Less than a week after Sporting Kansas City secured the club’s fourth Open Cup trophy, the journey will begin all over again with local qualifying for the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicking off this weekend.
Locally, there will be eight amateur teams competing in the first round of what is known as Open Division Local Qualifying.
Junior Lone Star FC earned their first ever berth to the first round of the Open Cup last year through local qualifying, but lost their first round match on the road to Ocean City Nor’easters in May. They have two shots this weekend to keep the dream alive for 2018.
The Junior Lone Star senior team will take on rival West Chester United at 7:30 p.m. at the West Chester United Turf Field. Earlier, their U23 team will battle Salone FC at 4:30 p.m.
“It was a great experience making our first-ever U.S. Open Cup appearance in 2017 and we are looking forward to making it back in 2018,” Junior Lone Star president Paul Konneh said. “Saturday’s qualifier against fierce local rivals West Chester United is always an exciting match to watch and we can’t wait to play them again.”
Konneh said the club decided to enter the U23s in local qualifying to give them the experience many.
The U23s will take on a Salone FC team they recently met in the Battle of the East tournament in a game Lone Star won 2-1 to take home the trophy.
West Chester United missed out on the U.S. Open Cup last year after making it in 2016, where it defeated Fredericksburg FC on penalties in the first round before losing to Harrisburg City Islanders at home in the second round.
“Everybody’s goal is to make it to the U.S. Open Cup proper,” West Chester United head coach Blaise Santangelo said.
To get there in 2016, they had to beat Junior Lone Star and Salone FC.
Local qualifying will continue on Sunday with Phoenix SC taking on Upper Darby FC at the Phoenix Sports Club in Trevose, Pa. at 2:30 p.m. and Vereinigung Erzgebirge facing the United German Hungarians at the VE Clubhouse in Warminster, Pa.
The second qualifying round will be held Oct. 21-22, followed by a third qualifying round Nov. 18-19. The pairings for the second and third qualifying rounds will be determined and announced after each round.
There are a total of 52 games this weekend nationwide across four regions. A record 108 amateur teams are participating (four teams received first round byes), shattering the previous record of 64 set for last year’s competition.