CCL 2012-13 Qualifiers: US Open Cup Semifinals Set
Posted on July 14, 2011 12:28 am
I should have been more clear when I said that The Regional Review would leave the US Open Cup aside until next month: the semifinals will take place on August 30, before which I will provide a more in-depth preview of the matches.
But the teams that will be participating in them have been determined over the last two days. So here are the matchups between the four, the survivors that can now legitimately dream of lifting the Lamar Hunt trophy and taking the first available spot in next year’s continental championship (home team listed first).
Chicago Fire vs. Richmond Kickers
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas
For non-MLS-savvy readers looking at the above teams: Richmond is not yet another expansion franchise. Rather, the USL-Pro (third-division) side fought through all four rounds of the US Open Cup to date, knocking out fellow USL teams in the Dayton Dutch Lions and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds before taking their act on the road and conquering both the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City to reach this point.
Considering that theirs was the lowest bid* among the four teams on their side of the bracket, it is unlikely that Richmond will see another home game in this tournament. Then again, they only have to pull off two more upsets in order to rub shoulders with the biggest clubs in the entire region – and maybe even knock a few over, just as current NASL (second-division) teams Puerto Rico Islanders and the Montreal Impact famously did back in 2008.
As for the rest, only the two-time defending champion Seattle Sounders have any previous Champions League experience to speak of. FC Dallas did qualify for the current tournament, and will have between two and four games under their belt by the time August 30 rolls around; while the Chicago Fire have yet to play continental ball in the CCL era.
Thecup.us has the first US Open Cup semifinal starting at 8:30 p.m. EST and the second at 10:00 p.m., but I will be sure to include the final schedule in the aforementioned preview for this round.
* For those who don’t know, the right to host matches in the US Open Cup is subject to a bidding process run by the US Soccer Federation. I’m not entirely sure how it works; but according to the cited thecup.us article, on the “Eastern” side of the bracket Sporting Kansas City put in the highest bid for hosting the semifinal, followed by Chicago and New York (their bids were mutually exclusive, since only one of them could make it) and then Richmond.