The Reading F.C. of England partner club, Ocean City Barons F.C., and their goalkeeper Tunde Ogunbiyi (pictured above) were the PDL team to make it the furthest in 2009's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winning $10,000 dollars.

Unlike the rest of the world where you usually qualify for the Europa Cup or UEFA Champions League based on winning or being near the top of your league the previous season. And unlike MLS teams who qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League based on how their perspective club places the previous season. In the PDL, whether or not you make the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup depends upon your form in the first four games of your season. That's right, the first four games! So, if you come out of the gates well and string together four wins you qualify for the U.S. Open Cup and if you trip up and lose one game out of the gates you lose out on a chance to win $10,000 to $100,000 bucks for your club.

This can be a big deal for any PDL club, as the PDL club that gets the furthest in the competition is guarenteed $10,000 dollars. Which can be the difference for some clubs between being in the green and being in the red come the end of the season. This is also a big deal for the Dayton Dutch Lions because what better way for our Dutch Lions to get their name out there from the get go, in the American soccer world, then to go toe-to-toe against some of the top Major League Soccer clubs. But, this different and entirely unique way of qualifying for PDL teams makes it crucial for the Dayton Dutch Lions (both their Dutch and American players) to get on the same page right away. Because usually only PDL teams with a 4-0 record or a 3-0-1 record in their first four games of the season get a spot in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. That's why the first four games are not just four regular season games, but almost a playoff with the other eight teams in your division for a spot in the U.S. Open Cup which has been contested since 1914 between all US Soccer clubs. The U.S. Open Cup was first won by historic clubs such as Bethlehem Steel and the Falls River Marksmen and was last won in 2009 by the Seattle Sounders of MLS.

Last year the eight PDL teams to get a spot were the Chicago Fire (PDL), the Kitsap Pumas, Mississippi Brilla, El Paso Patriots, Ocean City Barons, Orange County Blue Star, Reading Rage, and St. Louis Lions. There are eight divisions in the PDL so basically the eight teams at the top of their division after four games last season were handed a spot in the U.S. Open Cup. Out of these eight teams the Ocean City Barons went the furthest in 2009 by knocking off two USL-2 sides in Crystal Palace Baltimore and the Real Maryland Monarchs. As a result the Ocean City Barons were awarded $10,000 dollars for getting the farthest out of any PDL teams even though they lost to D.C. United in the third round (who eventually went on to be runner-ups to the Seattle Sounders and won $50,000). To take a look at the 2009 U.S. Open Cup bracket click here or on the image below:

For the Dayton Dutch Lions everything should be in place for them to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup as three of their first four games in the Great Lakes Division are at home. Further, three out of the first four teams they play (Cincinnati Kings, Cleveland Internationals, Indiana Invaders) all had losing records in the Great Lakes Division in 2009. The team they play with the best record in 2009, the Michigan Bucks, ended up with an 8-5-3 record which was good for fourth place in the Great Lakes Division in 2009. Therefore, the Dayton Dutch Lions May 22nd game away at the Michigan Bucks will likely be their toughest contest to ensure their spot in the U.S. Open Cup. However, if the Dayton Dutch Lions can get a positive result in that contest they should have a good chance of getting in and attempting to make an Ocean City Barons run in the U.S. Open Cup in 2010. The winner of the U.S. Open Cup in 2010 will also get an invite to the 2011 Concacaf Champions League.

So, what do you think the Dayton Dutch Lions chances are of making and advancing in this year's 2010 U.S. Open Cup, talk about it here.
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