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2017 US Open Cup Round 4 Review: Three lower division clubs punch ticket to MLS-heavy Round of 16

The crowd of 30,160 at Nippert Stadium to watch FC Cincinnati upset the Columbus Crew shattered the Modern Era attendance record for a non-Final. Photo: FC Cincinnati
Posted by | 2017 US Open Cup, US Open Cup | No Comments

Three lower division sides’ hopes are still alive as Major League Soccer entered the fray in the Fourth Round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The United Soccer League’s FC Cincinnati and Sacramento Republic, as well as the North American Soccer League’s Miami FC, disposed of their MLS opponents. This marks the first time since 2014 that at least three lower division teams will be represented in the Round of 16.

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2017 US Open Cup Round 4: Stefano Pinho’s hat trick leads Miami FC to road upset of Orlando City

Stefano Pinho of Miami FC celebrates one of his three goals against Orlando City in the Fourth Round of the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: Miami FC
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Another year, another south Florida nightmare for Orlando City in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This time, Miami FC did the job, emerging with a convincing 3-1 victory. Stefano Pinho’s hat trick, the first in the history of the new Orlando City Stadium, paced an outstanding performance by the NASL league leaders.

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2017 US Open Cup Round 4: Philadelphia Union continue USOC dominance of Harrisburg City Islanders

Philadelphia Union rookie Marcus Epps dribbles through the Harrisburg City Islanders defense in a Fourth Round match in the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: Matt Ralph
Posted by | 2017 US Open Cup, US Open Cup | No Comments
FINAL
Harrisburg City IslandersHarrisburg City Islanders  
1 : 3
Philadelphia Union    Philadelphia Union
 Talen Energy Stadium – Chester, PA 

Philadelphia Union rookie Marcus Epps dribbles through the Harrisburg City Islanders defense in a Fourth Round match in the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: Matt Ralph

Philadelphia Union rookie Marcus Epps dribbles through the Harrisburg City Islanders defense in a Fourth Round match in the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: Matt Ralph

Rookie Marcus Epps’ first professional goal restored a two-goal lead two minutes after halftime to help the Philadelphia Union (MLS) knock off the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) for the fourth time in US Open Cup play at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. on Wednesday night.

Epps, drafted out of the University of South Florida in January, made his first start in a Union uniform and was a handful for the City Islanders early in the game as Harrisburg was looking to avenge a 3-2 loss in the same building a year ago. In the early going, Epps set up a dangerous free kick when he was taken down just outside the 18 and nearly got onto the end of a long pass in the box that would have spelled trouble.

In the 18th minute, it was the Mississippi native’s strong run and layoff in the box that eventually set up a pass from Jay Simpson to Derrick Jones for a goal off a low liner from 25 yards out. The goal was the first for Jones in an official first team match.

After Simpson was denied by a fine save from Sean Lewis in the 28th minute, his hold-up play and a switch of the flanks between Epps and CJ Sapong led to a second goal off the left foot of Sapong that beat Lewis to the far post for Simpson’s second assist of the night.

Firmly in control of possession and momentum, it appeared as though the Union might run away with a rare easy victory over their former USL affiliate before Paul Wilson connected with Jonathan Mendoza to cut the lead in half in the 37th minute.

The goal sparked the City Islanders’ offense and the visitors had a chance to go into the break on level terms when Rasheed Olabiyi’s free header off a corner kick flashed just wide of the post.

The momentum carried into halftime didn’t last long in the second half thanks to a beautiful ball Haris Mendunjanin sent down the right flank that Epps caught up before beating his defender and the keeper for the first non-preseason goal of his young career.

“Haris played a great ball,” Epps said of the goal. “It was tough, the keeper did well, but I saw the little gap and so you know a slow roller I thought would work best.”

Back in command, the Union were content to keep the ball and run down the clock but Harrisburg had another surge left in them as Pedro Ribeiro made things interesting for his former team in the 69th minute when he forced Union goalkeeper John McCarthy into a save that fell to Shawn McLaws for a rebound opportunity that hit the cross bar and bounced out. Ribeiro, Mendoza, Jake Bond and Lee Nishanian all had additional shot attempts stopped by McCarthy in the final half hour.

“Unfortunately, we gave up a goal early in the second half but I thought from that point on we were pretty good,” City Islanders head coach Bill Becher said. “The game was back and forth. We had all of the chances in the second half; I don’t remember them having any outside of the goal.”

McCarthy finished the night with six saves, his counterpart with two on vital interventions that easily could have made the final score a lopsided one. With the win, the Union extended their unbeaten streak in the tournament against non-MLS teams to seven dating back to a 2012 win over Rochester Rhinos, their first in the club’s Open Cup history after going one-and-done against MLS opponents in the first two years. Harrisburg’s record against MLS teams in the competition fell to 5-7 with the loss.

“It’s harder than people think because these games are tricky,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “We’re expected to win, we’re expected to be the team that just takes care of business. The only time it gets really talked about is if we lose a game like tonight.”

