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Open Cup here we come!

Barons headed to the tourney after Gunners' draw

The Ocean City Barons have a date with the professional team in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after the Reading Rage held the Fredericksburg Gunners to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon. The Barons who finished qualifying with a perfect 4-0-0 record, needed Fredericksburg, the only remaining unbeaten team in the division, to either lose or tie one of their last two games to clinch. This will be the third appearance for Ocean City in the last four years.

The U.S. Open Cup, which is the United States’ version of England’s FA Cup, is the oldest cup competition in the country, dating back to 1914. It is a tournament completely unique in American sports where all teams, from Major League Soccer to weekend recreational leagues, are eligible to participate in a knockout competition to decide a true national champion.

U.S. Soccer will hold the draw for the Open Cup on Tuesday. The only thing that is known is that the Barons will face off with a professional team in the first round, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 12. All amateur teams are set to play against either a USL First or Second Division team. If they manage to advance to the third round, they will square off with a team from Major League Soccer.

The Barons have had a fairly successful Open Cup history. As a professional side in 2002, the team made their debut by defeating Vereinigung Erzgebirge, an amateur club from Pennsylvania. Their cup run came to an end in the second round when they fell 1-0 to the Hampton Roads Mariners of the A-League (now the USL First Division).

In 2004, the team returned to the cup, this time as a PDL side and, once again, after defeating Allied SC, an amateur team from Maryland, 5-0, they lost in the second round to the Syracuse Salty Dogs of the A-League.

The following year the Barons had returned to make their best showing in club history. After dismissing Greek American Atlas, an amateur side from New York, the Barons faced off with the Long Island Rough Riders of the USL Second Division. By winning 4-0 over the Rough Riders, it marked the first time that the Barons had defeated a professional side. In the third round, the Barons traveled to Richmond to take on the Kickers of the USL First Division, but again they were beaten, but not without putting up a fight. The Kickers won 8-4 in the highest scoring game in Open Cup Professional Era (1995 - present) history. After trailing 4-1 in the first half, the Barons fought back to pull within one at 4-3. However, the Kickers would pull away and move on to the fourth round.

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