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U.S. Open Cup

Twelve MLS teams join field of 32 in second round.

(Wednesday, June 7, 2000) -- Twelve Major League Soccer teams join the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition which will have 16 second-round matches played next Wednesday at times yet to be determined.

The matchups were determined by a blind draw conducted by the United States Soccer Federation.

The Cup champion will receive $100,000 in prize money while the runnerup will receive $50,000.

A total of 154 entered the tournament. By predetermination, the 32 remaining teams -- 16 in an Eastern bracket and 16 in a Western bracket -- consisted of 12 teams from MLS, nine from the A-League (second division), seven from the D3 Pro League (third division), and four "amateur" spots.

The A-League and the D3 Pro League used regular season contests this year to determine who would claim their spots. The four "amateur" spots were determined by a series of eliminations culminating in four Premier Development League (fourth division) teams facing off against four United States Amateur Soccer Association teams.

The 32 teams were then divided into the two geographic groups. The MLS teams were seeded according to their finish last season making D.C. United the first seed in the East and the Los Angeles Galaxy the first seed in the West. The six MLS teams in each group were seeded first through sixth, with the seventh and eighth seeds coming from the A-League in order of their current league standings.

All 32 teams were asked if they would host a second round match. So the planners ended up with four bowels to draw from in each region: seeded teams who would host, seeded teams who would not host, unseeded teams who would host, unseeded teams who would not host. Thus the draw came down to matching a seeded team who would host with an unseeded who would not.

One of the surprises in the draw was that defending MLS champion D.C. United ended traveling to face the Charleston Battery, where United was upset last year by the A-League team. This occurred because United did not want to host. Since a match in this round could not include two MLS teams, it meant that D.C. had to travel to a non-MLS team willing to host: Charleston and Pittsburgh Riverhounds from the A-League, or Cape Cod Crusaders and Wilmington Hammerheads from the D3 Pro League.

The draw resulted in several good match-ups. The defending 1999 Open Cup Champion Rochester Raging Rhinos, of the A-League travels to Pittsburgh, a team that beat Rochester 1-0 this season.

In the Western bracket, the best match up appears to be the usually tough Seattle Sounders of the A-League taking on MLS’s Galaxy. Another interesting have the Colorado Rapids traveling to the Richmond (Va.) Kickers.

Dating back to 1914, U.S. Open Cup is the oldest Cup competition in U.S and is among the oldest in the world. It is open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 14

Second round

Eastern bracket
D.C, United (MLS) at Charleston Battery (A-League)
Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League)
New Jersey Stallions (D3) at Miami Fusion (MLS)
Mid-Michigan Bucks at New England Revolution (MLS)
Uruguay S.C. at Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS)
Wilmington Hammerheads (D3) at MetroStars (MLS)
Columbus Crew (MLS) at Cape Cod Crusaders (D3)
Northern Va. Royals (D3) at Hampton Roads Mariners (A-League)

Western bracket
Seattle Sounders (A-League) at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Riverside County Elite (D3) ay San Diego Flash (A-League)
Colorado Rapids (MLS) at Richmond Strikers (A-League)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at Stanislaus United (D3)
Texas Rattlers (D3) at Chicago Fire (MLS)
Kansas City Wizards (MLS) at winner Chicago Sockers (PDL)\Milwaukee Bavarians (USASA)
Tennessee Rhythm (A-League) at Dallas Burn (MLS)
Mexico S.C. (USASA) at Minnesota Thunder (A-League)

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