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Apr 242014

After much anticipation, US Soccer has released all of the details for the 2014 US Open Cup.

The 101st edition of the single elimination tournament will feature a modern (1995-present) record 80 amateur, semi-professional, and professional teams. The first round will begin on May 7 with the tournament’s final game set for either September 30 or October 1. For the full details check

Okay, now the boring stuff is out of the way. Let’s break down the field itself. Here’s some rapid fire talking points for the this year’s tournament.

Best First Round Game: RWB Adria v. Detroit City FC (Livonia, Michigan)

This Midwest battle features a little bit of  “Old School” vs. “New School”.

Chicago-based RWB Adria are a semi-professional side steeped in tradition. They are the only first round team to have reached a US Open Cup semifinal before; once in 1977 and again in 1991. RWB Adria were founded in Chicago in 1959 by Croatian immigrants and the team still identifies heavily with its Croatian roots, right down to their logo.

Detroit City FC were founded in 2012 and currently play in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). They’ve seen their fan base grow quite a bit over the last couple years. In fact the team’s ownership is currently lobbying to become an MLS team in the future.

The winner of this game gets the Michigan Bucks in the second round.

Best Second Round Game: Cal FC v. LA Galaxy II (Carson, California)

For a second round game, there are quite a few national story lines at play here.

Cal FC are an amateur side based out of Thousand Oaks, California that was founded in 2007. They are back in the US Open Cup for the first time 2012 when they shocked the nation by beating MLS’s Portland Timbers 1-0 in the third round of the tournament. Led by then-head coach Eric Wynalda, they became just the second amateur team to defeat an MLS team without going to penalty kicks. Cal FC went on to lose 5-0 against Seattle Sounders in the fourth round.

LA Galaxy II are the LA Galaxy’s reserve side competing in the United Soccer League’s PRO division (USL Pro). In January, they became the first MLS reserve team to play in USL Pro and they are the only MLS reserve side competing in the tournament. Several MLS teams have U-23 squads competing, but these teams do not feature players eligible for first team action.

Lower Division Team You Should Root For: Brooklyn Italians

There are some people heralding MLS expansion side New York City FC as the first true “New York” team now that it has been announced they will be playing in Yankee Stadium for their first season and they are exploring options for a stadium within one of the five New York boroughs. Not only is this misleading, it also does a great disservice to one of US Soccer’s most historic teams.

Brooklyn Italians were founded in 1949 by Italian immigrants who had just returned from fighting in World War II. At one point they were renamed “Palermo Football Club” before the name was eventually changed back to Brooklyn Italians in 1974. The team has won the US Open Cup twice; once in 1979 and then again in 1991. Today the club has over 300 youth players and organizes the NYC Indoor Classic as well as the Christopher Columbus Cup.

If you’re looking for a “real” New York team, look no further than Brooklyn Italians.

Non-MLS Team Best Equipped To Win The Cup: New York Cosmos

It will be tough to find a more polarizing team in this tournament than the recently reincarnated New York Cosmos. The North American Soccer League (NASL) side started playing in the league’s fall 2013 season. They defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks in the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl to claim the title in their inaugural season.

Now they have their sights set on a CONCACAF Champions League spot, which is typically awarded to the winner of the US Open Cup; though that hasn’t been confirmed yet for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League season. Led by veteran Spanish holding midfielder Marcos Senna, the Cosmos are out to prove they can hang with the best that MLS has to offer and many soccer fans around the country will be tuning in this summer to find out if that’s the case.

Pick To Win It All: Real Salt Lake

We don’t even have any third round matchups yet, so it’s very difficult to pick a winner at this point but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go with last year’s runners up.

The Utah-based MLS side lost a heartbreaker to DC United in last year’s US Open Cup Final, lost the MLS Cup Final, and then lost their head coach (Jason Kreis) all in less than six months. But they have picked up where they left off and are currently in third place in the Western Conference. Young stars like Luis Gil have RSL fans a little less worried about the future and at this point they look perfectly capable of getting back to the final where they would be quite motivated to come out on top.

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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