the competition.
There’s what you need to know ahead of Orlando City’s match vs. Miami FC on Wednesday night. We’ll have full coverage right here at The Mane Land.