The Flyover Cup: A Brief History

Minnesota United and FC Edmonton's rivalry match began after adversity
Minnesota United Staff | Apr 30, 2015

Photo Credit: Minnesota United

Rivalries in most professional sports are based off history, geographic proximity, or someone leaving a water jug behind at a game. They usually involve intense competition, long-standing traditions, and sometimes hatred of an opponent. However, very few have started from an act of charity. The Flyover Cup, the annual supporters-run competition between Minnesota United and FC Edmonton, is one of these rare cases.

Back in 2011, the NASL was in its first season and the then-called NSC Minnesota Stars began playing FC Edmonton for the first time. About a week before the teams took the pitch for the first time against each other, a fire ravaged central Alberta. Known as the Slave Lake fire, the arson-caused blaze destroyed 12,000 acres of land, forcing more than 7,000 people from their homes.

A group of Dark Clouds, Minnesota's supporters' group, raised money to donate to the families affected by the fire that damaged several cities, including Edmonton.

Almost a week later, on the day Edmonton and Minnesota played for the first time at Foote Field, a tornado devastated north Minneapolis. The storm damaged more than 3,700 properties, leaving many without power, and caused an estimated $80 million in damages.

The Edmonton Supporters Group, looking to repay the Dark Clouds for their generosity, made a donation to the American Red Cross working in Minneapolis to help those who had lost their homes or been injured in the storm.

Brought together in the face of adversity, the two supporters' groups proposed a friendly competition between their hometown teams and the Flyover Cup was born. Named for the reputation that most of the midwest and Canada gets as being “flyover country”, the Flyover Cup is contested for annually during the regular-season series between the two clubs.

The Eddies were the inaugural champions, winning both of their home matches and drawing against the Stars in two matches in Minnesota. Minnesota was able to claim the Cup in 2012 with a win in the first meeting of the season followed by three consecutive 1-1 draws.

Minnesota has held the Flyover Cup ever since that first victory, but not without some drama. In 2013 each team had won a match by two goals along with a 1-1 draw that put them level in the series. It all came down to the final match. United was able to score on both ends of halftime to get a 2-0 lead. Edmonton tried to mount a late attack, netting a goal in the final minute, but Minnesota emerged victorious.

The 2014 edition of the Flyover Cup was the first time it wasn’t decided in the final match. With only three meetings, United claimed the Cup by August with two victories. The Eddies were able to get a slight amount of revenge, winning the final meeting between the clubs and snapping an 11-match unbeaten streak for United.

The 2015 edition gives an advantage to the Eddies, much like the previous year did for Minnesota. Having never won in Minnesota, Edmonton will get to play two of the three meetings on its home turf. Could there be a new champion or will United hold on to the Cup for a fourth year? All will be answered on the pitch.

Our Terms and Conditions of Use have changed. By using this Site, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use. Agree and Dismiss
Our Privacy Policy has changed. By using this Site, you agree to the Privacy Policy. Agree and Dismiss