Everything you wanted to know...
... about the U.S. Open Cup.
Though United has already won two play-in games, the team's official defense of last year's U.S. Open Cup title begins tomorrow night at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD (7:30 p.m. ET). The match-up is an especially intriguing one as the Black-and-Red will face off against the Ocean City Barons - a Premier Development League team, which is made up entirely of amateur players (read: they don't get paid).
And now, a whole bunch of tidbits and notes about the tournament, United's Open Cup history and the Barons:
- After winning last year's edition of the Open Cup, D.C. will need to win four games in order to repeat. Should the team advance, it would face the winner of the Harrisburg City Islanders vs. the New England Revolution (who also play Tuesday night) next Tuesday, July 7 at the SoccerPlex.
- The main change to this year's tournament is the reduction of substitutions allowed in a game, from four (4) to three (3).
- 40 total teams will compete in this year's tournament - eight USASA, eight PDL, eight USL-2, eight USL-1 and eight MLS. As in past years, all MLS teams officially enter the tournament in the third round, while other teams had to win two games to get this point in the competition.
- The Open Cup winner receives $100,000 in prize money, while the runner-up collects $50,000. The last standing Division II (USL-1), Division III (USL-2) and amatuer (PDL, USASA) clubs receive $10,000 - a sum the Barons have already wrapped up by virture of advancing to the third round.
- The 2009 U.S. Open Cup final will be played on Wednesday, September 2.
- Including this year's play-in games, United is 23-9 (32 games) all-time in Open Cup play. The team has won the tournament twice, during its inaugural season in 1996 and again last year. It was the runner-up in 1997, falling to the Dallas Burn on penalties.
- In this year's two games, Chris Pontius has two goals and two assists in 153 minutes, while Brandon Barklage has two goals in 180 minutes. Fred has also seen success - two goals an an assist in in 119 minutes - but he will be unavailable due to injury.
- Not surprisingly, Jaime Moreno has the most Open Cup goals (11) and assists (9) in club history.
- The Ocean City Barons are currently in third place in the Northeast Division of PDL, with a record of 6-3-1. They have outscored their opponents 18-8.
- The Ocean City Barons were founded in 1996 and have competed in the fourth tier of American soccer (the USL Premier Development League) since 2003.
- Their Open Cup run to the final 16 equals their previous best finish, which came in 2005.
- Three busloads of Ocean City supporters are making the trip from New Jersey to Boyds, MD, where the game will be contested at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
- From their home venue of Carey Stadium, where a nearby Ferris wheel looms over the playing surface, the Barons have produced a number of professional players, including AGF Aarhus midfielder Jeremiah White. The 27-year-old with one U.S. National Team cap to his name currently plays with Aarhus in the Danish Superliga, where he is teammates with fellow U.S. international Benny Feilhaber.
- Average age of the Barons' roster is a little less than 21 years old.
- Byron Carmichael is tied for third all-time with 10 goals scored in the Professional Era of the U.S. Open Cup. He is tied with former MLS player Dante Washington and current Seattle Sounder Sebastien Le Toux. He only trails Jamie Moreno (11) and Rochester's Johnny Menyonger (12).
- Carmichael has faced D.C. United before as a member of the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2003. He started and played 54 minutes in United's 1-0 win over the Hammerheads, who had defeated the Dallas Burn 4-1 in the previous round (thanks to Carmichael's two assists).
- Carmichael is the club's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals, 19 assists (107 points) in 80 regular season games.
- Defender Joe Banks and Forward Byron Carmichael are both in their 6th season with the club. Both are coaches in the Barons youth academy and both broke the club record for minutes played in a career on the same day, finishing with the same number of minutes at the end of the game.
- After Saturday's game, Banks leads Carmichael by six minutes with 5,813 minutes played. Ocean City is 7-4-0 in Open Cup play (5-2 home, 2-2 away) and has qualified for the tournament five times in franchise history (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009). They have qualified four times in the last six years. None of the 68 teams in the PDL have qualified that many times during that span.
- With back-to-back upsets of professional clubs in this year's tournament, they are one of six franchises to ever accomplish that feat.
- Since joining the PDL in 2003, the Barons have amassed a record of 64-24-22 (214 points), which is the 4th best record in the PDL during that time. Since joining the PDL in 2003, the Barons have the 3rd best home record (37-9-9) and hold the record for the longest PDL home unbeaten streak (28 games, 23-0-5 ... from 6/14/03 - 7/12/06 -- it was snapped by the Ottawa Fury by a score of 2-1 on 7/16/06)
- The Barons have won a number of awards from the USL: 2005 USL Progress Award, 2006 USL Hall of Fame Inductee (10+ club), 2007 PDL Executive of the Year, 2007 PDL Communications Award 2008, PDL Organization of the Year.
- The Barons have produced 16 professional players, including Jeremiah White (AGF Aarhus - Danish Superliga) who became the first Baron to earn a cap for the U.S. National Team last year. Some of the active pros include: Tony Donatelli (Montreal Impact), Ryan Heins (Rochester Rhinos), Jamie Franks (Chivas USA), Pat Hannigan (Miami FC), Chris Williams (Miami FC) and Brian Devlin (Harrisburg City Islanders). New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero played for the Barons briefly in 2006, playing in only one game and earning a shutout in a scoreless draw at the West Virginia Chaos on 5/19/06.
- Tunde Ogunbiyi and his older brother Jide were a part of the (Silver medal-winning) Nigerian Olympic team training camp. Both failed to make the final roster, but considering Tunde, outside of the PDL, hasn't played a competitive game since high school (0 games played in two years of college at the University of New Hampshire), it's an impressive feat. Tunde is currently attending Boston College. His older brother Jide was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the 2009 MLS Superdraft, but has not yet signed with a club.
- J.T. Noone joins the Barons as the first Division I All-American to ever suit up for the club. He became the first Temple Owl to be named an All-American in 22 years. He also continues a streak of seven consecutive seasons where the Barons have had at least one member of the Temple University program on the roster.
- Noone has two goals and two assists in 10 games played this year, including a pair of goals in Open Cup play. He scored the third goal in the team's 3-0 win over Crystal Palace Baltimore, and scored the game-winning penalty kick in extra time against Real Maryland in the Second Round.
- Head Coach/General Manager Neil Holloway and Assistant Coach John Thompson were teammates with the Barons from 2002-06. They helped lead the team to their greatest season in 2004 when they completed a rare undefeated PDL season (14-0-4). Thompson was named the 2004 PDL Defender of the Year and joined Holloway on the All-PDL team. Thompson was also an All-PDL selection in 2005.
- Thompson and Holloway met as opponents on the playing field when Thompson led Lewis University to a victory over Holloway's undefeated Wheeling Jesuit University in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II tournament.
What are we missing?
(Thanks to Josh Hakala of usopencup.com for providing some of the Barons notes!)