Harrisburg City Islanders Philadelphia Union
GOALS
SHOTS
SAVES
CORNERS
FOULS
OFFSIDE
YELLOW CARDS
RED CARDS
REFEREES REF: 
AR:   
AR:  
4th: 
ATTENDANCE
Harrisburg City Islanders
Substitutions
 
 
 
 
 
Philadelphia Union
Substitutions
 
 
 
 
 

2017 US Open Cup Round 4: Houston Dynamo uses reserves to beat North Carolina FC in OT

Houston Dynamo logo
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In nearly every aspect of the Dynamo’s road match at North Carolina FC, the two sides were even. But every game in the U.S. Open Cup needs a winner, and Jose Rodriguez controlled a rebound in the 109th minute and slotted a shot just out of the reach of NCFC’s keeper to give Houston a 3-2 win Wednesday night in Cary, North Carolina.

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2017 US Open Cup Round 4 preview, live video: Tournament’s ultimate underdog round as MLS joins the party

2016-usoc-logo-724-wide
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The 99 entries of the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Graphic by: Gilberto Hernandez (Twitter: @GilbertoHdz200)

The 99 entries of the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Graphic by: Gilberto Hernandez (Twitter: @GilbertoHdz200)

Normally the championship game is the main attraction for a tournament, but for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the round where Major League Soccer teams enter (Round 4) is the headliner.

The Fourth Round kicks off tonight (June 13) with three games, followed by 13 more on Wednesday night. Tuesday’s opening match features the lone remaining amateur team, Christos FC of Baltimore, taking on D.C. United of Major League Soccer at the Maryland Soccerplex. It’s the tournament’s biggest David vs. Goliath matchup. Then, it’s a matchup between the Colorado Rapids and OKC Energy before a battle between two bitter rivals as the Timbers and Sounders square off in Tuesday’s nightcap.

Below, you will find links to our coverage on TheCup.us, as well as previews of all 16 Fourth Round games, including video and audio links as they become available. You can get all the latest updates from every game through Twitter, using the hashtag #USOC2017. Use that same hashtag on Instagram to share your US Open Cup-related photos.

#USOC2017 coverage:
* 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup schedule, results (video/audio links)
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 1 review
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 2 review
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 3 review
* 2017 TheCup.us Player of the Round winnners
* 2017 US Open Cup bracket (TheCup.us)
* 2017 US Open Cup statistical leaders
* A map of all 99 entries for the 2017 US Open Cup
* 2017 Meet the Underdogs series
* 2017 US Open Cup qualifying Round 2 review: 14 more teams advance as Round 3 moved to next year
* 2017 US Open Cup qualifying Round 1: Scores and recaps from every game

MORE:
* Who is the US Open Cup equivalent to Lincoln City FC and their magical FA Cup run?
* Eric Wynalda hired to lead LA Wolves for 2017 US Open Cup run
* Reading United qualifies for record 9th straight US Open Cup, seeking more than an opening round win
* Fourth Round fun facts: Notable upsets, things you should know about Round 4

* Support TheCup.us: New Del Rey City jerseys available for purchase
* Appreciate what we do at TheCup.us? Donate here
* TheCup.us is looking for writers/editors, graphics, WordPress gurus & people who can handle digital ad sales (paid position). Email us here

Twitter (#USOC2016) | Facebook | InstagramFlickr | Reddit

FINAL
Christos FCChristos FC  
1 : 4
DC United    DC United
 Maryland Soccerplex – Boyds, MD 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


UPDATE: D.C. United pulls away late to end Christos FC’s Cinderella run (video)

By Adam Uthe

When the draw for the Fourth Round was announced, this is the matchup most Open Cup fans wanted to see. Baltimore amateur powerhouse Christos FC, led by University of Maryland-Baltimore County alumni Peter Caringi III and goalkeeper Phil Saunders, will travel to our nation’s capital to square off against MLS side D.C. United.

Not only is Christos the last remaining amateur side in this year’s tournament (thus earning a cool $15,000 cash prize) but they are also just the 13th amateur team in the Modern Era (1995-present) to make it this far.

They might not admit it themselves, but Caringi and Saunders have been the stars of the tournament. Caringi produced a hat trick in Round 1 to help take down NPSL side Fredericksburg FC and the performance earned him Player of the Round honors. In Round 2, Christos faced USL side Richmond Kickers and Saunders stood on his head, saving seven shots en route to his team’s 1-0 victory; he was also awarded Player of the Round honors. They may be amateurs and heavy underdogs, but there is reason for Christos to feel good about their chances against their next opponent.

2017 has not been kind to D.C. United. They currently find themselves in last place in the Eastern Conference with a goal difference of minus-11, which is the third-worst in the league. They’re also saddled with the worst offense in MLS, having scored just 10 goals in 14 league games this season. To add injury to insult, forward Patrick Mullins has been ruled out for the next six weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery. D.C. will have to be at their best if they’re going to beat back the darlings of this year’s tournament.

This is just the second time that United has faced an amateur club in the tournament. Back in 2009, the Ocean City Nor’easters (then known as the Ocean City Barons) of the PDL gave them a run for their money but D.C. won 2-0 on the strength of two second half goals. Since MLS joined the tournament in 1996, only six teams have been upset by amateur clubs.

