I'm off to Sporting Park for what I hope is a boring and totally-not-dramatic match of soccer in the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup Tournament this evening. Tune in for the 7:30 Kansas City time live stream. The US Open Cup is the sort of thing that baffles non-soccer fans while also being one of the best things about soccer in America. The Open Cup can be absolutely bonkers, which is a ton of fun when it happens to someone else's team.
Any men's team in the US can enter the Open Cup. The tournament is over a hundred years old. It's a single elimination tournament kind of like the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Open Cup can have a similar degree of Madness to the Madness that happens in March.
Actually, the Open Cup can have a higher degree of Madness than the NCAA tournament, because the Open Cup is this extra thing that happens during the regular season. A team in MLS, the top league in US soccer, can easily overlook a team like tonight's opponent, St. Louis FC from the third level of US soccer. Heck, sometimes amateur teams make it through to beat MLS teams--that is truly bonkers.
MLS teams get a huge advantage, with a bye through until the Fourth Round (which is tonight's action). Still, MLS teams have a busy league schedule and injuries to deal with and players to rest, while these lower level teams have a chance of a lifetime. It's a recipe for an upset.
I hope that I don't witness an upset tonight, but I'll be keeping a close eye on the scoreboard for drama elsewhere.
PS: If you're already a big soccer fan, you may very well be saying, "that's just like the FA Cup in England!" Good for you, but if you know that the US Open Cup is the American equivalent to the FA Cup you also aren't likely to need some silly hillbilly blogger to explain to you how the thing works. If you don't know that the US Open Cup is the equivalent of the FA Cup, then making the comparison won't help you.
Go, Sporting, again!