Semifinal Doubleheader to Take Place Wednesday, July 27;
Orlando/Nashville Victor Wins First Priority to Host 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in September;
Last Quarterfinal Featuring Orlando City SC vs. Nashville SC Set for Wednesday, June 29 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
CHICAGO (June 24, 2022) – The Draw to determine the Semifinal hosts and hosting priority for the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final resulted in lone second-division side Sacramento Republic FC winning the right to host Sporting Kansas City (Division I MLS) in the West Semifinal, while the East Semifinal will see New York Red Bulls (Div. I) hosted by the winner of the last Quarterfinal to be played between Orlando City SC and Nashville SC (both Div. I). Both Semifinal matches will be played on July 27 on ESPN+.
Immediately after the Semifinal hosts were confirmed, the Draw to determine the hosting priority for the 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final was held. All four potential finalists were drawn at random to set the priority ranking. The Orlando/Nashville winner received first priority to host the September Final should one advance. Second priority went to Sporting KC, followed by the Red Bulls and, in fourth spot, Sacramento, which will not be eligible to host the Final. Full event details for the Final will be announced at a later date.
Orlando City hosts Nashville SC next Wednesday, June 29 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+) with the winner punching their ticket to complete the Semifinal field. This is the deepest run in the competition for Nashville since the team began play in the second division back in 2018. For Orlando City, this is the club’s fifth journey to the Quarterfinal round dating back to its Div. II days (2011-14). A win for Orlando would see the Purple Lions qualify for the Semifinal stage in consecutive Open Cups as the club also reached the final four in 2019, the last time the Open Cup was held in full due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the five teams still in contention, three have reached the Semifinal stage in prior editions of the Open Cup: Orlando City (2019), Red Bulls (1997, ‘98, 2000, ‘03, ‘17) and Sporting KC (2002, ‘04, ‘12, ‘15, ‘17). SKC is the lone club remaining to have claimed an Open Cup crown, last doing so in 2017 when they defeated the Red Bulls 2-1 thanks to a 66th-minute goal by Dániel Sallói – who became SKC’s all-time Open Cup goal-scoring leader with a brace against Union Omaha in this year’s Quarterfinal.
While a rematch of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Final is in the cards, first time Semifinalists Sacramento Republic (Div. II USL Championship) will have plenty of belief that they can become the first lower-division side to reach the Final after having beaten two Div. I (MLS) sides on a march to the final four. The Charleston Battery were the last lower-tier club to reach the Open Cup Final, having achieved that feat in 2008.
OPEN CUP QUEST TO DATE
The magic of the Open Cup continued in the Quarterfinals. With a 2-1 road cupset of the LA Galaxy, Sacramento Republic FC (Div. II USLC) became the first lower-division team to move on from the round since FC Cincinnati in 2017. Fellow lower-leaguers Union Omaha (Div. III USL League One) ran out of fairy dust as their Cinderella run was halted by Sporting Kansas City, while New York Red Bulls won a rough-and-tumble Hudson River Derby to advance as well.
Two cupsets were among the many highlights of the Round of 16. Chief among them was Div. III Union Omaha going on the road to knock out a second Div. I opponent in Minnesota United. The Owls claimed the prize as the Third Division team with the best run of results in the competition. Sacramento also scored a cupset against regional rival San Jose Earthquakes (Div. I), and west coast teams delivered more drama as LA Galaxy defeated Los Angeles FC in the first Open Cup ‘El Trafico’ derby. In sum, six MLS teams advanced from the round’s eight games, while USL Championship and USL League One each had one team reach the Quarterfinals.
The Round of 32 saw a massive step forward for the Open Cup when the 10 games of the second match-night were covered via a new whip-around show, the ‘Open Cup Goalcast,’ on the ESPN+ soccer program ‘Futbol Americas.’ Hosted by Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez, the live broadcast lasted more than six hours and delivered all the action, drama and highlights of the evening -- which included a last-gasp comeback by Nashville SC, who knocked out reigning Open Cup holders Atlanta United in extra-time. Overall, 13 clubs from Div. I (MLS), two from Div. II (USL Championship), and one from Div. III – USL League One’s Union Omaha, which claimed the $25k prize for being the third-tier side to advance farthest in the competition – earned a spot in the tournament’s final bracket.
In the Third Round, FC Motown earned the $25,000 award for being the amateur team to go farthest in the competition. The Morristown, N.J. club finished with two wins and a Third Round draw to claim the prize ahead of NC Fusion U23, who finished with two wins and a loss.
Clubs from professional Div. III leagues: USL League One and NISA, as well as Division II (USL Championship) did very well against the 16 Open Division (amateur) sides in the Second Round, winning 29 of 31 matches, but they were not immune from cupsets of their own as North Carolina Fusion U23 (USLL2) and FC Motown (NPSL) beat Div. III pro sides to advance the amateur clubs’ tournament credibility.
The 2022 U.S. Open Cup kicked off with the First Round back on March 22-23, with an even distribution of teams from various amateur leagues punching their ticket to the next stage. Teams from the Local Qualifying track advanced in five instances, while the same number of USL League Two clubs also earned the right to move on. The NPSL did one better when six of its teams qualified for the Second Round, which saw the introduction of pro teams.
About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
In its 107th edition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - U.S. Soccer's National Championship - has crowned a champion annually since 1914 (with the exception of 2020 & 21 due to COVID-19). The history-filled tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest continuously run national cup tournament.
The 2022 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League and have the club’s name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy – one of the oldest nationally-contested trophies in American team sports – now on permanent display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. The runner-up will earn $100,000, while the team that advances the farthest from each lower division takes home a $25,000 cash prize.