|Silverbacks Draw PDL Austin in U.S. Open Cup First RoundWednesday May 28, 2008|
ATLANTA—The Atlanta Silverbacks begin 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play June 10, facing the PDL Austin Aztex in Austin in the first round.
Austin—which will join USL-1 in 2009—is 4-0-1 in its first season of PDL competition, and have yet to concede a goal.
In 2007 the Silverbacks advanced to the third round, falling to MLS side F.C. Dallas in penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw at Pizza Hut Park. Dallas went on to the finals, falling to fellow MLS side New England 3-2. The Silverbacks opened the 2007 tournament with a 10-0 win over amateur side Azzurri and 1-0 win over USL-2 Charlotte Eagles at Silverbacks Park before exiting the tournament at Dallas.
Since qualifying for the tournament for the first time in 2002, the Silverbacks have progressed to the second round every year. The farthest the Silverbacks have gone is the fourth round in 2004, falling to MLS' Kansas City Wizards 4-1.
This year's tournament will feature a field of 40 teams: 16 professional (eight MLS, eight USL-1, eight USL-2, and 16 amateur teams), vying for $180,000 in prize money. The champion will receive $100,000, second place $50,000, and $10,000 for each team that advances the deepest from the pool of USL-1, USL-2, and amateur sides. USL-1 and USL-2 teams qualify based on their final place in the previous season's regular season table. The top six MLS clubs also automatically qualify, leaving the others to participate in play-in games for the final two spots. MLS teams enter the tournament in the third round. The eight PDL sides that make up half of the 16 amateur clubs participating in the tournament are based on their play through the first four games of the concurrent season, and the remaining amateur spots are awarded via regional qualifying tournaments.
Founded in 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest open competition in any sport in the United States. Based on England's Football Association (F.A.) Cup, the tournament is open to all teams affiliated with the USSF.
Coined the “Professional Era,” professional teams began competing with the advent of Major League Soccer in 1996. Since, only one non-MLS club has raised the cup in 1999 when the USL-1's Rochester Rhinos topped MLS' Colorado Rapids 2-0.
First Round Pairings
Brooklyn Knights (PDL) at Carolina RailHawks (USL-1)
N.Y. Pancyprian Freedom (USASA) at Real Maryland Monarchs (USL-2)
Fredericksburg Gunners (PDL) at Richmond Kickers (USL-2)
Boston Olympiakos (USASA) at Western Mass Pioneers (USL-2)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-2) at AAC Eagles (USASA)
Cleveland City Stars (USL-2) at Michigan Bucks (PDL)
St. Louis Lions (PDL) at Minnesota Thunder (USL-1)
RWB Adria (USASA) at Rochester Rhinos (USL-1)
Atlanta Silverbacks (USL-1) at Austin Aztex (PDL)
ASC New Stars (USASA) at Charleston Battery (USL-1)
Clearwater Galactics (USASA) at Charlotte Eagles (USL-2)
Bradenton Academics (PDL) at Miami FC Blues (USL-1)
Seattle Sounders (USL-1) at Arizona Sahuaros (USASA)
Yakima Reds (PDL) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2)
Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL-2) at Los Angeles Legends (PDL)
Hollywood United (USASA) at Portland Timbers (USL-1)
2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
June 12 - First Round - 32 lower division teams enter tournament
June 26 - Second Round - 16 Round 1 winners face off
July 1 - Third Round - Round 2 winners face eight MLS teams
July 8 - Quarterfinals - Round 3 winners
Aug. 12 - Semifinals - Quarterfinal winners
Aug. 24 - Final - Semifinal winners
Composition of participating teams:
Eight Major League Soccer
Eight United Soccer Leagues First Division
Eight United Soccer Leagues Second Division
Sixteen Amateur (eight USL Premier Development League, eight USASA regional qualifiers)