US Open Cup trophy prior to the 2014 final at PPL Park
USA Today Sports

Open Cup: Perusing the historic tournament's most successful clubs

Editor's note: This article originally ran ahead of the 2014 US Open Cup final and has been updated to reflect more recent results. Sporting Kansas City will host the New York Red Bulls in the 104th edition of the Open Cup final on Wednesday night (9 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).


The U.S. Open Cup is more than a century old, spanning several eras in soccer's long, convoluted history in the United States – and its record books reflect it.

While MLS clubs have seized a near-stranglehold on the Open Cup trophy in the modern era, the names of past winners like Bethlehem Steel, Maccabi Los Angeles, Brooklyn Italians, Greek-American AC, SC Eintracht and McIlvaine Canvasbacks conjure up visions of distant yore, harking back to times when the game inhabited some different spaces in this country than it does now. 

The Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders FC can make a claim to be contemporary “Kings of the Cup” thanks to their four USOC titles apiece. But they – along with the rest of today's professional soccer landscape – haven't quite yet reached the heights scaled by their most accomplished predecessors in this tournament.

Bethlehem Steel – whose legacy is savored and celebrated by two-time finalists, the Philadelphia Union – and Maccabi Los Angeles remain the most successful teams in USOC history with five tournament championships apiece, while many historians would also place Fall River Marksmen on par with them as the Massachusetts side won five trophies under multiple identities between 1917 and 1931.

After receiving sponsorship from the steel company of the same name, Bethlehem built an impressive streak of dominance on either side of World War I in what was then known as the National Challenge Cup, winning the event in 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919 and 1926 while also finishing as runners-up in 1917.

Their New England rivals Fall River – another proud representative of an industrial town – produced similar excellence during the 1920s and '30s despite the recurring financial instability that saw them switch names from United to Marksmen in honor of benefactor Sam Mark in 1922 and later undergo multiple relocations. (Mark, by the way, built his team their own venue just across the state line in Rhode Island, one of the earliest known soccer-specific stadiums in the country.)

Half a century later, their achievements would be equaled by Maccabi Los Angeles, arguably an even quirkier footnote in the Open Cup's history.

Originally founded as a Sunday league team by Jewish immigrants and Israeli expatriates in Southern California, Maccabi began entering more competitive tournaments in 1971 and over the next decade, they made the National Challenge Cup their own, winning the 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1981 editions and coming in second place on two other occasions.

The Philadelphia Ukrainians were the Open Cup's heavyweights of the early '60s, winning four times and fielding famous names like Walter Bahr and Walt Chyzowych, while Greek American Atlas Astoria (also known as New York Greek American and still in operation on an amateur basis today) succeeded them with four titles between 1967 and 1974.

Among MLS clubs, only D.C. United (three-time champs), Sporting Kansas City (three Open Cup wins, if you count the 2004 edition claimed by their forbears the Wizards), and the LA Galaxy (two wins) can come close to the Fire and Sounders.

