Sporting Kansas City will begin their defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the fourth round of the 2016 tournament, traveling to face the winner between Saint Louis FC (USL) and Minnesota United FC (NASL) on June 15.
U.S. Soccer today announced all potential fourth round matchups, which will see the 17 MLS clubs based in the United States enter the competition in the round of 32. Saint Louis FC and Minnesota United FC will square off in the third round on June 1 at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Missouri, with the winner advancing to host title-holders Sporting Kansas City.
Away ticket information for the match will be provided in the coming days.
Saint Louis FC entered the United Soccer League as an expansion team in 2015, going 8-11-9 and finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference. Sporting Kansas City began its Open Cup title run last year by defeating Saint Louis FC 1-0 in the fourth round at Children's Mercy Park, the club's first-ever competitive match against a team from St. Louis. The USL outfit has started 2016 with a 3-3-2 record, including a 1-0-1 home mark at 5,280-seat World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
Minnesota United FC sits atop the NASL standings through Week 7, starting 4-1-1 overall and a perfect 3-0-0 at the 10,000-seat National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota. Sporting Kansas City beat Minnesota United FC 2-0 in the fourth round of the 2014 Open Cup. The Loons won the 2011 NASL championship and claimed the 2014 North American Supporters' Trophy with the most regular season points.
Following games on June 15, the fourth round winners will be placed in a fixed, 16-team bracket and divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four. A random draw on June 16 will then determine the fifth round pairings within each group.
2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Fourth Round June 15
Fifth Round June 29
Quarterfinals July 20
Semifinals Aug. 10
Final Sept. 21
Sporting Kansas City enters the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as reigning champions of the tournament. Manager Peter Vermes’ side defeated the Philadelphia Union in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw through regulation to win the 2015 final on Sept. 30, effectively clinching a berth in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
The 2016 tournament began with 91 teams, making it the largest field during the modern era (1995-present). Eighteen USL clubs entered the competition in Wednesday's second round, which saw 21 teams advance to join nine NASL sides in the third round on June 1. This year’s winner will earn $250,000 and a spot in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has been held annually since 1914 and is open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The knockout-style tournament is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and the world’s third-longest running open soccer tournament.
Sporting Kansas City is a three-time champion of the tournament — having lifted the Dewar Challenge Trophy on home soil in 2004 and 2012 — third-most among MLS clubs behind Seattle Sounders FC and the Chicago Fire (four each).