2016 US Open Cup Round 4, Day 1 preview: Tournament’s best round kicks off with four Tuesday games

Posted by | June 14, 2016

dicks-sporting-goods-bigAside from the Final, the Fourth Round is the crown jewel of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Round 4 will kick off on Tuesday with four games, followed by 12 more on Wednesday. What makes the round so special is that this year, all but one of the 15 scheduled contests feature Major League Soccer (MLS) teams against lower division opposition. The underdog stories are what make this cup competition unique in American sports and there are 15 of them to choose from.

Below, you will find links to our coverage on TheCup.us, as well as previews from all three games on Tuesady, including video and audio links where available. You can get all the latest updates from every game through Twitter, using the hashtag #USOC2016. Use that same hashtag on Instagram to share your US Open Cup-related photos.

#USOC2016 coverage:
* 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup schedule, results (video/audio links)
* 2016 US Open Cup bracket (TheCup.us)
* 2016 US Open Cup statistical leaders
* 2016 Meet the Underdogs series
* USSF’s new US Open Cup qualifying tournament has challenges to address after year one
Things you should know about the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup
Series of forfeits, teams with ineligible players overshadow 2016 US Open Cup
2016 US Open Cup Round 2 review
* MLS-owned USL teams no longer eligible for 2016 US Open Cup, confirms USSF
* One is enough: NPSL champion New York Cosmos B withdraws from 2016 US Open Cup

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Colorado Springs SwitchbacksColorado Springs Switchbacks  
0 : 1
Colorado Rapids    Colorado Rapids
 Dicks Sporting Goods Park - Commerce City, CO 

Round of 16 draw to take place June 16

Colorado Springs Switchbacks Open Cup records
Overall: 4-1-0 | Home: 2-0-0 | Away: 2-1-0 | vs. MLS: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 4-1 at Colorado Rapids of MLS in ROund 4)
Best finish: 2015 Fourth Round (Lost 4-1 at Colorado Rapids of MLS)

Colorado Rapids Open Cup records
Overall: 11-15-0 | Home: 5-1-0 | Away: 5-13-0 | vs. Div. 3: 2-2-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 at Houston Dynamo of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 1999 US Open Cup runner-up

The two professional teams from the state of Colorado; the Colorado Rapids, currently the top team in MLS, and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, currently second in the USL’s Western Conference, square off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park outside of Denver, Colo. This will be the second year in a row the two Centennial State clubs face off in the fourth round, last year the Rapids crushed the USL side 4-1 in last year’s Open Cup.

Colorado Springs returns to Denver this year taking a similar path as last year defeating Boulder, Colo.-based amateur side Harpo’s FC at home. Once again, the Switchbacks are near the top of USL and led by head coach and former Rapids defender Steve Trittschuh. Trittschuh’s squad should feature much of the same starting 11 that should include striker Martin Maybin and midfielders Miguel Gonzalez, Luke Vercollone and Saeed Robinson.

The backline is headlined by goalkeeper Devala Gorrick and defender Christain Ibeagha who have only conceded seven goals in 11 games this year, ranking the second best defense in the league.

This Open Cup matchup falls between two USL league road games for the Switchbacks; after a 0-0 draw at LA Galaxy II and before a trip to San Antonio. The Rapids on the other hand have been out of action since the end of May while team leaders Jermaine Jones and Shkelzen Gashi have been away on international break with the United States and Albanian national teams.
Without Jones or Gashi, Pablo Mastroeni’s Rapids will mostly likely turn to Dillon Serna, Dominique Badji and Luis Solignac who all found the stat sheet with goals or assists against the Switchbacks in last year’s encounter.

The Rapids are the hottest team in MLS these days, boasting the best overall record, least goals allowed and a dominating 6-0-1 record at home. Given the time off the Rapids are itching to get back on the field hoping that this is the year that their unfortunate Modern Era record will be snapped. They have gone 12 consecutive tournaments without multiple victories, far and away the most of any team since 1995. The last time they won more than one game in a US Open Cup? 1999, the year they reached the Final and lost to the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League.

Real Salt Lake advances 3-1 in PKs
Wilmington HammerheadsWilmington Hammerheads  
2 : 2
Real Salt Lake    Real Salt Lake
 Rio Tinto Stadium - Sandy, UT 

Round of 16 opponent will be announced June 16


Wilmington Hammerheads Open Cup records
Overall: 16-12-2 (1-1 PKs) | Home: 14-5-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 2-7-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 2-6-0
Last entry: 2015 (Drew 2-2 (Lost 5-3 in PKs) vs. Chattanooga FC of NPSL in Round 2)
Best finish: Quarterfinals (2003, 2009)

Real Salt Lake Open Cup records
Overall: 9-7-0 | Home: 9-3-0 | Away: 0-4-0 | vs. Div. 3: 3-0-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 3-1 at Sporting KC of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 2013 US Open Cup runner-up

Coming off the most one-sided US Open Cup win in club history in Round 2, 6-0 over Miami Fusion FC (NPSL), the Wilmington Hammerheads found a little more competition in Round 3. A late PK save lifted them over Miami FC (NASL) for their first win over a Division 2 team in regulation since 2006. They tied Louisville City, one of the top teams in USL, on Saturday, giving them a bit of momentum going into the match.

Real Salt Lake comes in with a 7-4-2 record which is one of the better records in the MLS. They will host Wilmington coming off a five-game road trip. They went 2-3 on the trip, ending with a win over New York City FC. The offense is certainly coming together, as they’ve scored three goals in each of the last three games.

RSL are still looking for their first US Open Cup title after falling in the championship game in 2013 to DC United and losing to eventual champions Sporting Kansas City in the final four last year.

