This news in today from the club:
The Sounders FC U-23s are one of 16 Premier Development League (PDL) teams to qualify for the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, it was announced today by United Soccer Leagues. The Sounders U-23s will compete in their first U.S. Open Cup and begin play in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, May 14.
The Sounders U-23 qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open Cup based upon their finish in the 2012 regular season as the top team of the Western Conference’s Northwest Division. Four teams from each of the PDL’s four conferences will enter the tournament.
Four teams from each of the PDL’s four conferences will compete for the cup in the first round, with the Michigan Bucks leading the way from the Central Conference. The Bucks made another strong run in the 2012 tournament, upsetting USL PRO’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire on their way to the fourth round. They will be joined by the River City Rovers, who make their first appearance in the tournament, the Real Colorado Foxes and the Des Moines Menace from the Central Conference.
2012 PDL Finalist the Carolina Dynamo lead the representatives from the Eastern Conference, making their third consecutive appearance in the tournament. They are joined by both the Ocean City Nor’easters and Reading United from the Mid Atlantic Division, and the GPS Portland Phoenix from the Northeast Division, with United and the Phoenix making return appearances and the Nor’easters earning a berth for the first time since 2009.
Orlando City U23 makes a fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament, leading the contingent from the Southern Conference, which also sees the Laredo Heat return for a second consecutive season. They are joined by the Ocala Stampede, which won the Southeast Division in its first season in the PDL, and the Austin Aztex, who make their return to the competition after an outstanding first season back in action in 2012.
The Ventura County Fusion, who upset USL PRO’s LA Blues a season ago, make their fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament to lead the contingent from the Western Conference, and they are joined by first-time entrant FC Tucson, which will try to build on a standout inaugural season this year. Two MLS affiliates completed the lineup out west, with the Sounders FC U23 and Portland Timbers U-23s both earning berths from the competitive Northwest Division, the Timbers U-23s making their second consecutive appearance in the tournament.
The First Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has been set for Tuesday, May 14, with the second and third rounds occurring the following two weeks on Tuesday, May 21 and Tuesday, May 28. In an increase from 2012, the 2013 U.S. Open Cup champion will a $250,000 cash prize, while the runner-up will collect $60,000. The top Division II, Division III and amateur clubs will each receive a $15,000 prize.
PDL 2013 U.S. Open Cup Participants
Eastern Conference: Carolina Dynamo, GPS Portland Phoenix, Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United
Southern Conference: Austin Aztex, Laredo Heat, Ocala Stampede, Orlando City U23
Central Conference: Des Moines Menace, Michigan Bucks, Real Colorado Foxes, River City Rovers
Western Conference: FC Tucson, Portland Timbers U-23s, Sounders FC U23, Ventura County Fusion.