U.S. Soccer recently announced the "local 2018 U.S. Open Cup qualifying" draw with a record-high 108 amateur teams having entered local qualifying for the 2018 edition, smashing the previous record of 64 teams set last year (an increase in teams of 69% year-over-year). Even though the tournament does not begin until April 2018, nearly all of the 108 entrants will see action in the first qualifying round, set for September 23-24. The history-filled annual tournament, entering its 105th year, is perhaps the only high-profile competition in American team sports where amateur sides, should they advance far enough, have the opportunity to face professionals in meaningful competition.
Open Division Local Qualifying - as this portion of the competition is called - will be conducted on a single-game, knockout basis. Match-ups are determined geographically to minimize travel time and expense, with random selection used when practicable to determine exact pairings. Home teams are determined by coin flip. The pairings for the second (October 21-22) and third (November 18-19) qualifying rounds will be determined and announced after each preceding round of games has taken place. The survivors after three qualifying rounds will advance to the first round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup next spring.
The state of Massachusetts is boasting a state record of 8 local amateur teams entering qualification, 5 of which are affiliated with Mass Soccer (noted with *). GPS Omens competed in the 2017 competition and Southie FC qualified in 2016 -- both defeating semi-pro teams before falling to USL's Rochester Rhinos on the road. The 2018 local qualifying draw is below. Good luck to all participating Mass clubs!
First Qualifying Round - Results for Mass Soccer Teams
|Date||Game (home team listed first)||Score||Venue|
|Sept. 23||Safira FC over Unations||5-1||Burncoat High School; Worcester, Mass.First Qualifying Round
|Sept. 23||Kendall Wanderers over Boston Siege FC||5-2||Danehy Park; Cambridge, Mass.|
|Sept. 23||Mass United FC over Southie FC (PKs)||4-3||Medford High School; Medford, Mass.|
|Sept. 23||GPS Omens over Lynn United||8-3||Manning Stadium; Lynn, Mass.|