For the first time in franchise history, FC Dallas will bring the United States’ best professional soccer to Fort Worth.
As a part of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, FC Dallas will host Oklahoma City Energy FC of the United Soccer League at 8 p.m. Tuesday at TCU’s Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.
Scheduled maintenance at FC Dallas’ home Toyota Stadium forced the team to look at other options in North Texas and TCU was quickly a top choice for the club, FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said.
“It’s a vibrant campus and things have gone tremendously well for TCU over the last several years,” Hunt said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase FC Dallas in front of the student community that is there and our fan base there. We’re excited about that opportunity.”
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The plan first began to take shape with FC Dallas in January when the bidding process for hosting U.S. Open Cup games began. The organization worked with TCU women’s soccer coach Eric Bell and TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte to make the idea become a reality.
“FC Dallas is a wonderful program in our region, but more importantly, soccer is always growing and anytime you have a chance to expand that fascination in Dallas-based soccer, why not?” Del Conte said. “We’re very fortunate to have a first-class facility and welcome them to the best city in Texas.”
FC Dallas (6-5-4, 22 points) takes a break from its MLS regular-season slate to take part in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest soccer tournament in the United States in its 102nd edition this year.
The tournament is open to all levels of American men’s professional soccer and even includes top-level amateur teams that qualified through tournaments beginning a year in advance.
“Anyone and everyone can enter the tournament, from PSL teams to different sorts of Cinderella stories,” FC Dallas goal keeper Chris Seitz said. “It’s kind of a tournament that brings all the soccer teams from around the country together to have a chance to raise a trophy. It’s unique in that aspect. It happens all over the world in soccer, but you don’t really see it in other sports.”
The tournament begins in the first round with amateur and lower-tier teams squaring off. Winners advance to face higher-level organizations.
Oklahoma City (7-2-3, 24 points in USL) won its third-round match 3-1 over the Tulsa Athletics of the National Premier Soccer League to face FC Dallas.
This will be FC Dallas’ first match in this year’s tournament.
While many MLS organizations might use this tournament as a time to give reserves a chance to start and rest starters for the league slate, it’s serious business for FC Dallas.
“Having my dad’s name on it has such a special place in all of our hearts here,” Dan Hunt said. “It’s something that we have a lot of pride in. We want to put the most competitive team on the field to win this Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.”
Last year, FC Dallas advanced to the semifinals, losing to the Philadelphia Union on penalty kicks. The Seattle Sounders FC went on to beat the Union in the finals 3-1 to claim the tournament crown.
Seitz, a California native, said he’s familiar with TCU for the success the school has seen on the American football field and is expecting a home-field advantage.
“Any time there are any sort of fans there, there’s a sense of atmosphere,” he said. “Our fans do a great job of creating that. We’re not expecting any different down in Fort Worth and we’re excited.”
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
FC Dallas (MLS) vs. Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL)
8 p.m. Tuesday, Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium, TCU
Tickets can be purchased at FCDallas.com