A year after falling 3-1 at home in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup Final, the Philadelphia Union are back in the championship with #UnfinishedBusiness.
Standing in their way is a Sporting Kansas City side making the team's second trip to the U.S. Open Cup Final in four seasons.
In 26 days, a new U.S. Open Cup champion will be crowned at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. But in the build-up to the finale, Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union have already built impressive U.S. Open Cup resumes.
Since 2012, Sporting Kansas City has the most U.S. Open Cup wins of any team in American soccer. Next on the list? The Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire, who met in the semifinal round last month, followed by a Seattle Sounders FC squad that has cemented its status as a perennial power with four titles (2009-2011, 2014) and a runners-up finish (2012) in the past seven tournaments.
MOST U.S. OPEN CUP WINS (2012-2015)
Sporting Kansas City, 10-2-1 (.808)
Philadelphia Union, 9-3-3 (.700)
Chicago Fire, 9-4-0 (.692)
Seattle Sounders FC, 8-2-2 (.750)
“Make no mistake. We won this trophy in 2012 and we covet it. We take it very seriously,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes told USSoccer.com.
“We know our season has not been the best,” Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin said prior to their semifinal victory. “I’m a realist and I’m not happy with where it’s at and how it’s gone this year. We do have this competition to salvage it, and if you go back and look, and if we are able to get to the final and win it, it’s been a heck of a run for our group.”
The continued commitment to the U.S. Open Cup -- and its resulting on-field success in a single-elimination format that leaves little margin for error -- has each team on the cusp of reaping its rewards.
To the winner: a $250,000 grand prize, a berth in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League and the Dewar Challenge Trophy.
To the loser: a $60,000 consolation sum, runners-up medals and a 32-week wait until the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicks off on May 11th.