Past U.S. Open Cup Champions

Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016 FC Dallas (MLS) New England Revolution (MLS) 4-2
2015 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) Philadelphia Union (MLS) 1-1 (7-6)
2014 Seattle Sounders (MLS) Philadelphia Union (MLS) 3-1 (AET)
2013 D.C United (MLS) Real Salt Lake (MLS) 1-0
2012 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) Seattle Sounders (MLS) 1-1 (3-2)
2011 Seattle Sounders (MLS) Chicago Fire (MLS) 2-0
2010 Seattle Sounders (MLS) Columbus Crew (MLS) 2-1
2009 Seattle Sounders (MLS) D.C. United (MLS) 2-1
2008 D.C. United (MLS) Charleston Battery (USL) 2-1
2007 New England Revolution (MLS) FC Dallas (MLS) 3-2
2006 Chicago Fire (MLS) Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 3-1
2005 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) FC Dallas (MLS) 1-0
2004 Kansas City Wizards (MLS) Chicago Fire (MLS) 1-0 (OT)
2003 Chicago Fire (MLS) NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS) 1-0
2002 Columbus Crew (MLS) Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 1-0
2001 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) New England Revolution (MLS) 2-1 (OT)
2000 Chicago Fire (MLS) Miami Fusion (MLS) 2-1
1999 Rochester Rhinos (A-league) Colorado Rapids (MLS) 2-0
1998 Chicago Fire (MLS) Columbus Crew (MLS) 2-1 (OT)
1997 Dallas Burn (MLS) D.C. United (MLS) 0-0 (5-3)
1996 D.C. United (MLS) Rochester Rhinos (A-League) 3-0
1995 Richmond Kickers (A-League) El Paso Patriots (A-League) 1-1 (4-2)
1994 Greek-American A.C. (San Francisco) Bavarian Leinenkugel (Milwaukee) 3-0
1993 C.D. Mexico (San Francisco) United German-Hungarians (Philadelphia) 5-0
1992 San Jose Oaks Vasco de Gama (Bridgeport) 2-1
1991 Brooklyn Italian S.C. Richardson Rockets (Texas) 1-0
1990 A.A.C. Eagles (Chicago) Brooklyn Italian S.C. 2-1
1989 H.R.C. Kickers (St. Petersburg, FL) New York Greek-American 2-1
1988 Busch S.C. (St. Louis) Greek-American (San Francisco) 1-0
1987 Club Espana (Washington, DC) Seattle Eagles 1-0
1986 Kutis S.C. (St. Louis) San Pedro Yugoslavs 1-0
1985 Greek-American A.C. (San Francisco) St. Louis Kutis 2-1
1984 A.O. Krete (New York) San Pedro Yugoslavs 4-2
1983 N.Y. Pancyrian-Freedoms St. Louis Kutis 4-3
1982 N.Y. Pancyrian-Freedoms Los Angeles Maccabee 4-3
1981 Maccabee S.C. (Los Angeles) Brooklyn Dodgers 5-1
1980 N.Y. Pancyrian-Freedoms Los Angeles Maccabee 3-2
1979 Brooklyn Dodgers S.C. Chicago Croatian 2-1
1978 Brooklyn Dodgers S.C. Chicago Croatian 2-1
1977 Maccabee S.C. (Los Angeles) United German-Hungarian (Philadelphia) 5-1
1976 San Francisco A.C. New York Inter-Giuliana 1-0
1975 Maccabee S.C. (Los Angeles) New York Inter-Giuliana 1-0
1974 Greek-American A.C. (San Francisco) Chicago Croatia 2-0
1973 Maccabee S.C. (Los Angeles) Cleveland Inter 5-3
1972 Elizabeth S.C. (Union, NJ) San Pedro Yugoslavs 1-0
1971 Hota S.C. (New York) San Pedro Yugoslavs 6-4
1970 Elizabeth S.C. (Union, NJ) Los Angeles Croatia 2-1
1969 Greek American A.A. (New York) Montabello Armenians 1-0
1968 Greek American A.A. (New York) Chicago Olympic 1-0
1967 Greek American A.A. (New York) Orange County 4-2
1966 Ukrainian Nationals (Philadelphia) Orange County 3-0
1965 N.Y. Ukrainians Chicago Hansa 3-0
1964 Los Angeles Kickers Ukrainian Nationals (Philadelphia) 2-0
1963 Ukrainian Nationals (Philadelphia) Los Angeles Armenian 1-0
