U.S. Soccer announced the format and basic schedule for the 2014 U.S. Open Cup on Thursday. This year, the knock-out tournament will consist of 80 teams, the most in history, and will include all of the U.S.-based professional clubs.
The first round, to be held on May 7, will take place between amateur teams from a variety of leagues/levels in the U.S. soccer pyramid (amateur, PDL, USASA, NPSL, US Club Soccer, USSSA). The second round, on May 14, will feature the Round 1 winners plus the remaining amateur league sides, as well as the USL PRO teams.
The NASL clubs will enter the fray in the third round, as they will play winners from the second round on May 28 (of course, some Round 2 winners will play other Round 2 winners).
For Chivas USA fans, the fourth round is where the action truly begins, as the Goats, along with the rest of the MLS teams, will join in at this point, facing the Round 3 winners. The scheduling is fairly flexible for this round, as games can take place from June 10-18, in light of the break MLS is taking in league play due to the World Cup.
The fifth round will then take place on June 24-25, consisting of the teams that have advanced from the previous round, followed by the quarterfinal round on July 8-9. The semifinal round will be August 12-13, and the final will take place September 30-October 1.
Chivas USA have made deep runs in the USOC twice before, making the semifinals in 2010 and 2012, and losing to the Seattle Sounders each time.
Since becoming president of the club, Nelson Rodriguez has said more than once that he wants to see this team go for silverware. Although it is entirely possible the Goats could make the playoffs and even win MLS Cup, the team's track record, as well as current form, suggests it is unlikely in 2014.
As a result, the U.S. Open Cup is this team's best chance at silverware under the Chivas USA moniker. While no knock-out tournament is easy, they only need to win five games to win the Cup. And lest you think a middling-to-poor team can't win it all, consider that just last year, the very worst team in MLS (worse even than Chivas!) won the Open Cup. Now, that team, D.C. United, is playing in CONCACAF Champions League this summer, and have something to remember from a terrible 2013 season.
I sincerely hope Wilmer Cabrera and the team puts every effort into making a run in the Open Cup. This team has no major trophies, and it would be great to end the Chivas era of the club with something positive.
We'll let you know, of course, the specific schedule and opponent for Chivas' first game in the tournament when that information is available.
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