United have won the tournament three times (1996, 2008, 2013), but have struggled in the Open Cup since they last won it in 2013. They are 1-3-0 and have been eliminated in their opening match twice (2014, 2016). Last year, they knocked out by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) in penalty kicks at the Maryland Soccerplex, the site of Tuesday’s match vs. Christos FC.

The draw for the Round of 16 will take place on Thursday, June 15 after all of the round’s matches are completed.

FINAL
OKC Energy FCOKC Energy FC  
2 : 3
Colorado Rapids    Colorado Rapids
 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, CO 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


UPDATE: Colorado Rapids pull off historic comeback in win over OKC Energy (video)

By Adam Uthe

For the second straight round, United Soccer League (USL) side OKC Energy will travel to Colorado to face their Open Cup opponent. This time they’ll head to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City to face Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Colorado Rapids. This is also OKC’s second all-time meeting against an MLS side in as many last years. Last year they put up a spirited effort but fell to eventual champions FC Dallas in penalty kicks.

The Open Cup has been a good distraction for OKC Energy who, after a scoreless draw with San Antonio FC on Saturday, have just 14 points from 11 league games and a goal difference of minus-4. In the Second Round, the Energy cruised to a 5-1 home win over Moreno Valley. Alex Dixon bagged a brace and Wojciech Wojcik also added a goal; both are tied (with Kyle Hyland as well) to lead the Energy in goals scored this season. Their trip to Colorado Springs in Round 3 was a much closer battle, but OKC came out on top, 2-1 behind goals from Jose Barril and Wojcik.

They’ll be feeling confident about their chances of pulling off the upset this time.

The Colorado Rapids currently have the worst record in MLS and have scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference; though they do have multiple games in hand over their conference rivals. To make matters worse, Shkëlzen Gashi and Kortne Ford are out with injuries and team president Tim Hinchey will be leaving the team in July to take charge of USA Swimming. The Rapids, however, aren’t giving up on the season just yet though. Several sources reported last week that the team is looking to side Luis Montes, a standout midfielder from Liga MX’s Leon when the next transfer window opens. And perhaps the magic of the US Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying win against Trinidad & Tobago will bring a positive aura back to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Oklahoma City has reached the Fourth Round in three of the club’s four seasons, but has yet to advance beyond Round 4. The Rapids have struggled in their Open Cup history. In fact, since they lost in the 1999 US Open Cup Final to the Rochester Rhinos, they have yet to win multiple games in a single tournament. It’s an unfortunate Modern Era record that has stretched to 13 tournaments.

FINAL
Portland TimbersPortland Timbers  
1 : 2
Seattle Sounders FC    Seattle Sounders FC
 Starfire Sports Complex – Tukwila, WA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


UPDATE: Seattle Sounders win reserves-heavy rematch with Portland Timbers (video)

By Nick Schiffler

The last time the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers met in the US Open Cup, the two teams produced an affair more memorable for the extracurricular activity than the final score, a 3-1 Portland victory in 2015. The match featured three red cards, multiple injuries, and Clint Dempsey famously ripping up the referee’s notebook and received a long-term tournament ban.

Two years later, the teams face off again in the same venue, Seattle’s home-away-from-home of Starfire Sports Complex. This time, both sides will likely field something below their strongest teams due to injuries and international call-ups. Timbers coach Caleb Porter has confirmed his team will heavily rotate their squad and the Sounders will do the same, possibly even calling up players from their second team.

Seattle, the defending MLS champions, have not gotten off to a fast start this season. They have yet to click on offense and they’re currently clinging to the last playoff spot in the MLS Western Conference. They do, however, have a proud history in the US Open Cup, with four tournament titles, the most recent of which came in 2014. In last year’s tournament, they knocked off the Kitsap Pumas (PDL) and edged Real Salt Lake on penalties before falling to the LA Galaxy in the Quarterfinals. The Sounders are aiming for a fifth trophy in the competition, something only three teams in the 104-year history of the tournament have achieved.

On the other hand, Portland is in the midst of a strong – if inconsistent – season, and are coming off an impressive win over FC Dallas last weekend. They’re still seeking their first US Open Cup win, although the draw has not been kind to them the last several years. In each of the past three tournaments, they have been one of the unlucky sides to be matched up against a fellow MLS team in their first game. Last year they beat the San Jose Earthquakes before dropping a home match to that same LA Galaxy team in the Round of 16.

This will be the 7th all-time meeting in the Open Cup between the two rivals, which dates back to 2005 when they two were members of the United Soccer League. The Sounders lead the series 3-2-1 (1-0 PKs).

FINAL
Columbus Crew SCColumbus Crew SC  
0 : 1
FC Cincinnati    FC Cincinnati
 Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati) – Cincinnati, OH 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Harrison Huntley

The top two clubs in Ohio will meet for what many are calling the Ohio Derby. It’ll be the first time the two will meet, and with the teams separated by a little over 100 miles, there’s a chance for both home and road supporters to see their teams.

