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2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

FC Tucson set to joust with Phoenix in U.S. Open Cup

May 14 will mark historic meeting in long-standing tournament

The pairings for the first round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup have been released, and FC Tucson will face in-state rivals Phoenix FC. The match will take place at FC Tucson’s home field, Kino Sports Complex, Field 5, on May 14.

“It’s an opportunity to remind Phoenix that we play good soccer down here and we have amazing fans,” said FC Tucson head coach Rick Schantz.

Schantz invoked the long standing Wildcat-Sun Devil rivalry and said, “The winner will have bragging rights for the season.”

The Tucson team is still being formed for the year, with a set of names carefully written on a chalkboard at the FC Tucson clubhouse at the Kino Sports Complex.

“I’m looking at them right now,” Schantz said in a call from his office on Wednesday after the announcement. “Sixteen are confirmed for that game, 26 on the whole roster.”

Schantz also mentioned that the team would be adding “a player or two of extreme significance.”

FC Tucson has already scouted Phoenix FC four times, Schantz pointed out. He isn’t talking tactics, but let on that he wants it to be a low-scoring game.

“If we shut them out, the worst we do is tie,” he said.

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The match is scheduled for May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Kino Sports Complex. Ticket information can be found at FCTucson.com.

Homecoming for Toia, Schmitt

Phoenix FC includes two players that played at Field 5 last year: Donny Toia and Reid Schmitt. For Schmitt, it’s a chance to finally play in one of American soccer’s most storied tournaments.

“I was upset that we didn’t make the Open Cup last year. Getting to play this year is awesome,” said Schmitt. “When we beat FC Tucson and advance, we’ll get to play an NASL or MLS team.”

That chance to play against the big boys is one of the attractions of the tournament. Two lower level teams in last year’s tournament caused a stir by beating better known rivals. Cal FC, an amateur team consisting mostly of cast off professional players, defeated the Portland Timbers. The Michigan Bucks, a team that plays in FC Tucson’s PDL, beat the Chicago Fire.

“I love both of those guys,” said Schantz of his time coaching Schmitt and Toia. “They were my hardest working players last year.”

Schmitt talks fondly of his time South of the Gila too.

“This rivalry is going to be a good one,” said Schmitt about facing off with his old team. “I respect everything that FC Tucson has done. I loved every minute of playing there last year.”

And now history...

This will be the 100th edition of the U.S. Open Cup, originally called the National Challenge Cup. The only “challenge cup” — one that involves teams at all levels — in the world that is older is the English FA Cup.

Even with all that history, this may be the first meeting between two Arizona clubs in the tournament.

So says Josh Hakala, editor of the blog TheCup.us.

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“I have no record of it ever happening in the history of the tournament,” he said in an email. “But my records aren’t complete, so I can’t say for certain.”

Even with the incomplete records, Schantz is already selling this as “the highest level game between Arizona teams ever.”

During the Arizona Sahuaros run as a professional team (making the Open Cup twice in the '90s), Tucson had a PDL team, Tucson Amigos. They would play against each other, but only exhibitions. This would be the first time a “ball would be kicked in anger,” so to speak. The words “highest level” aren’t hyperbole.

By the way, the winner of the U.S. Open Cup qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League. Those of you that want to see FC Tucson or Phoenix FC suit up against Atlante or Cruz Azul get out your beads.

Hey, it could happen.

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Gary Rohman/Sporting Kansas City

2012 U.S. Open Cup champions Sporting Kansas City celebrates after winning the final, August 8.

2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

Source: TheCup.us

Play-In Round (May 7)

  • Georgia Revolution (NPSL) at Colorado Rovers (USSSA), Shea Stadium, Highlands Ranch, CO
  • FC Hasental (NPSL) at Fresno Fuego Future (US Club Soccer), Chukchansi Park, Fresno, CA

First Round (May 14/15)

  • Mass Premier Soccer (USASA) at GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL), Memorial Field, Deering High School, Portland, ME
  • Icon FC (USASA) at Brooklyn Italians (NPSL), Aviator Sports Complex, Brooklyn, NY
  • New York Red Bulls U23s (NPSL) at Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL), Carey Stadium, Ocean City, NJ
  • FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) at Reading United AC (PDL), Don Thomas Stadium, Reading, PA
  • Ocala Stampede (PDL) at Red Force (USASA), Florida International Soccer Stadium, Miami, FL
  • VSI Tampa Bay FC (USL PRO) at Orlando City U-23s (PDL), Seminole Soccer Complex; Sanford, FL
  • Chattanooga FC (NPSL) at Carolina Dynamo (PDL), Macpherson Stadium, Greensboro, NC
  • Dearborn Stars (USASA) at Michigan Bucks (PDL), Ultimate Soccer Arenas, Pontiac, MI
  • RWB Adria (USASA) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO), Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
  • River City Rovers (PDL) at Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO),Beavercreek High School, Beavercreek, OH
  • Madison 56ers (NPSL) at Des Moines Menace (PDL), Valley Stadium, West Des Moines, IA
  • NTX Rayados (USASA) at Austin Aztex (PDL), House Park, Austin, TX
  • Phoenix FC (USL Pro) at FC Tucson (PDL), Kino Sports Complex, Field 5, Tucson, AZ
  • Sacramento Gold (NPSL) at Portland Timbers U23s (PDL), JELD-WEN Field, Portland, OR
  • Doxa Italia (USASA) at Sounders FC U23s (PDL), Sunset Chevrolet Stadium, Sumner, WA
  • PSA Elite (USASA) at Laredo Heat SC (PDL), Texas A&M International Soccer Complex, Laredo, TX
  • Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) at Play-in Winner (Colorado Rovers/Georgia Revolution), Shea Stadium, Highlands Ranch, CO ORRYSA Soccerplex, Conyers, GA
  • Play-in Winner (Fresno Fuego Future/FC Hasental) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL), Ventura College, Ventura, Calif.
  • Second Round (May 21)
  • First Round winners join remaining USL Pro and NASL teams.
  • Third Round (May 28)
  • Second Round winners are paired against 16 MLS teams.
  • Fourth Round (June 12)
  • Quarterfinals (June 26)
  • Semifinals (Aug. 7 or 21)
  • Final (Oct. 1 or 2)