Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer cup competition in the United States and among the oldest in the world. Open to affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is a 96-year-old, single-elimination tournament based upon similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league competition.
The Galaxy have entered the competition every year since 1999, winning the Open Cup in 2001 and 2005, and reaching the final in 2002 and 2006.
Several current Galaxy players and coaches have won the Open Cup during their time in MLS.
In 2005, the Galaxy won their second Open Cup title, with Landon Donovan, Todd Dunivant and Josh Saunders all playing for the club that season. Donovan and Dunivant each started in the 2005 Open Cup Final win over FC Dallas. Forward Adam Cristman was a rookie with New England in 2007 when the Revs won.
Of the Galaxy’s coaches, Bruce Arena won the Open Cup in 1996 as the head coach of D.C. United, Dave Sarachan won two Open Cups as the head coach of the Chicago Fire, winning the competition in 2003 and 2006. Finally, Chris Klein then won his first Open Cup in 2004, helping the Kansas City Wizards win the trophy for the first time in club history.
Galaxy Open Cup History:
1999: In their first-ever foray to the Open Cup in 1999, the Galaxy won their inaugural game in the tournament, defeating the San Diego Flash 3-2 on a late Clint Mathis goal before seeing their Cup run ended by the Columbus Crew in the quarterfinals.
2000: The Galaxy would go one step further in the 2000 Open Cup, defeating Seattle, San Diego and San Jose before bowing out in the semifinals to Chicago.
2001: In 2001, the Galaxy would claim their first Open Cup title, doing so in dramatic fashion. After comfortable second and third round wins over the Nashville Metros and Seattle Sounders respectively, craziness ensued. A 1-1 draw after 120 minutes with San Jose saw the two sides’ quarterfinal matchup go to penalties. There, the Galaxy outlasted the Earthquakes 10-9 as Kevin Hartman saved San Jose’s 10th attempt after the two sides had converted 19 consecutive penalties, sending LA to the Semifinals for the second straight season and a rematch with the Chicago Fire. An Alexi Lalas extra time tally gave the Galaxy a 1-0 win over Chicago in the semifinals, booking LA a berth in its first-ever Open Cup Final. Just days after losing on a heartbreaking Golden Goal in the 2001 MLS Cup, it again looked as if a championship would elude the Galaxy. Facing New England in the Final, the Revolution’s Wolde Harris gave his team a 1-0 first half advantage. That lead would remain intact until the 70th minute when Ezra Hendrickson equalized, eventually sending the game to extra time. The Galaxy’s third straight extra time encounter would end in similar fashion to the first two, as Danny Califf headed home a Cobi Jones corner kick to give the Galaxy the Open Cup for the first time ever.
2002: One year later, wins over Minnesota, San Jose and Dallas put the defending Open Cup champions back in the Final where they would meet the Columbus Crew. The Open Cup Final was played just four days after LA had won its first MLS Cup Championship in New England, but there would not be a similar result this time as the Crew got a first half goal from Freddy Garcia and held on for a 1-0 win.
2003: A year later, the Galaxy made it back to the semifinals with wins over the Fresno Fuego and Seattle Sounders, but dreams of a berth in the Final were ended by a wild 3-2 loss to the eventual champion Chicago Fire at Cardinal Stadium.
2004: The Galaxy’s appearance in 2004 was short-lived, bowing out in their first game of the tournament, a 1-0 Fourth Round loss to the Minnesota Thunder, for the first time ever.
2005: The pain of the Galaxy’s early exit in 2004 carried over to 2005 and the club showed a determination to get back to the Open Cup Final for a third time. Steve Sampson’s team was able to do just that and won its second Open Cup championship, defeating FC Dallas 1-0 in the Open Cup Final at The Home Depot Center. Galaxy forward Herculez Gomez was the hero in the Final, driving home a spectacular first half scissor kick goal to give his team a 1-0 lead that goalkeeper Kevin Hartman would make stand up, giving LA the first piece in the eventual “Double”. On their way to the title match, the Galaxy exacted some revenge for their 2004 elimination, knocking off the Minnesota Thunder, 5-2 in the semifinals after edging San Jose, 2-1 in the quarterfinals and opening the tournament with a 5-2 victory over inter-city rival Chivas USA in the Fourth Round.
