12/8/10 - The nation’s largest pro/am arena soccer tournament is once again underway. The United States Open Arena Soccer Championship has completed several qualifying tournaments across the country. The winners earned the right to face teams from the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro) and Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier).
The Springfield Demize will face Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro) local rivals Illinois Piasa Saturday at Lake Country Soccer, with kick off scheduled for 8:00PM. This will be the first ever United States Open Arena Soccer game hosted in Springfield, Missouri, with the Demize pre-qualifying for the Round of 16.
Any US team, pro or amateur can enter the US Open. Last year the San Diego Sockers defeated the Louisville Lightning, 11-7 to claim the trophy. In 2008/09, the St. Louis Illusion beat the Detroit Waza 8-3 in the final to win the first ever tournament. Like the outdoor Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the US Arena Open is conducted as an in-season tournament, separate from the league championships.
The Cincinnati Kings and the California Cougars have already progressed out of the round of 16, narrowing the selection down from the Cup’s original 49 qualifiers. This year’s first qualifying tournament was held in Evansville on October 9. The final qualifying tournament will be held this Saturday and Sunday in San Diego.
PASL-Premier teams have not generally fared well against PASL-Pro teams, but the Tacoma Stars (then of the PASL-Premier) advanced to the US Open Semifinals in 2008/09 and Vitesse Dallas made it to last year’s Semifinals. Not coincidentally those two teams are the last two PASL-Premier season champions. No independent team has yet advanced past the Round of 16.
Results for the qualifying rounds and the entire bracket can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010-11_United_States_Open_Cup_for_Arena_Soccer