Coin Flips: How the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw was done

Play-by-play of the fourth round U.S. Open Cup draw process

CHICAGO, Ill. -- After a lot of great feedback from last week’s article explaining the third round U.S. Open Cup draw, U.S. Soccer invited me back once again to serve as a witness for Wednesday morning’s fourth round draw.

Unlike last week, two members of U.S. Soccer’s Communications staff as well as a representative from the United States Adult Soccer Association were present with Competition Secretary Paul Marstaller and Assistant Amy Prestinario for the proceedings.

With less teams and thus fewer variables at play, today’s draw was a bit more straight forward and regional compared to last week’s. In fact, the fourth round draw didn’t utilize envelopes or slips of paper, just as much geographic sense as possible and the bicentennial silver dollar.

The draw was broken down into three stages with Marstaller working from an initial map of all the third round matchups.

READ: Klopas praises Charlotte Eagles move to Grass Field for 3rd Round of USOC

With all U-23 teams that are affiliates of MLS sides eliminated in the third round, the only matchup that couldn’t happen was the Reading United AC vs. Philadelphia Union again because of the team's shared employement of coach Brendan Burke.

From the initial map, Marstaller identified four obvious geographic fourth round pairings and placed them in a grouping. Those were…

Heads Tails
New England Revolution/Rochester Rhinos winner* New York Red Bulls/Reading United winner
D.C. United/Richmond Kickers winner* Philadelphia Union/Ocean City Nor’easters winner
Chicago Fire/Charlotte Eagles winner* Dayton Dutch Lions/Columbus Crew winner
Chivas USA/LA Blues winner LA Galaxy/Carolina RailHawks winner*

From those matchups, coin flips were done to decide hosting rights with the pairings on the left being assigned heads and those on the right being assigned tails. Teams that applied to host fourth round matches are in bold while the matchups that won their coin flips are starred.

You’ll notice also that Dayton Dutch Lions are italicized. That’s because though the club applied to host, their home stadium is deemed too narrow to host a fourth round match. However, should they and Charlotte Eagles emerge victorious next week, Dayton will host the match by default as Charlotte did not apply to do so.

With those flips decided, Marstaller pulled out a second map, removing the four previous groupings in order to provide a clearer view of the semi-obvious regional matchups. From there, two more pairings were decided.

Again, below you’ll find the teams that applied to host the fourth round matches bolded and the pairing that won the coin flip starred (heads on the left, tails on the right).

Heads Tails
FC Dallas/Fort Lauderdale Strikers winner* Houston Dynamo/FC Tucson winner
Sporting KC/Des Moines Menace winner* Colorado Rapids/Orlando City winner

In this case, because teams on the winning side of the coin didn’t apply to host, different scenarios would take place. Most notably, should the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and FC Tucson emerge victorious, the host site was listed as TBD and would be worked out by U.S. Soccer between the two clubs, presumably utilizing a bid system.

READ: How the USOC Third Round Draw Happened

In another instance, should Des Moines upset Sporting KC, the Colorado/Orlando City winner wins hosting rights by default, because Des Moines didn’t apply.

With those flips done, Marstaller pulled out a third map with the remaining four pairings listed. This of course was the least geographic of the three maps but care was again given to make the matchups as regionally convenient as possible. Those were…

Heads Tails
Seattle Sounders FC/Tampa Bay Rowdies* winner Portland Timbers/Wilmington Hammerheads winner
Real Salt Lake/Atlanta Silverbacks* winner San Jose Earthquakes/Charleston Battery winner

The coin flip winners are again starred.

Like in the case of FC Tucson/Fort Lauderdale, the hosting rights for a potential Tampa Bay/Wilmington matchup are To Be Determined as neither team applied to host the fourth round.

And that was that.

As I said, the process was much clearer than last week with less match-ups involved.

Again, thanks to U.S. Soccer for allowing me to detail the fourth round draw. For a cleaner version of the fourth round draw matchups, click here.