Atlanta United will take a break from its MLS schedule to host Charleston on Wednesday at Kennesaw State in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.
Neither the team nor U.S. Soccer has announced if it will be live-streamed. Tickets sales also haven’t been announced.
This will be Atlanta United’s first game in the tournament.
Because it is the team’s first chance to win a trophy, goalkeeper Alec Kann said they are taking it seriously.
Here are five questions about the U.S. Open Cup:
What is it? The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup describes itself as the “oldest ongoing soccer tournament in the U.S. and the third-longest running soccer tournament in the world.” The tournament was first played in 1914 with the finals held in Pawtucket, R.I. Brooklyn Field Club defeated Brooklyn Celtic, 2-1.
Why is Atlanta United playing Charleston? Atlanta United, an MLS team, is playing Charleston, a USL team, because the tournament field includes teams from all recognized divisions. It starts with teams from the lower divisions pitted against each other. MLS team enter the tournament in the fourth round. The tournament consists of eight rounds with the finals scheduled for Sept. 20.
Who is the current champion? Dallas. It defeated New England 4-2 in Frisco, Texas. MLS teams have won the Cup each year save for one since 1996. Chicago and Seattle have won it four times each. D.C. United and Sporting KC have won it three times each. L.A. Galaxy and Dallas have won it two times, and Columbus and New England have each won it once.
Why is it important to win? The Open Cup winner receives an automatic entry into the CONCACAF Champions League. It also wins $250,000.
Why are they playing it at Kennesaw State? There are examples of teams hosting their early round games in the tournament at smaller venues to accomodate smaller crowds. Seattle frequently does it, for example. Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank seats slightly less than 8,500. The stadium was actually built for soccer as the former home of the defunct Atlanta Beat.