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Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 02/28/2011

MLS qualifying process for U.S. Open Cup

By Steve Goff

The U.S. Open Cup isn't exactly "open" to all MLS clubs. Only six received automatic berths, based on last year's league records, and will begin play in the third round June 28: Seattle Sounders, Los Angeles Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew. The others face an arduous qualifying process this spring to determine two additional entries. (Canadian clubs Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps aren't eligible.)

The pairings:

First stage
Philadelphia Union at D.C. United
Chivas USA at Portland Timbers

Second stage
New England at DCU-Philly winner
Chivas-Portland winner at San Jose
Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire
Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo

Third stage
Colorado-Chicago winner at Chivas-Port-SJ winner
DCU-Philly-NE winner at KC-Houston winner

MLS will conduct coin tosses today to determine the host clubs. Teams must then agree on a date.

UPDATE: D.C., Portland, San Jose, Chicago and Houston won the rights to host. The coin process also determined that the DCU-Philadelphia winner will play at home against New England in the second phase.

United's opening match will probably take place April 5 or 6 at Maryland SoccerPlex, a facility official said. United has not played an Open Cup qualifier or tournament match on the road since 2007. United and the Union have league road matches the weekend before their Open Cup meeting: DCU at Colorado on April 3, Philadelphia at Los Angeles on April 2.

By Steve Goff  | February 28, 2011; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS, U.S. Open Cup  | Tags:  MLS, U.S. Open Cup  
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Comments

Not only is the qualifying process arduous, so is the scheduling process.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 28, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say "Third Stage"?!

"I'm ready for more
The feelin' now that I'm beside you
We'll open the door
Do anything that we decide to
And I know that there's something that's just out of sight
And I feel like I'm finally seeing the light
Hold on girl I know it's right
I know it's right
We're ready!"

Boston, "We're Ready", Third Stage

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | February 28, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope they don't force season ticket holders to burn a "special event" ticket for these. What a waste of time.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 28, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall there was a new MLS directive around 2008 or so saying that matchups involving two MLS teams had to be played at the regular stadium (RFK) and not a smaller alternate venue (SoccerPlex). I think they should allow all play-in games to be played at smaller venues. It is a GREAT opportunity for the team to expand its brand geographically by taking a game like this to venues such as the University of Mary Washington in VA or UMBC in MD.

Posted by: Pedalada | February 28, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

...and we've won the Toss! Special game A!

"Woooooo" says Anne Hatheway!

Posted by: JkR- | February 28, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The SoccerPlex is available.

@Rand-al-Thor: Exit Stage Left > Third Stage

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 28, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@mbyrd -- would you rather see a friendly against some English Championship side?

Posted by: fischy | February 28, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Woooooo" says Anne Hathaway!

----------------------------------------------------

DC United wont the toss?

says Melissa Leo

Posted by: fischy | February 28, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

DC United wont the toss?

says Melissa Leo

*********************

Yes! And we elected to receive! Date and time TBD.


Anne Hathaway: "Woooooooooo....!"

Posted by: JkR- | February 28, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Game likely to be at the 'Plex, tweets Goff.


Anne Hathaway tweets: "Woo?"

Posted by: JkR- | February 28, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Anne Hathaway played Agent 99, Curious99's sister.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 28, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"The U.S. Open Cup isn't exactly 'open'"

The second-division NASL would agree. This year it's the US Closed Cup.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | February 28, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

#*$%@~& HTML ate my Melissa leo joke...

Posted by: fischy | February 28, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"The U.S. Open Cup isn't exactly 'open'"

The second-division NASL would definitely agree. This year, it's the US Closed Cup.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | February 28, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

SoccerPlex is a great venue for that game. As for the Anne Hatheway lines, I have no idea what you're talking about.

@I-270: yes, I'd take "Exit Stage Left" over "Third Stage" any day.

And... I'd take REM's "Murmur" over any of the rubbish produced by Dave Matthews Band.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | February 28, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Do we always call "Heads I win, tails you lose?" on these?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 28, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post, y'all -- the system was telling me I'd posted too often, when I hadn't posted a single thing today!

Posted by: SportzNut21 | February 28, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

NASL is as real as the Cosmos.

Posted by: Reignking | February 28, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

{Ann let loose with a 'Woooo...!" at approximately 90 second intervals in last night's Academy Award snoozefest. It was trending on Twitter for a while. One wag commented that she sounded like she was at a High School Assembly, and she was running for Student body president}


You will now return to your regularly scheduled Blog service....

Posted by: JkR- | February 28, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Opportunity to test that "depth". As much as I'd love to see a match at the Plex, I'm going to save my load for the DCU/Gals megafixture on the 9th of April. Reminds me, I need to put my ticket order in NOW!

Posted by: DadRyan | February 28, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Since Rand-al-Thor has no clue, I'll fill in.

Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew.

Dr Wu by Steely Dan, ca. 1975

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 28, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I used to be a big fan of the Open Cup, but I've come to realize that MLS will succeed by generating interest/attendance/TV ratings for its league games. And frankly, the Open Cup is a money-losing distraction that most teams would probably prefer to avoid. Since 1996, there have been countless emails/forum discussions about the potential for the Open Cup, and how great it could/should be, etc, etc... But except for a very few exceptions, Open Cup games are poorly attended, and the casual fans which fill the seats of most MLS venues don't have a clue about this tournament and could probably care less about its existence. As a season ticket holder, I can tell you that I'd MUCH rather my "special event" tickets be reserved for MLS playoff games rather than for Open Cup qualifiers, or at least be given the choice as to how those tickets are used.

Posted by: DaveTheRaver | February 28, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, the Plex is a great place to watch a game, just about any game.

Any there is at least a decent chance that Carlos Ruiz will pull a Blanco out there, which might be exciting.

Posted by: OWNTF | February 28, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

{Ann let loose with a 'Woooo...!" at approximately 90 second intervals in last night's Academy Award snoozefest. It was trending on Twitter for a while. One wag commented that she sounded like she was at a High School Assembly, and she was running for Student body president}


You will now return to your regularly scheduled Blog service....

Posted by: JkR- | February 28, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

====================================

How about James Franco last night. He matched her woooooo with his wow man party on dude schtick all night.

Play the reserve team in the Open Cup. Give them something to play for.

Posted by: blackandred777 | February 28, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Some here would like the USOC match to be held at the Naval Academy.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 28, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

19 days until United's first 2011 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | February 28, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE the US Open Cup but this qualifying process is RE-DIC. If the MLS is allotted 8 spots then base it on the standings from last year.

It's still open to any team...you just need to finish in the top 8!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 1, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

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