Starting at the Base
The qualification process for the prestigious Lamar Hunt US Open Cup can be quite a lengthy one at the lowest levels with many state associations holding tournaments as early as the fall. In the northeast, Region I of the USASA has narrowed the field from the various state competitions and entries, setting up the Regional Tournament schedule for April though Maryland and New Jersey have yet to crown winners. Maryland will crown its champion this weekend while the semifinals take place in New Jersey.
That Brings Us To… The 100th US Open Cup
It is a celebratory year with the nation's oldest tournament hitting the century mark. The boom in the tournament over recent years, thanks in part to the three-peat by the Seattle Sounders, has led to increased attention that has led to numerous reforms in the event last year and again this year. More teams are being included and over the course of two years the hosting rights have gone from completely determined by bids to completely random (coin flip).
Tournament success has also led to the event finishing in the black financially for the past two years, creating a scenario this year in which the US Soccer Federation has nearly doubled the prize pool from 180k to 355k.
For the most complete report on the format of this year's tournament, which will include the all of the MLS teams as well as regional PDL sides Seattle Sounders U23 and Portland Timbers U23, who finished as the top two sides in their division a year ago, check out TheCup.us.
The Top of the Pyramid... CONCACAF Champions League
The US Open Cup 2011 champion Seattle Sounders are still in action in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. They face Tigres of Liga MX, the top flight Mexican league, Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm PT on Fox Soccer in the quarterfinals. Tigres are leading Liga MX currently at 6-0-3 and have the best goal differential.
On Tuesday, the Houston Dynamo played host to Santos Laguna, a experienced CCL side from Mexico, and came away with a 1-0 lead heading into the road leg.
The schedule for the first leg contests also features Guatemala's Xelaju against Monterrey of Mexico Wednesday and wraps up Thursday with the Los Angeles Galaxy visiting Costa Rican side Herediano at 5:00 pm PT.
If you are new to the CCL, this is a nice little educational overview.
'Soccer with Breakfast' is a quick recap of interesting, underreported, or top soccer news items - sometimes accompanied by some commentary - to give readers in the Inland Northwest area (or beyond) a brief look around the North American news scene.