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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

U.S. Open Match Worth Checking Out

Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

I find myself at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a tournament that has been around since 1913, for the first time in several years. That changed last week when I went to see the Indy Eleven take on San Antonio FC at the Butler Bowl on the campus of Butler University. The two USL Championship foes find themselves in the round of 32 teams, with the winner advancing to the next round to play.

The Bud & Jackie Sellick Bowl is not Indy’s home venue, due to commencement ceremonies at Carroll Stadium on the campus of IUPUI, placed the game here. The Butler Bowl is home to Butler's football team but can serve as a soccer pitch, albeit with gridiron marks. 

It was the second time the club played a US Open Cup match at this location, and hopefully, they could pull out a victory and play again at home in a few weeks. That game would be back in familiar surroundings at Carroll, but will the change of venue make a difference in the team's play?

Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

The ample crowd barely reached their seats when Eleven's Augustine Williams scored with only two minutes to play. Initially stopped by the goalkeeper, the ball found its way across the line. It resulted in a cloud of red and blue smoke from the supporters group The Brickyard Battalion at the other end of the field. 

Fans did not have to wait much longer as Indy tallied its second goal only eight minutes later off the foot of Jack Blake. This time a massive puff of smoke descended to the skies and through the stands. It appeared that it would be a night of goals, but that would be it as neither team found the back of the net for the next 80 minutes.

Between the goals and the final whistle, there were several more shots at goals, cheering from the BYB, a few near misses at the net, silently fewer pleasantries from the opposing players leaving the pitch at half-time, and Indy XI players signing autographs and high-fiving fans after the match.

Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Indy's next opponent will be Detroit City FC at home on May 22. If they win they will take on the New Mexico United or New York City FC II. Do the Eleven have the legs to make a run in the tournament and capture the $300,000 in prize money and a trip to the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Who will get there is anyone’s guest? MLS clubs have dominated since their introduction in 1996, only losing once to a second-division side in the finals. The USLC Sacramento Republic FC made it to the final game in 2022 before losing to the Orlando City of the MLS. The USL Championship has 9-teams, MLS has 6, and MLS Next Pro has one club remaining in the tournament. 

Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Open Cup games are interesting bags of treats. In some cities, the games are not highly marketed and many fans might overlook the fact that they are not league games scheduled for weekend bouts. The mid-week games don't bring out huge crowds at times, but as each team moves closer to the finals, the crowds do come out. The Detroit City faifthful do enjoy these types of games and will make their presence felt in Indianapolis where a rowdy supporters group will try to outduel the BYB on the other side of the pitch.

For the fans, the US Open Cup offers a chance to see USLC clubs battle MLS members on their home turf. It is a rare opportunity when the top two divisions play one another. It also provides an extra game of soccer to watch at your club’s regular grounds or somewhere else in the city. Be on the lookout for the next few months, as the tournament continues until the final match on September 25.

Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at 

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