Open Cup pairings revealed for MLS

Major League Soccer's 10 teams learned their opposition in the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Monday, when the pairings for the third and fourth rounds were announced by U.S. Soccer.

The Dallas Burn and Columbus Crew (as the bottom two finishers in the 2003 MLS campaign) enter the competition in the third round, while the remaining eight clubs will enter in the fourth round. Third-round matches will be played on June 30, while the majority of the fourth-round ties will be contested on July 20.

On Monday night, the Columbus Crew learned they will play the A-League Syracuse Salty Dogs, who were 4-2 winners against the PDL (fourth division) South Jersey Barons. That match will be played June 30 at Columbus Crew Stadium. The other third-round match involving MLS teams sees the Dallas Burn involving in a tricky match, playing host to the A-League Virginia Beach Mariners. That match will be played at Old Panther Stadium in Duncanville, Texas, on June 30.

If both MLS teams win their third-round matches, they will face league opposition in the fourth round, the only potential fourth-round games that could match MLS teams. The winner of the Columbus-Syracuse match will face the Chicago Fire, while the winner of the Dallas-Virginia Beach match will play host to the Colorado Rapids.

The Chicago Fire are the defending champions, and are the only team left in the tournament with multiple Open Cup crowns to their name. In 2003, the Fire topped the MetroStars 1-0 in Giants Stadium on a goal by Damani Ralph. The Fire also won the Open Cup in 1998 and 2000. Other former champions still in contention are the Richmond Kickers (1995), D.C. United (1996), Dallas Burn (1997), Rochester Raging Rhinos (1999), Los Angeles Galaxy (2001) and Columbus Crew (2002).

Geographical pairings and host proposals received from each club determined matchups, as they will through the quarterfinals of the tournament.

At stake in the tournament is $180,000 in prize money broken down as follows: $100,000 to the champion, $50,000 to the runner up and $10,000 to the team which advances deepest in the tournament from each of the Division II, Division III and amateur levels. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation's national championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. It is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.

Round 3
Game 17 (June 30): Portland Timbers (A) at Utah Blitzz (PSL); Rice-Eccles Stadium; Salt Lake City, Utah; 7:30 p.m. MT
Game 18 (June 30): Boulder Rapids Reserve (PDL) at Minnesota Thunder (A); James Griffin Stadium; St. Paul, Minn.; 7 p.m. CT
Game 19 (June 30): Wilmington Hammerheads (PSL) at Charleston Battery (A); Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 20 (June 30): Atlanta Silverbacks (A) at Carolina Dynamo (PDL); MacPherson Stadium; Browns Summit, N.C.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 21 (June 30): Virginia Beach Mariners (A) at Dallas Burn (MLS); Old Panther Stadium; Duncanville, Texas; 7:30 p.m. CT
Game 22 (June 30): Cape Cod Crusaders (PDL) at Richmond Kickers (A); Sports Backers Stadium; Richmond, Va.; 7 p.m. ET
Game 23 (June 30): Syracuse Salty Dogs (A) at Columbus Crew (MLS); Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 24 (June 30): Chicago Fire Reserves (PDL) at Rochester Raging Rhinos (A); Frontier Field; Rochester, N.Y.; 7:35 p.m. ET

Round 4
Game 25 (July 14): San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at Portland Timbers; PGE Park; Portland, Ore.; 7 p.m. PT
-OR- (July 20): San Jose Earthquakes at Utah Blitzz; Rice-Eccles Stadium; Salt Lake City, Utah; 7:30 p.m. MT
Game 26 (July 20): Boulder Rapids Reserve at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS); Harder Stadium; Santa Barbara, Calif.; 7:30 p.m. PT
-OR- Los Angeles Galaxy at Minnesota Thunder; Metrodome; Minneapolis, Minn.; 7 p.m. CT
Game 27 (July 20): Colorado Rapids (MLS) at Dallas Burn; Cotton Bowl; Dallas, Texas; 7:30 p.m. CT
-OR- Colorado Rapids at Virginia Beach Mariners; Virginia Beach Sportsplex; Va. Beach, Va.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 28 (July 20): Game 24 Winner at New England Revolution (MLS); Lusitano Stadium; Ludlow, Mass.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 29 (July 20): Game 23 Winner vs. Chicago Fire (MLS); TBA
Game 30 (July 20): Kansas City Wizards (MLS) at Carolina Dynamo; MacPherson Stadium; Browns Summit, N.C.; 7:30 p.m. ET
-OR- Kansas City Wizards at Atlanta Silverbacks; DeKalb Stadium; Clarkston, Ga.; 7:45 p.m. ET
Game 31 (July 20): Wilmington Hammerheads at MetroStars (MLS); Yurcak Field; Piscataway, N.J.; 7:30 p.m. ET
-OR- MetroStars at Charleston Battery; Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 32 (July 20): Cape Cod Crusaders at D.C. United (MLS); Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.; 7:30 p.m. ET
-OR- D.C. United at Richmond Kickers; Sports Backers Stadium; Richmond, Va.; 7 p.m. ET

Still in competition:
MLS (10): Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, D.C. United, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, MetroStars, San Jose Earthquakes
A-League (8 of 8): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Syracuse Salty Dogs, Virginia Beach Mariners
Pro Soccer League (2 of 6): Utah Blitzz, Wilmington Hammerheads
Premier Development League (4 of 8): Boulder Rapids Reserves, Cape Cod Crusaders, Carolina Dynamo, Chicago Fire Reserves
USASA (0 of 8)

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