The 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup schedule was released Thursday and the greater Chicago area has two teams entering in the early rounds.
The U.S. Open Cup remains one of my favorite tournaments of the year among all soccer competitions. Yes, even including the mighty UEFA Champions League or the exciting MLS Playoffs, the Open Cup still finds room to hold a special place in my heart.
The 2014 field is the largest ever with 80 teams – an increase from the 68 in last year's tournament.
There is something about watching these lower level teams with guys who are truly playing for the love of the game go out there and give it their best shot. This is their Super Bowl and you can tell.
I don't know much about either team, but apparently this is the first time Schwaben AC has been in the tournament since 1964. They get a home game against USL side Dayton Dutch Lions. It may be too tough a task for the Schwaben AC side, but that's why this tournament is beautiful. The possibility for an upset is always there.
The game is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. at the Schwaben Athletic Club in Buffalo Grove.
While the club with German roots enjoys a home contest, the Croatian influenced RWB Adria will be headed to Michigan to play NPSL side Detroit City FC on Wednesday, May 7. Adria made the tournament last year and almost pulled off a monumental upset in Pittsburgh when they pushed USL side Pittsburgh Riverhounds to the brink, losing 5-4 in penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw.
I wish both teams plenty of luck in the tournament now that their opponents and venues are known. I am going to do all I can to make it out to Buffalo Grove May 14.
The Chicago Fire, a.k.a Kings of the Cup, will enter the field with the other American-based MLS clubs in the fourth round on the week of June 10. D.C. United are your reigning, defending champions of the Open Cup. It still boggles my mind.