Get to Know Your Cup
However, there is no doubting Maccabee Los Angeles, a club founded by Israeli expats including Holocaust survivors, that dominated the 1970s and early 80s with five championships.
The Philadelphia Ukrainians have four titles (all won in the 1960s) as have the New York Greek Americans, heroes of Metro NYC’s Cosmopolitan League, the former German-American League that dominated American football in the years following the dissolution of the League dominated the original North American Soccer League in the mid-1980s and the formation of the MLS in 1996.
A place in the CONCACAF Champions League
The winner of this year’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup earns a direct spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. This is the pre-eminent club competition in North, Central America and the Caribbean (renamed the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2008, which has fielded Open Cup winners – often amateur teams – since 1962).
This continental berth creates a direct route for an Open Cup winner to the FIFA Club World Cup – as the winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies directly for the global club show.
Four-time Open Cup winners Seattle Sounders became the first American team to reach the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup after winning the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League.
No replays, no ties and no VAR
The Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with the early stages held in a regional format due to the complications and expense of traveling in a country as large as ours. Every game requires a winner and unlike our English cousin, the FA Cup, there are no replays should a game end in a tangle.
From the first rounds to the final, any game that ends in a draw after 90 minutes goes to 30 minutes of overtime and then, if necessary, penalties.
Because every game requires a winner, shootouts are common in the Open Cup, a tournament that favors the human touch and therefore chooses not to use VAR (Video Assistant Referee) at any point.
All Open Cup matches will be played on the home pitch of one of the participating teams. This includes the finals, with the host being determined by an official host priority draw each year prior to the semi-finals.
A trophy in good hands (every now and then)
In modern times after 1995, numerous American stars have won the Open Cup trophy. There’s Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones with LA Galaxy and DaMarcus Beasley with four-time champion Chicago Fire. The Seattle Sounders have seen Clint Dempsey and Kasey Keller lift American football’s oldest prize, while USA international John Harkes lifted it with era powerhouse DC United in the early years of Major League Soccer.