FC Cincinnati will be making their first-ever appearance in the Fourth Round after suffering a third round loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 2016 US Open Cup.

Prior to June, the club was on a four-match win streak, including two wins in Open Cup play. Their fourth win in that stretch came over Louisville City FC, as Djiby Fall scored in the 48th minute. It was his second straight game-winning goal in the tournament after scoring the lone goal in a Round 2 win over NPSL champion AFC Cleveland.

The Crew has long been an Open Cup mainstay, advancing past the Fourth Round in 16 of their 19 appearances, including winning it all in 2002. However, in the six tournaments since they reached the Final in 2010, they have failed failed to win multiple games in a single tournament. Last year, after beating the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Round 4, they suffered a 2-1 road loss to the Chicago Fire.

Columbus will need to find some consistency if they want to make a run. After a strong 3-1-1 start to league play, the Crew have been unable to achieve back-to-back wins. They’ll come into their cup match well-rested, since their last match was back on June 3 when they took a 2-1 road loss to the Colorado Rapids.

Wednesday’s match will mark the first time in US Open Cup history that professional teams from Cincinnati and Columbus will square off in the competition.

FINAL
Charleston BatteryCharleston Battery  
2 : 3
Atlanta United FC    Atlanta United FC
 Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.) – Kennesaw, GA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Riley Maleitzke

The Charleston Battery, One of the most prestigious and historic teams in the USL, are celebrating their 25th year. They take on their MLS affiliate with the high-powered offense, Atlanta United.

The Battery have enjoyed some recent success in the US Open Cup. Charleston reached the Final in 2008, while Atlanta, known as the “Five Stripes”, will enter the match in their Open Cup debut.

The Battery come into the June 14 matchup 8-2-3 in league play which puts them in first place in the USL Eastern Conference. While Atlanta United are sitting at 5-6-3 which is good enough for 8th place in the Eastern Conference of MLS.

Charleston comes into the match after a 1-0 victory on the road against the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada in the Third Round. It was a revenge game for the Battery as Jacksonville knocked them out a year ago. The only goal of the game came from an own goal on a cross that no one controlled was put into the back of the net by an Armada defender trying to clear the ball.

In league play, the Battery played their rival Richmond Kickers on Saturday in USL action for the 60th time. Justin Portillo buried a PK for the only score of the match.

Atlanta United played Saturday against The Chicago Fire on the road at Toyota Park. The Fire scored the first goal on a counter that they patiently lured Kann away from the net, and then passed out to Luis Solignac for the chip shot. Then, a Five Stripes hand ball led to a Nikolic PK which ended the scoring in a 2-0 loss. United continued to struggle on corner kicks. They had seven in the match against the Fire as they have yet to score on a corner kick all season long.

Media speculation is that Atlanta could have Josef Martinez on the field for the first time this year after suffering a quad injury while on international duty for Venezuela. That would be a huge boost for United to have a playmaker like Martinez on the field.

United have an opportunity to make some history for the state of Georgia if they are able to put together a run in the Open Cup. There has never been a team from the state of Georgia that has reached the Final, and the last team from the Peach State to reach the Semifinals was a club called Datagraphics in 1981.

More than 10,000 fans are expected to pack Fifth Third Bank Stadium for Atlanta’s inaugural Open Cup game on Wednesday.

FINAL
Rochester RhinosRochester Rhinos  
0 : 3
New England Revolution    New England Revolution
 Anderson Stadium (Providence College) – Providence, RI 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Brendan Doherty

The Rochester Rhinos earned their place in the Fourth Round by defeating two amateur opponents at home; now they’ll travel to New England. Wednesday’s match in Providence will be the New England Revolution’s debut in the 2017 US Open Cup as they host their one-time USL affiliate.

Rochester had a fairly simple day at the office on May when the Rhinos hosted FC Motown and the visitors conceded twice in the opening 8 minutes. The early goals helped Rochester to a 3-0 win over the New Jersey side in the Second Round of the Cup.

The Rhinos faced stiffer resistance in their Third Round game against GPS Omens of Massachusetts on May 31. Jalen Brown’s 52nd minute strike for Rochester was cancelled out by Keith Caldwell’s free kick from range in the 55th minute. Rochester’s forward Sammy Edoung-Biyo popped up with a near post run in the stoppage time on extra time to grab the game-winner and propel his team into the next round.
That next round game will include Keith Caldwell’s younger brother Scott, a homegrown midfielder for the Revolution. Former Rochester loanee Donnie Smith may also play against Bob Lilley’s side, for whom he’s made eight appearances in USL.

New England comes into this match on its best run of form this season. The Revs are 3-1-1 in their last five MLS games and most recently blanked Toronto FC 3-0 at home. On the other side, Rochester in undefeated in all competitions since April 15 and has only conceded six goals in those 9 games.

The Revolution will host Rochester on June 14 in Providence, Rhode Island. The two teams have met on six occasions in this competition and the MLS side holds a commanding 4-0-2 (1-1 PKs) record over the Rhinos.

