FC Tucson: It's on: Local club to face Phoenix in U.S. Open Cup

2013-05-02T00:00:00Z FC Tucson: It's on: Local club to face Phoenix in U.S. Open CupDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Are you ready for some May Madness?

Hungry for a new type of territorial tussle?

Well, get ready. Soccer's version of the NCAA tournament is coming to Tucson for the first time and will bring along the added bonus of a matchup against an in-state rival.

FC Tucson will face Phoenix FC in the opening round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 14 at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday.

Tickets, which are $16 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, can be purchased at www.fctucson.com.

Phoenix FC is playing its inaugural season in the United Soccer Leagues Pro Division, which is a level higher than FC Tucson's USL Premier Development League.

Phoenix FC, known as the Wolves, has already played six league matches. FC Tucson does not start its league season until May 11, and will have only one league match under its belt before squaring off with the team from the north.

"We're definitely the underdog," said FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz. "I'd like to say we are Florida Gulf Coast or one of these Cinderella teams. That would be a fun ride if we can get it going."

The U.S. Open Cup, a single-elimination event just like the NCAA tournament, has one thing on the March event - age. The U.S. Open Cup began in 1913-14 and is among the oldest soccer cup competitions in the world and is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history.

"We've wanted (a U.S. Open Cup match) from Day 1, so when we got the word we would be hosting, we were extremely happy," Schantz said.

"There's some built-in rivalry between Tucson and Phoenix, whether it's basketball, baseball, football. Now you can probably add soccer to that list.

"Getting Phoenix at home, you couldn't ask for a better opportunity to sell tickets and to build a crowd around."

If FC Tucson wins May 14, it would play a second-round match May 21 with the opponent and site to be determined. If the club advances to the third round, it could face one of the country's big boys because that's when Major League Soccer teams enter the competition.

Up next

• What: FC Tucson vs. Phoenix FC

• Where: Kino Sports Complex

• When: May 14 at 7:30 p.m.

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