Friday, June 10, 2011

Charleston's Road to the Cup

Hopefully we'll be hearing this chant ringing throughout Chucktown in a couple of months:
Well granted that the Battery's chances of winning this year's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are a lot slimmer than that of two-time defending cup champion Seattle Sounders FC, but you never know. That's what makes this tournament so much fun.

I'll start off with a little bit of history.

A non-MLS side has not won the Cup since the Rochester Rhinos won it in 1999 over the Colorado Rapids. And since that match in 1999, only one non-MLS side has been to the final, and that's the Charleston Battery.
The Battery are arguably one of the USL clubs with the most storied career in the US Open Cup. The Battery have been to one final, where they finished off the tourny with a respectable 2-1 loss to DC United at RFK Stadium. Not including that final, the Battery have advanced to two semifinals (1999 and 2004). Charleston has made it to at least the Quarterfinals every year since 2007, so expectations should be high for the Battery.

The Battery have shown that they can be giant killers as well, knocking off an impressive 9 MLS teams in the 13 years since the MLS started entering the tournament in 1996.

In last year's edition of the annual tournament, the Battery advanced to the Quarterfinals after winning their first three matches of the tournament. They defeated USASA side CASL Elite, NASL club the Carolina Railhawks, and the Chicago Fire before going out to eventual runners-up, the Columbus Crew.

What are the Battery's chances like this year? Well just as good as any of the others.

Charleston will play Regals FC in the first round on June 14th at Blackbaud Stadium. This team comes from Southern Texas and is part of the Southern Premier Soccer League and the USASA. Assuming that the Battery defeat their USASA foe and that Orlando City takes care of ASC New Stars (Another South TX team), then the Battery will face City in a second round match up. So let's say that hypothetically the Battery win this match as well. Then the Battery would face one of the eight MLS teams that have qualified for the tournament. They are:
  • Chicago Fire

  • Columbus Crew

  • FC Dallas

  • Los Angeles Galaxy

  • New York Red Bulls

  • Real Salt Lake

  • Seattle Sounders FC

  • Sporting Kansas City

    After that, well its hard to tell. The goal for the Battery should be to get to the Round of 16, at least. This will require two wins. Seems simple enough, but we'll just have to wait and see.

  • Honestly, a lot of the MLS teams just don't take this tournament seriously, and that's a sad thing. Luckily, this allows many of the teams in the lower divisions to take advantage of the MLS teams not playing their best players or simply not playing as hard as they can.
    What's at stake? Well a bid in the CONCACAF Champions League, and the winner of that tournament gets a bid in the FIFA Club World Cup. It's far off, but the Battery have a chance to be the world champions. Okay well it's a long shot, actually the longest shot of all time, but we can dream can't we?
    Good luck to all the teams participating in this year's tournament, let's hope for an interesting competition.
    If you need to contact me, e-mail me at Also follow me on twitter!/scsoccerblog.

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