In the most recent of their six meetings, at Brown University in 2014, the Revs won 2-1 and Rochester saw Babacar Diallo was sent off late. The previous summer, New England hit Rochester for five goals in a 5-1 win that was marked by inclement Rochester weather and a lightning delay.

In 2007 New England beat Rochester 4-2 in Western New York and the Revs beat the Rhinos 5-4 on penalties after a scoreless draw in Rochester in 2006. In 2003 New England beat Rochester 2-1 in Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Massachusetts but the Rhinos prevailed for the first and only time in a penalty shootout in 2004 after a 1-1 draw in Ludlow.

The dissolution of the affiliate partnership between the two clubs, which saw New England send a handful of players on loan to Rochester from 2013 to 2016, sets an enticing backdrop for this Fourth Round match.

Rochester will have worked on absorbing pressure and springing on the quick break leading up to this matchup. The Revolution coaching staff will decide how many regular MLS starters they want to use in this midweek fixture without detracting from their league campaign.

There might be fireworks from how the affiliate relationship broke down, there might be an upset if the Rhinos beat New England for the first time, but there should be goals in this contest. Through the previous six meetings, the teams have combined for an average of 3.3 goals per game and that trend should continue on June 14.

The match kicks off from Anderson Stadium on the campus of Providence College at 7:30 on Wednesday, June 14.

FINAL - AFTER EXTRA TIME
Houston DynamoHouston Dynamo  
3 : 2
North Carolina FC    North Carolina FC
 Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Park – Cary, NC 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Harrison Huntley

After two decisive victories in the first two rounds, North Carolina FC will look to continue the Open Cup success with their new name. Formerly the Carolina Railhawks, North Carolina FC has done well in recent Cups, including three straight victories over the LA Galaxy from 2012-2014.

On the other side, Houston returns to the Open Cup following a Quarterfinal loss to eventual champion FC Dallas a year ago.

NCFC boasts a new identity, but they’ve channeled the Railhawks of old when it comes to Open Cup play. The Railhawks were exceptional in Open Cup play, and North Carolina FC has been no different as of late. In their first two cup matches, they’ve knocked off two other North Carolina clubs (Carolina Dynamo of PDL, Charlotte Independence of USL) by a combined score of 10-2.

Houston has made the Quarterfinals in each of the last two Open Cups, and have the offense to make a deep run in the Cup. Eric Torres is second in MLS in goals with 10 while Alex Lima (known simply as “Alex”) is third in assists with seven. They showed off that offense with a 5-1 win over Real Salt Lake on May 31st, but couldn’t translate that into their most recent game which ended in a 1-0 loss to Seattle.

The Dynamo have never won the Open Cup and have reached the Semifinals (2006, 2009).

FINAL
Miami FCMiami FC  
3 : 1
Orlando City SC    Orlando City SC
 Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, FL 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Riley Maleitzke

Miami FC comes into the Fourth Round after an impressive 2-0 win over former NASL (and current USL) side, Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Orlando City SC will enter Wednesday after a scoreless draw at home against the Chicago Fire.

Miami is comfortably sitting in first place in the NASL with a 7-3-1 record, while the Lions are 7-5-3 in league play which is good enough for 4th place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Orlando City’s last match was seen by most American fans as a boring scoreless match but City fans look at this as a match where their team overcame remarkable odds. Rafael Ramos and Antonio Nocerino were given red cards. With two men down, Orlando prevailed behind a sold out home crowd. The coaches and players praised the supporters and fans for being so knowledgeable and understanding how big of a moment that was for the club.

Miami comes off a win over Tampa Bay in the Third Round of the US Open Cup. The Rowdies had many great opportunities early but were out of luck as none of them hit the back of the net. The best opportunity was in the 20th minute when Joe Cole had a one-on-one chance but he missed high. Miami buried a spot kick in the 73rd to secure a 1-0 advantage. They padded their lead with another goal in the 83rd minute to cap off a 2-0 win.

Miami’s latest match was in NASL action Saturday night in Edmonton Canada. The match was destined for a 0-0 draw as the Eddies dropped two players into their defense for every Miami forward. This limited Miami’s opportunities. Edmonton failed to do much with the ball and played sloppy when they had the ball. Miami’s control over 61% of the possession finally paid off in the 80th minute when a quick pass from Stéfano Pinho to a streaking Vincenzo Rennella who tapped the ball into the back of the net for the game’s only goal.

Miami is coming off the longest road trip of the year to Edmonton Canada a 2,569-mile-long plane ride three days before their match at Orlando. The Lions last match was at home and was 10 days ago. The two-hour time change and long plane trip plus the quick turnaround will be very tough on Miami.

This is Miami’s second entry into the Open Cup. Last year, they were knocked out by the Wilmington Hammerheads (USL) 2-1 in their opening match. Orlando has been taking part in the tournament under a variety of team names (Austin Aztex) and leagues (USL) since 2009. They have reached the Quarterfinals twice, once as a USL Pro team in 2013 and again in 2015 as a MLS side.

