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A Short Primer on the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire)

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There's divided opinion among US fans of the beautiful game when it comes to the US Open Cup. A lot of people think that it is a prestigious trophy to be won and a competition that all MLS teams should strive to win at least once. I'm more of the mind that it is basically the Carling Cup of America and that pretty much any other trophy is more fun to win, but I digress. It still remains that the cup is the longest standing cup in the United States.

The cup has been around a staggering 97 years, being the most historical thing that the States can have claim to in the world of football. Every team in America from amateur teams to the top flight of MLS can join in - the MLS Canadian teams can't for obvious reasons - and through a system of play-in games and qualifiers eventually make the knockout portion of the tournament. A total of 62 teams have hoisted the cup in its long history including 8 MLS teams. The Seattle Sounders have won the previous two cups in a row, making them the second most prolific squad from the league tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy and DC United with two cups total.

Colorado has made the final of the competition once, in 1999 when they became the first MLS team ever to lose in the final to a lower tier club, the Rochester Raging Rhinos. (The Rapids still have this dubious 'honor' to this day.) The Rapids opponents - the Chicago Fire - are the most successful of all MLS Clubs in the competition, winning it a staggering four times since 1998 with their last cup championship coming in 2006.

Chicago and their fans will most likely be looking to fight for a fifth Open Cup this year with their chances for the other trophies available looking dismal while Colorado - historically a team that rarely gets past the quarterfinals of competition - may not field a top side for it. It won't be a shock to see Colorado not make the tournament for the fifth year in a row. Colorado won one of their qualifiers last year against the Kansas City Wizards Sporting Kansas City with the help of a brace from Wells Thompson.