1962 New York Hungaria San Francisco Scots 3-2
1961 Ukrainian Nationals (Philadelphia) Los Angeles Scots 5-2
1960 Ukrainian Nationals (Philadelphia) Los Angeles Kickers 5-3
1959 McIlvaine Canvasbacks (Los Angeles) Fall River SC 4-3
1958 Los Angeles Kickers Baltimore Pompei (ASL II) 2-1
1957 Kutis S.C. (St. Louis) New York Hakoah (ASL II) 3-1
1956 Hammarville S.C. (Hammarville, PA) Chicago Schwaben (NSL) 3-1
1955 Eintracht Sports Club (New York) Danish Americans (Los Angeles) 2-0
1954 New York Americans Kutis S.C. (St. Louis) 2-0
1953 Falcons S.C. (Chicago) Pittsburgh Hamarville 2-0
1952 Hammarville S.C. (Hammarville, PA) Philadelphia Nationals (ASL II) 4-1
1951 German Hungarians S.C. (New York) Pittsburgh Heidelberg 6-2
1950 Simpkins-Ford S.C. (St. Louis) Fall River Ponta Delgada 2-0
1949 Morgan S.C. (Morgan, PA) Philadelphia Nationals 1-0
1948 Simpkins-Ford S.C. (St. Louis) New York Brookhattan 3-2
1947 Ponta Delgada S.C. (Fall River, MA) Chicago Sparta A & BA 3-2
1946 Chicago Viking Fall river Ponta Delgada 2-1
1945 Brookhatten F.C. (New York) Cleveland Americans 2-1
1944 Brooklyn Hispano F.C. Pittsburgh Morgan-Strasser 4-0
1943 Brooklyn Hispano F.C. Pittsburgh Morgan-Strasser 3-2
1942 Gallatin S.C. (Gallatin, PA) Pawtucket FC 4-2
1941 Pawtucket F.C. (Pawtucket, RI) Detroit Chrysler 4-3
1940 Baltimore SC
Chicago Sparta A & BA
(co-champions) 2-2
1939 St. Mary's Celtic (Brooklyn, NY) Chicago Manhattan Beer 1-0
1938 Spata A. and B.A. (Chicago) Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic 4-2
1937 New York American F.C. St. Louis Shamrocks 4-1
1936 German-Americans (Philadelphia) St. Louis Shamrocks 3-1
1935 Central Breweries F.C. (St. Louis) Pawtucket Rangers  
1934 Stix, Baer and Fuller F.C. (St. Louis) Pawtucket Rangers  
1933 Stix, Baer and Fuller F.C. (St. Louis) New York Americans 2-1
1932 New Bedford F.C. (New Bedford, MA) Stix, Baer and Fuller F.C. (St. Louis) 5-2
1931 Fall River S.C. (Fall River, MA) Chicago Bricklayers 2-0
1930 Fall River S.C. (Fall River, MA) Cleveland Bruell Insurance 2-1
1929 Hakoah All Star F.C. (New York) St. Louis Madison Kennels 3-0
1928 New York National F.C. Chicago Bricklayers 3-0
1927 Fall River S.C. (Fall River, MA) Detroit Holley Carburetor 7-0
1926 Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) St. Louis Ben Millers 7-2
1925 Shawsheen F. C. (Andover, MA) Chicago Canadian Club 3-0
1924 Fall River S.C. (Fall River, MA) St. Louis Vesper Buick 4-2
1923 Paterson F.C. (Pateson, NJ)
St. Louis Scullin Steel
(co-champions) 2-2
1922 Scullen Steel F.C. (St. Louis) Brooklyn Todd Shipyards 3-2
1921 Robbins Dry Dock F.C. (Brooklyn, NY) St. Louis Scullin Steel 4-2
1920 Ben Miller F.C. (St. Louis, MO) Fore River 2-1
1919 Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) Paterson FC 2-0
1918 Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) Fall River Rovers 3-0
1917 Fall River Rovers (Fall River, MA) Bethlehem Steel 1-0
1916 Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) Fall River Rovers 1-0
1915 Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) Brooklyn Celtic 3-1
1914 Brooklyn Field Club Brooklyn Celtic 2-1

*Find more US Open Cup history at ussoccer.com and TheCup.us.

Stay connected: The official MLS app keeps you connected with the latest news, highlights, scores, standings, and analysis all for FREE. Download for iOS (Apple) or Download for Android