FINAL
Harrisburg City IslandersHarrisburg City Islanders  
1 : 3
Philadelphia Union    Philadelphia Union
 Talen Energy Stadium – Chester, PA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Ian Foster

The Philadelphia Union open their 2017 US Open Cup campaign at home against near perennial in-state opponent Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL in a battle between the Keystone State’s capital and its biggest city.

The Union look to continue their strong Open Cup traditions, having reached (and hosted) two consecutive finals in 2014 and 2015. However, an Open Cup title still eludes them as they embark on their seventh campaign in the tournament. Meanwhile, Harrisburg has a fairly strong history themselves, having reached the Quarterfinals four times in the Modern Era, the third-most of any lower-division side.

The City Islanders will be looking for their first win against the Union in their fourth attempt. The last two ties have been particularly heart-breaking for Harrisburg fans, as Maurice Edu found an 89th-minute equalizer in 2014 (the Union went on to score two in extra time to win 3-1) and last year, Bobby Warshaw’s 90th-minute equalizer for Harrisburg was quickly canceled out by Roland Alberg’s final-whistle game-winner.

After a rough start to their MLS campaign, the Union seem to have found something of a rhythm between new midfielders Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya. The Union are 4-6-4 leaving them four points out of a playoff spot.

Harrisburg are 2-5-4 in league play which puts them third from the bottom of the USL Eastern Conference. They are winless in their last eight league games, with their last win coming against Bethlehem Steel back on April 15.

FINAL
New York City FCNew York City FC  
0 : 1
New York Red Bulls    New York Red Bulls
 Red Bull Arena – Harrison, NJ 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Harrison Huntley

New York’s two MLS clubs will meet in the first US Open Cup match for either side this year. In last year’s tournament, both faced other New York clubs. This year, they will open the Fourth Round with a Hudson River Derby, the first time the clubs have ever met in the competition.

Simply put, NYCFC is ready to make some noise in the Open Cup. In the short history of the club, they’ve never won a Open Cup match, falling to the New York Cosmos (NASL) in 2015 and 2016. It won’t be any easier this year with an MLS opponent, but there’s no lack of motivation for NYCFC in their third cup appearance.

The Red Bulls have been in the Open Cup for more than two decades, but haven’t had much success in later rounds. They’ve reached the Semifinals three times, but haven’t been back since 2003 when they lost in the Finals to the Chicago Fire. To date, the Red Bulls hold a 5-1 advantage in previous Hudson River Derbys.

The Red Bulls will play without their head coach Jesse Marsch on the sideline who was sent off after a sideline tirade in last year’s 2-1 road loss to the Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls have been eliminated by the Union in each of the last two tournaments.

FINAL
Tulsa Roughnecks FCTulsa Roughnecks FC  
1 : 2
FC Dallas    FC Dallas
 Westcott Field (SMU) – Dallas, TX 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Adam Uthe

Westcott Field, on the campus of Southern Methodist University, will play host to the first Open Cup meeting between Major League Soccer’s (MLS) FC Dallas and the United Soccer League’s (USL) Tulsa Roughnecks. Both teams find themselves looking to spark a good run of form heading into Wednesday’s night match in Dallas.

The Roughnecks currently find themselves in eighth place in the USL’s Western Conference standings following a 3-1 loss against Swope Park Rangers on Sunday. Not only that, but their overall goal differential sits at a less than stellar minus-4. Their form in the Open Cup, however, has been better. Behind a pair of goals from both Pavel Kondrakhin and Tulsa native Cristian Mata, the Roughnecks took down OKC Energy’s U-23 side in Round 2. In the third round they met current USL leaders San Antonio FC and advanced via penalty kicks after the first 120 minutes of soccer failed to produce a goal. Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda was named TheCup.us Player of the Round for the clean sheet, two saves in the penalty kick shootout and a goal of his own in the shootout.

FC Dallas, meanwhile, is suffering more from a case of failure to meet expectations. After winning the 2016 Open Cup and the 2016 MLS Supporters Shield (awarded to the team with the best overall record), the Hoops currently find themselves mired in the middle of the Western Conference standings. After a 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, they sit in fourth place in the West; good enough for a playoff spot, but not as high as many would expect. Max Urruti has picked up where he left off with Dallas last season and leads the team with seven goals in 11 matches so far; he’s also chipped in three assists.

The winner will have to wait until the Round of 16 draw on June 15 to know their next potential opponent.

FINAL
Chicago Fire Chicago Fire   
1 : 0
Saint Louis FC    Saint Louis FC
 Toyota Stadium (WWT Soccer Park) – Fenton, MO 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Alex Picchietti

Former club affiliates are slated to do battle when the Chicago Fire of MLS take on Saint Louis FC of the USL on Wednesday, June 14. As recently as 2016, St. Louis was a developmental team of the Fire, who’s USL affiliate is now the Tulsa Roughnecks.

Saint Louis FC will look to keep their Open Cup run going in what will be their third game thus far. Their first fixture in the tournament was a dramatic win over FC Wichita back on May 17. The match, featuring plenty of drama, including a late sending off for Wichita, ended 4-3 in extra time. Saint Louis found a way through the defense in stoppage time, with substitute Tyler David scoring a goal in the 90+6th minute to force an extra period. Eventually, St. Louis was able to capitalize on the man advantage when Jose Angulo netted his second match of the evening in the 95th minute.