2006: The defending U.S. Open Cup champions began their defense of the 2005 title on Aug. 1, facing a USASA (adult amateur) team for the first time ever. Goals from Quavas Kirk and Alan Gordon saw the Galaxy end Roma FC’s Cinderella run, winning 2-0 at The Home Depot Center to advance to the quarterfinals. There, the Galaxy continued its quest to become the first repeat winner of the tournament since 1982-83, with a 3-1 overtime win over Colorado. After falling behind early in the match, Quavas Kirk tied the game late in the first half. The score stayed 1-1 until extra time where Landon Donovan provided the game-winner in the 93rd minute before putting the game away with a second goal five minutes from time for the final 3-1 scoreline. LA was able to advance to the Open Cup Final for the fourth time in five years, beating the Houston Dynamo 3-1 in the Semifinals. Landon Donovan and Alan Gordon each had a goal and an assist in the match, giving the Galaxy a berth in the Open Cup Final for the fourth time in club history.
However, the Galaxy were unable to repeat as champions as they fell 3-1 to the Chicago Fire at TOYOTA Park. The Galaxy were trying to match the Fire’s record for Open Cup titles by an MLS team with three, but Nate Jaqua and Andy Herron scored within six minutes of one another early on en route to the victory. Alan Gordon pulled a goal back for the Galaxy early in the second half to make a game of it. However, any thoughts of an LA comeback were ended in the 88th minute when Thiago assured a win and the Open Cup, for the home side with a late goal.
2007: As a result of not making the 2006 MLS Playoffs, the Galaxy had to win a pair of Play-In Games, defeating Columbus 1-0 on the road and edging New York 3-1 in extra time behind a sensational performance from goalkeeper Steve Cronin, to join seven other MLS clubs in the Third Round draw. There, the Galaxy were eliminated by USL Second Division side Richmond Kickers 1-0, marking just the second time in club history that the Galaxy had been knocked out of the Open Cup by a non-MLS side.
2008 & 2009: The Galaxy were forced to attempt to qualify for the tournament via a Play-In Game again in both 2008 and 2009, but were defeated by Colorado on each occasion.
2010: As a result of reaching MLS Cup last season, the Galaxy automatically entered the Open Cup in the Third Round and faced USL Division 2 Pro League team AC St. Louis. After defeating AC St. Louis 2-0 at The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy advanced to the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, playing the Seattle Sounders for the second time in one week. The Galaxy were eliminated from the tournament in the 2-0 loss to the Sounders at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
2011: The Galaxy entered the 2011 Open Cup tournament in the Third Round. The team faced local the USL Pro Division Los Angeles Blues at Titan Stadium on Tuesday, June 28 and advanced to the quarterfinals after a 2-1 win, with goals from Omar Gonzalez and Mike Magee. On July 13, the team traveled to Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. to face the Seattle Sounders FC in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals for the third time in eight days. The Galaxy were again eliminated from the tournament by the Sounders in a 3-1 loss.
Galaxy Open Cup History (summary)
1999 - Quarterfinal loss to Columbus Crew, 3-1, at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.
2000 - Semifinal loss to Chicago Fire, 2-1, at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.
2001 - Goals by Ezra Hendrickson and Cobi Jones lead the Galaxy to a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. in the Open Cup Final.
2002 - Loss in the final match to the Columbus Crew, 1-0, at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
2003 - Semifinal loss to Chicago Fire, 3-2, at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill.
2004 - Fourth Round loss to USL First Division team Minnesota Thunder, 1-0, at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.
2005 - Lone goal by Herculez Gomez gives the Galaxy the second Open Cup championship over FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center.
2006 - Loss in the final match to the Chicago Fire, 3-1, at TOYOTA PARK in Bridgeview, Ill.
2007 - Third Round loss to USL Second Division Richmond Kickers, 1-0, at University of Richmond Stadium, Richmond, Virginia.
2008 - First Round Play-In loss to the Colorado Rapids, 1-0, at The Home Depot Center.
2009 - First Round Play-In loss to the Colorado Rapids on PK's, 4-2 at The Home Depot Center.
2010 - Quarterfinal loss to Seattle Sounders, 2-0, at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
2011 - Quarterfinal loss to Seattle Sounders, 3-1, at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
U.S. Open Cup Facts:
- Since 2008, the winner of the tournament receives a berth in the following year's CONCACAF Champions League tournament
- Only once since MLS teams began entering the tournament in 1996 has an MLS team not won the tournament.