Cross off another first for Austin FC. The club will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in April 2022.
For Austin fans new to the tourney, here’s the lowdown: it’s one of those wonderful and unique contests that pits professional, semi-professional, and amateur teams in the U.S. against each other in a single-elimination event. Over 100 clubs will contend for the Open Cup trophy in 2022.
Lower divisions compete in the early rounds to play against top-tier MLS clubs in the U.S. For example, right now I’m watching second round matchup Cal United Strikers vs. San Fernando Valley FC while typing this post.
If you’re a fan of soccer in this great country, how can you not like the underdog factor of this tourney? Anything can happen, on any given night.
Here’s some background on the Open Cup.
U.S. amateur and professional soccer from coast-to-coast welcomes back the Open Cup after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Before the stoppage, it was one of the longest-running soccer tournaments in the world.
While Austin FC is brand new to the tournament, its staff and players are not. Head coach Josh Wolff won the Open Cup three times as a player in 1998, 2000, and 2004. Assistant coach Davy Arnaud was a member of the Kansas City Wizards team which lifted the trophy. Austin FC forward Maxi Urruti won the Open Cup in 2016 with FC Dallas.
What does the winner of the tournament get
The Open Cup winner earns automatic entry to the 2023 Concacaf Champions League, $300,000 in prize money, and, of course, the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy.
Most importantly, it would be the first-ever piece of hardware in the trophy case for Austin if they were to win.
It easily ranks high among the club’s goals—along with earning an MLS Cup playoff berth. Add a 2023 Concacaf entry and a wad of cash to the winnings, and Verde fans should be on the edge of their seats hoping the club can win it all.
Austin FC’s opponent in the Open Cup
The club’s first adversary will be USL side San Antonio FC at Toyota Field. The match time is Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00 pm.
ATXFC enters the single-elimination knockout tournament in the 3rd Round of competition along with 16 other MLS clubs. If ATX wins their third-round match they would advance to the Round of 32.
How to watch the U.S. Open Cup
Open Cup Results
In its first-ever Open Cup appearance, Austin FC crashed out against San Antonio FC in the third round. It was one-and-done for the Verde after a 96th-minute goal from Carter Manley sealed the 2-1 defeat. Diego Fagundez wrote himself into Austin’s history books by scoring the club’s first Open Cup goal in the 47th minute.
Austin FC Open Cup lineup: Andrew Tarbell, Žan Kolmanič, Julio Cascante (Ruben Gabrielsen 64’), Kipp Keller (Jon Gallagher 72’), Hector Jimenez, Jhojan Valencia (Owen Wolff 106′), Felipe, Sebastián Driussi (Daniel Pereira 72’), Diego Fagundez, Ethan Finlay (Rodney Redes 91′), Danny Hoesen (Maxi Urruti 72’)