In their second game, they squared off against the Michigan Bucks of the PDL. In the third round fixture, Sebastian Dalgaard scored two early goals to put St. Louis up 2-0, and they would eventually hold off the Bucks by a score of 2-1.

This will be the Chicago’s first match in the cup, earning three byes as an MLS club. The Fire come into this game in tremendous form, sitting second in the MLS Western Conference standings. In their last match, Chicago took care of Atlanta United by a score of 2-0 at home on June 10. Chicago have won 5 of their 15 matches by two or more goals, their best mark since 2013, and they still have 19 matches left to play. They also boast the current Golden Boot leader in Nemanja Nikolic. The Hungarian international striker has scored an impressive 12 goals in 15 league matches. Needless to say, the Fire will be expecting to pick up another victory come Wednesday night.

In their last league match, Saint Louis FC lost a closely-contested game to Bethlehem Steel FC in an interconference battle on Sunday, June 11. Even with the loss, Saint Louis are only one point short of playoff position, with two games in hand. For the season as a whole, Saint Louis has earned four wins from 12 matches, currently sitting at 15 points.

The match between Midwest clubs is scheduled for 7:30pm CST on Wednesday at the 5500-seat Toyota Stadium in Fenton, Missouri. St. Louis will be looking forward to hosting the match, as their first two matches in the cup were on the road. Furthermore, they have been very successful at home, with an excellent record of three wins from four played.

The Chicago Fire are the most successful team of the Modern Era with the most Open Cup wins (39) and they have won the tournament four times in club history. They are still looking to make it a record-tying fifth as their 2017 tournament begins with this match.

FINAL
Minnesota United FCMinnesota United FC  
0 : 4
Sporting Kansas City    Sporting Kansas City
 Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, KS 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Alex Picchietti

In one of only three MLS vs. MLS matches this round, Sporting Kansas City will play host to Minnesota United FC on June 14. The matchup will feature a US Open Cup stalwart in Sporting KC, and a brand new MLS team, which has some history in the tournament in Minnesota United.

To say the two teams coming into this game are going in different directions would be an understatement. Sporting KC has rebounded from a very average season in 2016 to their current position at the top of MLS’ Western Conference. Minnesota United, on the other hand, are having a rough inaugural season, sitting in 9th of 11 Western Conference clubs, 12 points behind the leaders.

Minnesota United will be looking to flip the script on Sporting KC, who recently defeated them by a score of three goals to none. The biggest problem for MNUFC so far has been a lack of defensive performances, allowing an astonishing 33 goals in just 14 matches. If they hope to have a chance in this MLS club rematch, they’ll need to do a better job in the defensive third of the pitch. Scoring goals would also be a welcome sight for United fans, as the team has only scored 1 goal in the past 3 matches. Christian Ramirez, a lone bright spot for the club, will need to get his scoring boots on early to relieve the pressure on his defensive teammates.

Sporting KC are flying high at the moment, and haven’t lost a match since April 22 when they played away to FC Dallas. Kanas City have been led by an iron clad defense, allowing a miniscule 11 goals in 16 matches played, the best defensive record in the league by far. Scoring has been a bit of an issue at times for SKC, but Gerso Fernandes has been a lone bright spot in the final third of the pitch, netting six goals thus far.

Both teams will be looking forward to their first US Open Cup match of the tournament, and a berth into the Round of 16. Sporting KC have won three US Open Cups in their club history, but were knocked out by Houston last year in the Round of 16. As they look to add to their Open Cup trophy cabinet, Minnesota United are still looking for their first.

United have been competing in the tournament since 2010, but have yet to advance beyond the Fourth Round. They have reached Round 4 three times, losing to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2012, and to Sporting Kansas City twice (2014, 2016). Last year, the two teams played at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. and after trading penalty kicks in the second half, the match had to be decided in extra time. Diego Rubio-Kostner broke the 1-1 tie in the 109th minute to send Kansas City to Round 5.

FINAL
Orange County SCOrange County SC  
1 : 3
Los Angeles Galaxy    Los Angeles Galaxy
 StubHub Center Track Stadium – Carson, CA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Dennis Pope

The Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) makes its first appearance in the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. An Open Cup semifinalist in 2016, the team has improved its form since a 2-5-0 league start and currently enjoying a six-game unbeaten run.

The 2001 and 2005 US Open Cup champions lost to FC Dallas, 2-1, in overtime in last year’s semifinal round.

This is the first matchup between the Galaxy and Orange County SC (USL), which was rebranded from Orange County Blues SC to start the 2017 season.

Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme is the heart and soul of this club, which has suffered through numerous injuries in 2017 and will be without several players including Giovanni Dos Santos (international duty) for the game.

Orange County SC (USL) is playing its third game in the Open Cup this year, advancing to the Fourth Round on the back of two victories over regional amateur opponents.

Orange County defeated FC Golden State Force (PDL), 5-2, in a 2nd Round game on May 17, and edged L.A. Wolves FC (USASA), 1-0, in a Third Round game on May 31.

