Colorado Rapids to Enter US Open Cup America's Oldest Sports Tournament on August 3

CHICAGO IL (Colorado Rapids Media Relations) - U.S. Soccer today announced that a total of 42 teams - 26 professional and 16 amateur - will compete in the 2005 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June.

The U.S. Open Cup which is recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Championship is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer and is the oldest and most storied sporting tournament of any kind in America.

The Colorado Rapids will begin their march towards their first U.S. Open Cup title when they take part in a fourth round match to be contested on Wednesday August 3rd.

(To view the Rapids schedule for the 2005 US Open Cup which will also be updated as the opponents and locations are announced click here).

The Rapids have reached the US Open Cup Championship match once in 1999 for the first time in team history. However the Rapids fell just short of winning their first championship trophy as the team was upset by the Rochester Raging Rhinos in the Final by the score of 2-0.

The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament with drawn games being decided by two 15-minute overtime halves. If neither team scores during the two overtime halves the winner is decided on penalty kicks. The team that advances the furthest from each level except Division I earns a $10000 cash prize. The runner-up takes home $50000 while the champion collects $100000.

The winner also will have the team's name engraved on the historic Dewar Cup the oldest trophy in any American team sport which is housed in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta N.Y.

After 40 teams participated in the tournament in 2004 two expansion Major League Soccer teams have been added to the fray in 2005 bringing the total number of teams to its highest level since MLS began participating in the event in 1996.

Within the U.S. Open Cup framework teams compete in one of the following four categories: professional outdoor Division I (Major League Soccer 12 teams in 2005 tournament) Division II (USL First Division eight teams) or Division III (USL Second Division six teams); or Amateur Division (USL Premier Development League & U.S. Adult Soccer Association eight teams each).

With the addition of the two expansion Division I teams - CD Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake - a qualifying round has been created that will be completed prior to the first round. Qualifying will be completed by May 30 with the pairings announcement expected to follow on June 1.

The Chicago Fire FC Dallas CD Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake will enter the tournament alongside four USL First Division sides in the third round on July 13 while the Colorado Rapids and the remaining seven MLS teams will begin play in the fourth round on Aug. 3. The semifinals will be played Sept. 14 with the final being played on Sept. 28.

2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Qualifying Concludes: May 30 (Qualifying completed Memorial Day weekend)
Pairings Announcement: June 1
Qualifying Round: June 8 (2 PDL vs. 2 USASA Regional Qualifiers)
First Round: June 15 (2 Qualifying Round Winners 6 PDL 6 USASA Regional Qualifiers 2 USL Second Division)
Second Round: June 29 (First Round winners vs. 4 USL Second Division 4 USL First Division)
Third Round: July 13 (Second Round winners vs. 4 USL First Division 4 MLS)
Fourth Round: Aug. 3 (Third Round winners vs. Rapids and 7 other MLS)
Quarterfinals: Aug. 24 (Fourth Round winners)
Semifinals: Sept. 14 (Quarterfinal winners)
Final: Sept. 28 (Semifinal winners)

Composition of participating teams:
12 Major League Soccer
8 United Soccer Leagues First Division
6 United Soccer Leagues Second Division
16 Amateur (8 USL Premier Development League 8 USASA regional qualifiers)
Total Number of Teams: 42
Total Number of Games: 41