Last week, Sporting KC won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Trophy right here in KC. Kansas Citians were excited to welcome the trophy to our city, even if they weren’t soccer fans. Many, including our CEO, were confused to find out that SKC wasn’t done with the season.
wait so ur telling me soccer season isn't over even though they won that cup thing? im exhausted
— GAT (@sprotsGAT) September 22, 2017
What exactly is the U.S. Open Cup, what does it mean for Sporting, and when exactly is U.S. Soccer done for the season?
Let’s take a look:
The U.S. Open Cup began in 1913, making it the longest-running tournament in U.S. Soccer history. To put that in perspective, the Open Cup is 7 years older than the 19th amendment. The tournament consists of amateur clubs, which enter in the first round of the tournament, and the three professional leagues in the States: North American Soccer League, United Soccer League, and Major League Soccer. The three professional leagues enter the tournament in the second round. The ability for amateur teams to enter and potentially advance makes this unique compared to tournaments in other American sports. This cup does NOT determine the winner of Major League Soccer, but is an additional tournament alongside the MLS tournament.
In 1999, the Cup was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. If that name sounds familiar to you, it should. Lamar Hunt is a founder of MLS and former owner of the Kansas City Wizards, as well as of the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamar also helped establish summer favorites Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun.
Between Lamar Hunt and Sporting KC’s 4 Open Cup titles, the trophy is truly back home. However, SKC gets more than just a shiny trophy. The winner of the Open Cup is guaranteed an automatic bid into the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament for top teams in North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. Winners of CONCACAF earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup. Since SKC won the Open Cup, they have secured a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF series, with potential to make the Club World Cup.
What Does SKC Need To Do?
As of today, SKC has four more regular season games. Mathematically, SKC can secure a spot in the MLS tournament as early as Saturday’s game versus Minnesota. Postseason will begin on October 25th, with the MLS Cup Championship game on December 9th.
Love soccer or hate it, KC will always welcome hardware to our city. Let’s hope we’ll see another trophy on December 9th.