WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, May 31, 2011 – The pairings are set for the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and the Des Moines Menace hosts the Chicago Fire's Premier Development League team on Tuesday, June 14. The first-round match will start at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium.
The United States Soccer Federation announced the schedule this morning for the 98th annual Cup, the USSF’s national tournament that gives amateur teams like the Menace the opportunity to face professional teams from United Soccer Leagues PRO and even Major League Soccer.
This is the Menace’s sixth trip to the Open Cup, and the third time the organization has made back-to-back appearances (2002-2003, 2005-2006 and 2010-2011). Des Moines clinched the first of 21 amateur berths on April 30, when the Iowa Menace defeated United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) Region-2 foe Kansas, 7-1.
Des Moines is 7-5 all-time in the Cup, including a 1-0 first-round home loss to pro side AC St. Louis a year ago. The Menace advanced to the fourth round in 2005 and 2006, before the MLS Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) knocked the team out each year.
“It’s always exciting to be rewarded the opportunity to host an event such as the Open Cup,” said Menace general manager Todd Meiners. “To do this two years in a row is a real honor. This is great exposure for the city of Des Moines, and a good chance for our fans to see some of soccer’s future stars. The goal is to get through the first two rounds and face an MLS team once again.”
The winner of the June 14 match at Valley Stadium goes on to face the winner of a first-round match in Wisconsin, between the Madison 56ers (National Premier Soccer League) and the Chicago-based AAC Eagles (USASA).
The Menace is familiar with perennial PDL power Chicago (3-1-0 in qualifiers to edge Michigan for the Great Lakes Division’s spot), which makes its fourth trip to the Cup (2004, 2005 and 2009). In its only other visit to Valley Stadium, the Fire picked up wins in the semifinals and quarterfinals of the 2009 PDL playoffs en route to a second-place league finish.
OPEN CUP TICKETS AVAILABLE: Fans can save $2 off each Open Cup ticket by clicking here to order online. Prices return to their normal rate -- $9 for adults, ages 13 and older, and $7 for youth ages 4-12 – on game day.
About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
With a history dating to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the country’s oldest cup competition. It is open to the United States Soccer Federation’s amateur and professional teams.
The 2011 tournament field includes 40 teams. The list includes eight MLS teams and 11 from USL-PRO. Each of the Premier Development League’s nine divisions has a qualifier. The USASA sends eight teams and the NPSL sends four.
The 32 non-MLS teams compete in head-to-head matches until the field whittles down to eight, when they are joined by the MLS teams to form a 16-team bracket. Head-to-head play continues until one team is left standing.
Seattle Sounders FC, featuring two Menace alumni, is looking to win its third-straight Open Cup title. Lamar Neagle (2007-08 Menace) scored his first MLS goal on Saturday – the game-winner against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Ezra Hendrickson (1994 Menace), a long-time pro player, is an assistant coach for the Sounders.
TheCup.us provides updates, including the pairings and brackets.
UP NEXT: The Menace (3-1-0) and the Kansas City Brass (2-2-0) meet at Overland Park Soccer Complex tonight, one week after the Brass rallied for a 2-1 win that kept the Menace from clinching the PDL Heartland Division’s spot in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Menace is back at Valley Stadium on Saturday, hosting Des Moines International on Youth Soccer Night, presented by Powerade and Vitamin Water. All youth-soccer players and coaches receive free admission when they wear their team jerseys or show their coaches’ passes.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace competes in the 64-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of soccer in North America. The Menace plays its home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The organization promotes a healthy lifestyle through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics and tournaments.
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