PDL players with US Open Cup experience advance careers with 2012 MLS SuperDraft

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  • January 13, 2012

A handful of players with US Open Cup playing experience as members of Premier Development League teams were selected in the two-round, 38-player Major League Soccer Draft Thursday afternoon at the NSCAA Convention in Kansas City, MO.

Andrew Wenger (top) and Chris Estridge have scored in the US Open Cup

The Chicago Fire PDL team reached the Third Round in the 2011 US Open Cup and Second Round in 2009, making it no surprise that among the 11 players selected from their development program were four players that saw action during the club’s run this past summer.

Among them was Chris Estridge (21st, Vancouver Whitecaps), who tallied a goal and assist. The defender scored the 1-0 game-winner in the opening round with three minutes remaining, edging the Iowa Menace (USASA entrant of PDL Des Moines Menace). He went on to add an assist on the second goal in another shutout performance in the Second Round as they blanked the NPSL’s Madison 56ers, 2-0.

The team’s run came to an end in the Third Round, falling on the road to Sporting Kansas City, 3-0. Estridge played in all three matches along with Tyler Polak (22, New England Revolution) and Brendan King (27, Portland Timbers). Teammate Calum Mallace (20, Montreal Impact) appeared in the Third Round match.

Reading United AC, a PDL affiliate of the Philadelphia Union, also saw Open Cup players move on to the next flight with hopes of landing on an MLS roster. First overall pick Andrew Wenger (Montreal Impact), a member of the Carolina Dynamo in 2011, nearly led Reading to an upset win over then USL Second Division side Real Maryland with the opening goal of the 2010 First Round only to see the professional side rally for a 2-1 victory. Reading faced fellow Union affiliate USL Pro Harrisburg City Islanders in 2011, falling 2-1 with Matt Hedges (11, FC Dallas) in the lineup.

Jacob Hustedt (25, San Jose Earthquakes) helped lead the Ventura County Fusion in 2011, providing the assist on the game-winner in a 3-1 victory against USASA’s Doxa Italia in the First Round. He was also in the lineup for the club’s valiant effort in a narrow 1-0 loss to USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues in the Second Round.

Ironically, three of the seven players featured above were taken by Canadian clubs, meaning they would be mostly likely to participate in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship this year.


  • Jay Walk says:

    Interesting, though I thought the schedule change meant the collegiate players couldn’t participate in their PDL teams for the US Open Cup?

  • Gerald Barnhart says:

    The start of the season always made it difficult for PDL teams to get college players right away for numerous reasons (education and personal conflicts mostly). They are technically not available per NCAA guidelines until the First of May. What this new schedule time frame means is that there is arguably not enough time for the league to incorporate any kind of qualifying system prior to the First Round unless the league & teams chose to open the season earlier. That, however, would require most teams to utilize an entirely different roster comprised of post-collegiate or high school players for the qualifying matches, which would completely the negate the rationale for having in-season qualifying (to determine that year’s best teams) in the first place.

    I floated the idea of a one-game playoff qualifier amongst the top four teams from previous year as a concept prior to the announcement of the PDL’s qualifying format. It would have doubled the number of teams having an opportunity to qualify and kept the league’s tradition of high-impact matches to open the season. Read It Here

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