Wilmington is hot right now, with a reversal of their recent Open Cup form. They had been eliminated by the NPSL’s Chattanooga FC in each of the last two years, but after their first regulation win over a Second Division club since 2006. They’re still the underdogs, and will need a very well played match to take down RSL and upset their first MLS team in seven years.

San Jose EarthquakesSan Jose Earthquakes  
0 : 2
Portland Timbers    Portland Timbers
 Providence Park - Portland, OR 

Round of 16 opponent will be announced June 16


San Jose Earthquakes Open Cup records
Overall: 11-9-6 (3-3 PKs) | Home: 4-5-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 7-4-3 (2-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 0-6-3 (0-3 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 vs. LA Galaxy of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2004 Semifinals

Portland Timbers Open Cup records
Overall: 13-10-1 (0-1 PKs) | Home: 5-5-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 8-5-0 | vs. MLS: 3-6-1 (0-1 PKs)
As MLS: 6-4-0 | Home: 3-1-0 | Away: 3-3-0 | vs. MLS: 3-3-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 2-0 at Real Salt Lake of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2013 Semifinals (Lost 2-1 at Real Salt Lake of MLS)

Last year, both the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes managed to reach the Round of 16, but this year, only one will advance as they meet in a rare all-MLS Fourth Round matchup on Tuesday night at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

The Timbers were blanked by Real Salt Lake 2-0 in the Fifth Round of last year’s Open Cup while San Jose lost a much closer 1-0 affair against the Los Angeles Galaxy. This time around there will be plenty of unknowns as both teams have been out of action recently while MLS observes a brief break as the Copa Centenario plays out across the country. Both teams are currently right in the thick of things in the Western Conference, but had very different expectations coming into this season based on how 2015 went.

The Timbers seemed to have turned a corner last year as they defeated the Columbus Crew to win the 2015 MLS Cup. Thanks to the rise of new United States international Darlington Nagbe in midfield, the Timbers Army and its supporters expected their team to pick up right where they left off last year and continue to challenge for titles. But it’s been a slow and inconsistent start to the 2016 season for Caleb Porter’s men.

The Earthquakes, meanwhile, are still waiting to see if their team can take a big step forward the way Portland did last year. Two years ago, San Jose had an abysmal season, finishing dead last in the Western Conference. Then last year, they managed to challenge for a playoff spot for most of the season, but faded down the stretch. Now they’re right back in the thick of things thanks, in part, to a breakout performance from US Under-23 midfielder Fatai Alashe, who has contributed a pair of goals so far this season. And, of course, there’s longtime veteran Chris Wondolowski who continues to lead the line with seven goals and two assists.

This is the third all-time meeting between the two clubs, but the first with both teams being members of Major League Soccer. When the Timbers made their US Open Cup debut in 2004 as a member of the USL’s A-League (Div. 2 pro), they were shut out 3-0 in front of their home fans. Ronnie Ekelund, Ramiro Corrales and Dwayne De Rosario all scored for the visitors. The two teams met the following year in a rematch in the Rose City, and once again, it was Earthquakes advancing with a shutout, this time 2-0. Wade Barrett and Brian Mullan connected for the Quakes.

Given the somewhat awkward timing of the break, it’s unclear how both teams will approach this game, but neither will be able to anticipate a potential fifth round opponent as the Round of 16 draw will take place two days after their Round 4 matchup.

La MaquinaLa Maquina  
1 : 4
Los Angeles Galaxy    Los Angeles Galaxy
 StubHub Center - Carson, CA 

Round of 16 opponent will be announced June 16


La Maquina Open Cup records
Overall: 3-0-0 | Home: 2-0-0 | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. MLS: 0-0-0
Last entry: First entry
Best finish: First entry

Los Angeles Galaxy Open Cup records
Overall: 25-13-1 (1-0 PKs) | Home: 17-2-0 | Away: 8-11-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Amateurs: 4-0-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 at Real Salt Lake of MLS in Quarterfinals
Best finish: 2001, 2005 US Open Cup champions

One of the two biggest David vs. Goliath matchups of the US Open Cup features La Maquina, a Southern California amateur team making its tournament debut, playing on the road against the two-time US Open Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

La Maquina, who play in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), have shined in their first trip to the US Open Cup. They are the second team (DC United 1996-97) and the first amateur team of the Modern Era (1995-present) to win their first three tournament games by shutout. However, they have benefited from a favorable draw as they have only had to play amateur clubs. They defeated the Portland Timbers U23s (PDL), Sacramento Gold (NPSL), and fellow UPSL team LA Wolves FC (USASA). Their top scorer, former Chivas de Guadalajara forward Edwin Borboa, leads the tournament in goals with four. If he is able to score a goal against the Galaxy, he will become the first player from an amateur team to score a goal in four consecutive Open Cup games.

La Maquina, who are known most recently as a team that was suspended for an entire UPSL season for a post-game brawl, will have their first professional test against the Galaxy, a team that has won 12 US Soccer Majors (5 MLS Cups, 4 Supporters’ Shields, 2 US Open Cups, 1 CONCACAF Champions Cup).

The Galaxy have won plenty of trophies in recent years, but their form in the US Open Cup has left a lot to be desired. Last year, they won multiple games in the tournament for the first time since 2006 when they dispatched another Southern California amateur team, PSA Elite, by the score of 6-1 and edged their rival San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0.

In league play they are sitting middle of the table in the Western Conference with a 5-2-6 record. However, the most important record is their undefeated record (4-0-3) at home where Tuesday night’s game will be played. They have been dominant at home in the Open Cup over the years, boasting a 17-2-0 record. They haven’t lost at home since the 2000 Semifinals when they fell to the eventual champion Chicago Fire. Another record leaning the Galaxy’s way is a 4-0-0 record against amateur teams (14 goals for, 3 goals against).