The Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup was a Major League Soccer series between FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew. Named after the late Lamar Hunt, one of the league's major investors and a key supporter of American soccer, initially the series was contested between the two teams still owned by the Hunt Sports Group (Sporting Kansas City was sold before the Pioneer Cup began). However, Columbus Crew was sold in 2013, and thus FC Dallas remains the only MLS team still owned by Hunt Sports Group. The Pioneer Cup is the second event in American soccer named after Lamar Hunt, whose name is also given to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The first two editions of the Pioneer Cup were single preseason matches. The inaugural edition was played on March 11, 2007 at Pizza Hut Park, with Columbus defeating Dallas 3–0. Proceeds from the game went to the charity Dallas SCORES. The second edition of the cup was played on March 20, 2010 at Pizza Hut Park, with Dallas defeating Columbus 2–1 in heavy snow.
In 2011, the Pioneer Cup was changed to a two-game, aggregate-goal series played during the regular season. The first leg was played at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH on April 1, 2011. The Crew took advantage of FC Dallas going one man down in the 33rd minute to win 2–0. The second, and deciding leg was played at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX on July 2, 2011, with the Hoops winning 2–0. Tied 2–2 on aggregate, Columbus regained the Pioneer Cup with the tie being broken by all-time head to head goals, 6-4 in favor of the Black and Gold.
When Major League Soccer restructured scheduling ahead of the 2013 season, the Cup was changed to a one game, winner-take-all contest. The winner of the match would win the Pioneer Cup. In the event of a draw, the all time head-to-head goals tiebreaker remained. In the 2013 edition, Columbus scored 4 goals with 3 different scorers to win the cup for the 3rd straight year. The 2014 contest was a bit more lackluster than previous encounters. An early summer thunderstorm suspended the start of the match, but was eventually postponed to the following day after a Columbus fan was struck by lightning and injured prior to the game being started. The game resumed the next day on a hot afternoon, but no player from either side could find the net in a match then ended scoreless. Due to the scoreless draw, Columbus retained the Cup, again due to the all-time head-to-head goals tiebreaker, 12-7 in Columbus' favor.
The 2015 contest will be held at Toyota Park in Frisco, TX on September 9, 2015 at 7pm EDT and will be the first edition televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 in the United States and TSN in Canada,