Goalkeeper Charles Lyon made several crucial saves in the shutout over L.A. Wolves FC in the 3rd round, stopping back-to-back point-blank shots in the first half before teammate Roy Meeus’ 41st minute free kick gave OCSC the lead.

Orange County is seeking its first-ever win over a professional team since they first entered the Open Cup in 2011. Their only other meetings were 2-1 win against Chivas USA in 2013 and a 2-1 Third Round loss in the club’s inaugural season back in 2011. In that first meeting, Mike Magee scored the game-winning in the 81st minute to send the Galaxy into Round 4.

Currently 3-4-1 in the PDL’s Western Conference, Orange County SC has lost three consecutive league matches.

FINAL
San Francisco DeltasSan Francisco Deltas  
0 : 2
San Jose Earthquakes    San Jose Earthquakes
 Avaya Stadium – San Jose, CA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Thomas Hodul

The NASL expansion club, the San Francisco Deltas, will get their first shot at their Bay Area MLS rivals, the San Jose Earthquakes, in a competitive match. The new rivalry is beginning to be called the “101 Derby”. The Deltas picked up wins in Rounds 2 and 3 to earn the ticket to face the Earthquakes at their home ground Avaya Stadium in Round 4.

The Deltas knocked off the Earthquakes PDL affiliates, the Burlingame Dragons, in Round 2 with a come from behind 2-1 victory. They then traveled to Phoenix in round 3 to face the USL’s Phoenix Rising, where again they picked up the 2-1 victory. However, this time it was via a stoppage time winner after already taking the lead once. The key man for the Deltas to this point in the Open Cup has been forward, Tommy Heinemann. Heinemann has two goals thus far, one in each game and both were game-winning goals.

Deltas’ captain Nana Attakora is the only man to have played for both clubs as he played for the Earthquakes in 2011 and 2013. The Deltas are coming off a difficult cross-country trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday, where they picked up the full 3 points, in a game that included two goals from Canadian international, Kyle Bekker. They currently sit in 3rd place in the eight-team NASL table.

The Earthquakes are making their debut in the 2017 competition as all MLS clubs join the tournament at the Fourth Round stage. While San Jose have won the MLS Cup twice, they have never won the US Open Cup in their history. They have not even made an Open Cup Final. Their best run in the tournament came in 2004 when they reached the Semifinals, before falling to eventual champions Sporting Kansas City 1-0.

Captain and US national team player, Chris Wondolowski leads the Earthquakes. Wondolowski is the club’s all-time leading scorer. He has three US Open Cup goals to his name as well. The Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear, has a history playing in both Bay Area cities, as he played for the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks from 1989-1992, as well as the San Jose Hawks in 1993 and the San Jose Clash in 1997.

The Earthquakes will have had a long rest heading into this game, as their last match prior to this game will have been almost two weeks ago when they lost in Portland. The Earthquakes currently find themselves in 7th of the 11-team MLS Western Conference standings

FINAL
Real Salt LakeReal Salt Lake  
1 : 4
Sacramento Republic FC    Sacramento Republic FC
 Papa Murphy’s Park – Sacramento, CA 

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

The winner’s Round of 16 opponent will be determined on June 15


By Thomas Hodul

Sacramento earned the right to host a MLS side in Papa Murphy’s Park for the first time in the club’s history. They will host former MLS Cup winner, Real Salt Lake, in Round 4 of the competition.

The Republic reached Round 4 of the Cup by knocking off local qualifiers and UPSL champions, FC Anahuac, by a comfortable margin of 4-0, before they were matched up with new rivals, Reno 1868, in round 3. They controlled much of the match against Reno, winning the game 2-0. The man of the match that night was Trevin Caesar, who provided both a goal and an assist to lead his side to victory. This was the Republic’s first win over a professional side in their history in the tournament.

Sacramento has twice previously faced MLS competition in the Cup, twice losing to the San Jose Earthquakes in San Jose. The Republic has rebounded from a stretch that saw them go scoreless in 6 consecutive League matches. However, they were unable to keep that run going this weekend as they fell 2-0 to Reno 1868 in league play, the same club they knocked out in Round 3 of the Cup. Currently, they find themselves in 9th place in the 15-team USL Western Conference standings. They are even on points with both 7th and 8th place, but have played three more games than both those teams.

Real Salt Lake has struggled in league play to this point in the season, and could probably use a fresh competition and new venue to kick-start their play. They currently find themselves with the worst goal differential in all of MLS, and are in 10th place in the 11-team Western Conference table.

Former MLS Cup champions, Salt Lake’s best run in the Open Cup was in 2013 when they lost 1-0 to D.C. United in the Cup Final. Real will rely on long time leader, captain Kyle Beckerman, who has nearly 300 appearances for the club. As well, if the match were to go to penalties, Salt Lake has one of the best penalty-saving goalkeepers of all-time, Nick Rimando.

Real Salt Lake will be coming off a bye week in their League play, so they will be plenty rested for this trip to Sacramento.

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