Open Cup Primer 2009
|The 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup begins tonight for MLS teams, and I've updated the statistical leaders in many categories for the occasion. Eight qualifiers will take on eight lower league clubs in the next two days in what is always one of the most exciting parts of the season. The past two editions have seen only half the MLS teams (8/16) advance in this round.|
With only two home games this year, it could be another ugly year for MLS. However, there are only 5 USL-1 teams and several of them face tough matchups (I can't imagine the Sounders going easy on Portland, for example). Traditionally, the trio of Charleston/Minnesota/Rochester are the toughest on MLS teams. On the other hand, CHI/DC/NE should have no problem with teams two and three divisons below them. See below for a list of lower-league wins over MLS teams.
And remember, a place in the CONCACAF Champions League is on the line! Teams like Kansas City and Seattle would be smart to put some emphasis on this tournament. BTW, those two teams will meet if they both win (potential quarterfinal matchups).
Don't forget to check out the history of MLS & Penalty Shootouts, with a detailed list of every single player's scoring rate. That will certainly be a factor.
And now, before you check out the huge list of statistics below regarding MLS teams in the competition since 1996, I want to mention two important things. First of all, player stats include only those while playing for MLS teams. If someone played in the Open Cup for a minor league team, I'm not including those stats here. I also need to point out that Open Cup qualifying games are not part of the tournament proper, and any results/stats from those games are not included here.
Be sure to check out usopencup.com for their great coverage of the tournament as a whole.
Oh, I almost forgot one very important stat: FC Dallas will not play in the Open Cup this season. They were the only MLS team to participate every single season since the league's inception.
Records - Overall
DC jumped up to 2nd from 4th last year on their way to a perfect (4-0) championship run.
Records - vs MLS only
Only two all MLS matchups took place last season: DC beating CHI and NE in the quarters and semis respectively.
4-Chicago (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006)
2-D.C. United (1996, 2008)
2-Los Angeles (2001, 2005)
1-Kansas City (2004)
1-New England (2007)
0-Chivas USA (round of 16: 2005, 2007, 2008)
0-Colorado (runners up: 1999)
0-Houston (semifinals: 2006)
0-Miami (runners up: 2000)
0-New York (runners up: 2003)
0-Real Salt Lake (round of 16: 2006)
0-San Jose (semifinals: 2004)
0-Tampa Bay (quarterfinals: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999)
Most Goals - Overall
(italics = active MLS player)
Twellman is the only newcomer to the top ten; he scored once last season to jump into a tie for 7th.
Most Goals - Single Season
Top MLS scorer by year:
(bold = also won or tied for the overall golden boot)
Nobody has scored more than 6 goals in a single cup since the "professional era" started in 1995. Three minor league players have also scored 6: Marquis White in 1997, Mugurel Dmitru in 1999, and Melvin Tarley in 2005.
Most Games Played
Jim Curtin (19) and Steve Ralston (18) are next in line among active players.
Most Regular Season Games Played Without Playing in the Open Cup
Only Schelotto has a chance to get off this list in 2009.
Best Strike Rate
(goals per game, min 10 games played)
Finally eligible, Twellman takes the top spot from Ruiz. Thompson's brace last season pushes Landon Donovan and Ante Razov out of the top ten.
4-Welton, MIA vs New Jersey (2000)
4-Josh Wolff, CHI vs Dallas (2000)
3-Bobby Rhine, DAL vs Jacksonville (1999)
3-Raul Diaz Arce, DC @ Charlston (2000)
3-Abdul Thompson Conteh, DC vs New Jersey (2001)
3-Carlos Ruiz, LA @ Seattle (2003)
3-Jason Kreis, RSL @ Minnesota (2005)
3-Kenny Cooper, DAL @ Charleston (2006)
Top Coaches by PPG
(minimum 10 games)
Only a total of 15 coaches have 10+ games in the tournament. Of those 15, the only one with a losing record is Tim Hankinson (4-7-1).
Biggest Margin Of Victory
8:0-DC vs New Jersey (2001)
7:1-NE vs Mid-Michigan (2001)
6:0-SJ @ Central Coast (2001)
6:1-MIA vs New Jersey (2000)
6:1-KC vs Des Moines (2006)
5:0-SJ @ Stanislaus Utd (2000)
5:0-LA vs Nashville (2001)
Longest Unbeaten Streaks
Chicago's streaks both consisted of nothing but wins, as does the second LA streak.
Longest Winless Streak
At least they advanced once after a draw. Can be matched by Chivas tonight.
Wins By Lower League Teams Over MLS
(shootouts are counted as draws)
7-Rochester Raging Rhinos (1996-TB, COL; 1999-CHI, DAL, *CLB, *COL; 2005-NY)
5-Charleston Battery (1999-DC; 2000-NY; 2004-NY, 2007-HOU, 2008-DAL)
4-Minnesota Thunder (2004-LA, 2005-RSL, COL, KC)
4-Seattle Sounders (2003-SJ, 2007-CHV, COL, 2008-CHV)
2-Richmond Kickers (2000-COL; 2004-DC)
1-Carolina Railhawks (2007-CHI)
1-Connecticut Wolves (2001-TB)
1-Long Island Rough Riders (1997-NE)
1-Milwaukee Rampage (2002-CHI)
1-Nashville Metros (1998-KC)
1-Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2001-COL)
1-Staten Island Vipers (1999-NY)
2-San Francisco Bay Seals (1997-KC, SJ)
1-Chicago Stingers (1997-COL)
1-Crystal Palace Baltimore (2008-NY)
1-Harrisburg City Islanders (2007-DC)
1-Richmond Kickers (2007-LA)
1-Wilmington Hammerhaeads (2003-DAL)
1-Mid-Michigan Bucks (2000-NE)
1-Seattle Sounders Select (2001-DAL)
Bold signifies an MLS home game. * signifies a neutral venue. Overall, MLS teams are 98-38-15 against lower league competition. That is 2.05 points per game, or the equivalent of 61 points in a 30 game season.