The Tampa Bay Rowdies will face Jacksonville United of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in the second round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 22 at Patton Park in Jacksonville. Jacksonville United advanced to the second round with a 2-1 victory over the Orlando City U-23s on Tuesday night.
The winner of that second round match will advance to the third round to face a team from Major League Soccer on Tuesday, May 29, with the location and time of the game still to be determined.
Tampa Bay last participated in the Open Cup in 2010, winning a first-round match at Legends FC in Dallas, 3-0, on June 15 before losing at Miami FC, 2-1 in overtime, in the second round on June 22. Current Rowdies defender Takuya Yamada saw action for the Rowdies in the second round game at Lockhart Stadium.
The 99th edition of the U.S. Open Cup includes a 64-team field, which represents the largest in the modern era (1995 to present), eclipsing the previous record of 42 teams set in 2005 and 2006.
All Division I, II and III professional clubs are participating in the tournament proper for the first time ever. The Division I field includes all 16 U.S.-based Major League Soccer teams, which is double the representation from the past five years and the first time since 2006 that all Division I teams will take part. Meanwhile, all six U.S.-based North American Soccer League teams (Division II) and all 10 U.S.-based USL PRO teams (Division III) complete the balance of the 32 professional sides competing (also a modern record). This 2012 competition marks the first year that clubs representing the NASL will participate in America’s oldest national soccer tournament.
The amateur entries feature 32 teams from various leagues with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (including USASA regional qualifiers, the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League and the National Premier Soccer League) and US Club Soccer.
All 2012 U.S. Open Cup matches until the final are scheduled for Tuesdays, with the championship taking place on either Tuesday, Aug. 7, or Wednesday, Aug. 8. In the first round, 32 amateur-level sides are paired geographically, with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool (meaning USASA regional qualifiers, PDL and NPSL) cannot be paired. The first-round winners face Division II or Division III clubs in the second round based on geographic proximity. Second-round winners play Division I clubs in the third round, matched on a geographic basis.
The opening portion of the U.S. Open Cup schedule will occur in rapid fashion as the first four rounds take place in back-to-back weeks from May 15 to June 5. The quarterfinals are set for June 26, the semifinals for July 10, and the final for Aug. 7 or 8. The majority of the tournament will have only a minimal overlap with CONCACAF Champions League play.
2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule (Per Round)
May 15: First Round
May 22: Second Round
May 29: Third Round
June 5: Fourth Round
June 26: Quarterfinals
July 10: Semifinals
Aug. 7 or 8: Final