Since the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup began in 1998, Columbus Crew SC has battled its way into the final match of the tournament three times. The Black & Gold set the bar high for themselves right off the bat, reaching the finals in their first year entering the competition in 1998. Four years later, in 2002, Columbus brought home the hardware, becoming the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions. The 2010 Crew SC squad made another run at the title, meeting Sounders FC in Seattle to battle for the trophy. Each of these three runs went down in Columbus history and here’s why:
1998 – Runners-up
A Brian McBride, Jeff Cunningham and Stern John led Columbus team set the bar high for themselves and future Crew SC teams in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Playing a total of four matches, the Black & Gold reached their first-ever Final in Chicago, IL.
Round of 16 - July 7, 1998 - Rochester, NY
In the Round of 16, Crew SC traveled to Rochester, NY to take on the Rochester Rhinos, previously the “A-League”, presently a USL First Division team. Brian McBride found the net first from the penalty spot in the 13th minute. The Rhinos were able to level the score in the 60th, but Crew SC came out victorious in extra time, the 103rd minute, with a goal from Todd Yeagley.
Quarterfinal - July 22, 1998 - Chattanooga, TN
The Black & Gold won big in the Quarterfinals, hosting Miami Fusion FC, a previous MLS team, at a neutral site. Jeff Cunningham recorded a goal and an assist while McBride tallied his second and third goals of the tournament in a 3-0 victory.
Semifinal - August 4, 1998 - Metairie, LA
Columbus and New York met in Louisiana for the Semifinals. Crew SC defender and former assistant coach Ricky Iribarren scored the game winning goal just five minutes into the match to defeat the formerly known MetroStars, now the Red Bulls, 1-0.
Final - October 30, 1998 - Chicago, IL
Hosted at the NFL’s Chicago Bears home, Soldier Field, in front of 18,615 fans, Columbus Crew Soccer Club and the Chicago Fire played into extra time. Forward Stern John slotted home a Robert Warzycha ball to level the scoring in the 53rd minute which led the game into an extra 30 minutes of play. The Fire came out on top in the end, scoring in the 99th minute and winning the first ever U.S. Open Cup.
2002 - Champions
Round of 16 - July 17, 2002 - Columbus
The three years following the 1998 Open Cup run, Crew SC fell just short of the Finals in each tournament, reaching the Quarterfinals or better each time. 2002 was a different year. McBride, similar to 1998, opened the Cup scoring for Columbus with a penalty in the 34th minute against USL side Richmond Kickers. Dante Washington put home two more goals from Kyle Martino assists to give Crew SC a 3-0 win in the Round of 16.
Quarterfinal - August 7, 2002 - Uniondale, NY
Columbus traveled to New York to face the then-MetroStars in the quarterfinals. McBride and Martino opened the scoring for the match, giving Crew SC a 2-0 lead through 46 minutes of play. The Metros pulled back one goal but fell short of equalizing. The Black & Gold were through to the Semis for the third time in five years.
Semifinal - September 10, 2002 - Columbus
In the Semifinals, Kansas City came to Columbus where they took a 2-0 lead through the first 62 minutes of play. Edson Buddle, fourth in Crew SC all-time goal scoring history, sparked a comeback with a goal in the 76th minute. In stoppage time (92'+), John Wilmar Perez leveled the scoring just before the whistle to send the game into extra time. Perez went on to connect with a Buddle pass to score the game-winning goal in the 109th minute.
Final - October 24, 2002 - Columbus
Crew Soccer Club found the Finals once again, this time in its hometown of Columbus. The LA Galaxy traveled to Ohio to take on the Black & Gold. Midfielder Freddy Garcia was the lone goal scorer in the match while the Crew SC backline held strong, recording its second clean sheet of the tournament and the deciding factor in the 2002 U.S. Open Cup Champions run.
2010 – Runners-up
Round of 16 - June 29, 2010 - Columbus
In a nearly identical Round of 16 rematch with the Rochester Rhinos from 1998, Crew SC hosted the Rhinos. The Black & Gold were victorious with a 2-1 win over Rochester. Andy Iro (30’) and Steven Lenhart (94’) were the goal scorers for Columbus in the extra time match.
Quarterfinal - July 6, 2010 - Columbus
The path continued as Crew SC hosted USL side Charleston Battery. Three goals were scored in the match, all of them belonging to the host team. From the penalty spot, Emilio Renteria gave Columbus a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute, just before halftime. In the final 20 minutes of play, Lenard tallied his second goal for the tournament and Eddie Gaven gave Crew SC more of a cushion with the third goal of the match. In a 3-0 shutout, Columbus moved onto the Semis.
Semifinal - September 1, 2010 - Washington, D.C.
Traveling to the nation’s capital, Crew Soccer Club played 120 minutes against D.C. United. Iro and 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto both found the back of the net late in the match. Iro scored in the 89th minute to put the game in extra time. Schelotto converted the game-winning goal from the penalty spot in extra time. Columbus advanced to the Final following this 2-1 win.
Final - October 5, 2010 - Seattle, WA
On October 5, in Seattle, WA, in front of 31,311 fans, Crew SC and the Sounders battled in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup Final. Opening the scoring, Columbus’ Kevin Burns slotted home a Lenhart assist. In the end, Seattle came back to score two unanswered goals to lift the Cup.
The Fourth Round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has been drawn by U.S. Soccer and potential match-ups are in place for Crew SC to play in its first match of the tournament. Crew SC will face the winner of the FC Cincinnati (United Soccer League) against Louisville City FC (United Soccer League) match, with the winner of the Third Round match set to host the Black & Gold for the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. ET. Per U.S. Soccer, matches in this round may be moved up a day to Tuesday, June 13.
All Open Cup matches that Columbus is drawn to host will be played as true home matches at MAPFRE Stadium — the site of Crew SC's 2002 U.S. Open Cup Final victory. All 2017 Crew SC Season Ticket Members receive tickets to all Crew SC U.S. Open Cup matches through the quarterfinals as part of their memberships.
Crew SC next visits Toronto FC on May 26.
The Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus to host the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders on May 31.