Soccer: For first time, Tucson part of 100-year event

2013-05-13T00:00:00Z Soccer: For first time, Tucson part of 100-year eventDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup isn't as glamorous as other sports competitions like the NCAA basketball tournament or the Super Bowl.

It's not neatly primped up and packaged by the television networks to always show its best side.

But what do you expect from a 100-year-old?

American soccer's yearly single-elimination competition - a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-do-it-for-the-love-not-the-fame-or-cash-event - has been going nonstop since the 1913-14 season.

It never missed a year due to labor strife. There were no DNPs during WWI or WWII. It survived a period in which the top American league refused to play in it and quite a few times when there was no top American league to play in it.

This centenarian survivor adds a first this year - the participation of a Tucson team. FC Tucson will host Phoenix FC in a first-round match Tuesday.

So here's a primer on the great-great-granddaddy of them all in U.S. soccer:

What's it all about?

Teams from all over the country have spent months qualifying for the tournament proper, which begins with 18 first-round matches on Tuesday.

More professional teams are added during the second and third rounds, with Major League Soccer squads joining in the third round.

To capture the Cup, a team must win seven matches, culminating with the final in early October. The defending champion is Sporting Kansas City.

If FC Tucson wins Tuesday, what's next?

A victory for the men in black Tuesday would earn them a trip to the River City to take on the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League - soccer's version of Triple-A - on May 21.

What is the best team name ever in the Cup?

If the name Wieboldt Wonderbolts doesn't strike fear in opponents, it'll certainly twist their tongues.

Other great names include: Bethlehem Steel, Atlanta Datagraphic, Fatigue Tech, King Taco, Brooklyn Dodgers SC, Harrison Alley Boys, Clan McLennan, Hydraulic Pressed, Favorite Knits, Lusitania Recreation and Good Counsel.

What's the furthest an Arizona team has ever advanced in the Cup?

The Arizona Sahuaros, located in the Phoenix area, reached the second round four times. The last time they accomplished the feat was in 2010.

How have USL PDL teams fared?

FC Tucson is one of 16 teams representing the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. USL PDL teams have made it to the Round of 16 a handful of times, including the Michigan Bucks last year, but a quarterfinal berth has always gone begging for teams in the current fourth-division league.

What's a Pro Football Hall of Famer got to do with it?

The late Lamar Hunt, who owned the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, helped promote soccer for five decades as the owner of four professional soccer clubs. The Cup was named in his honor in 1999.

Since Major League Soccer's inception in 1996, has any non-MLS team won the Cup?

Yes, but only once. In 1999, the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League beat one of the big boys, the Colorado Rapids, 2-0.

FC Tucson opens with tie

In its season opener, FC Tucson rallied with a second-half goal to salvage a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Misioneros on Sunday in San Bernardino, Calif.

FC Tucson's lone goal came in the 74th minute off Saeed Robinson's corner. Midfielder Aaron Long made a near-post run toward the right side of the goalmouth and fired a header toward the net that bounced off a defender before going in to secure the club's first point of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League season.

"The most important aspect of today's game was we had 17 players play, we had no injuries, we got a point on the road and we learned a ton about our team and about our players," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said in a news release.

Long, a midfielder from UC-Riverside, came on as a sub for Tyler Wilson in the second half.

"It was extremely hot, so I knew (Los Angeles) was going to be a little bit tired from playing the first half, so I just wanted to press them a bit," Long said in a news release.

Los Angeles (0-1-1) opened the match's scoring when a free kick from about 30 yards was deflected into the goal. Goalkeeper William Thompson had the shot read but had no chance at getting in front of the deflection.

FC Tucson's first home match will be Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Phoenix FC Wolves in the opening round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Tucson club's next PDL match will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against the Southern California Seahorses. Both matches will be played at the Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5.

Up next

• What: U.S. Open Cup first-round match

• Who: Phoenix FC at FC Tucson

• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field 5

• When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Compiled from a news release

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Video

More videos

This is Tucson: Weekend of August 22

Irene and Samantha talk about every event from the International Wildlife Museum to Tucson's birthday celebration



Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...