2014 US Open Cup Round 2 preview: Largest round in tournament history kicks off with 22 games tonight (video)

Posted by | May 14, 2014

Lamar Hunt US Open Cup logoUPDATE: Here are the results from last night’s Second Round action and the schedule for Round 3

After Arizona United SC capped an amazing comeback last night, one wild game is already in the books in the second round of the 101st edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Tonight, in what is regarded as the largest round in the tournament’s long history, 23 games will be played to decide which teams will advance to Round 3. (Update: Now 22 games, as the San Diego Flash had to forfeit)

As this is being written, eight of the 22 games will be broadcast live online. You can find the links below.

You can follow all of tonight’s games on Twitter @USOpenCup and by using this year’s hashtag #USOC2014.

Here is a look at tonight’s games:

Jacksonville United (NPSL) at Orlando City U23s (PDL)
Seminole Soccer Complex – Sanford, FL – 4:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If Jacksonville wins … play at Charleston Battery (USL Pro) or host Panama City Beach Pirates (PDL)
If Orlando City U23s win … play at Charleston Battery (USL Pro) or host Panama City Beach Pirates (PDL)

Jacksonville United Open Cup records
Overall: 1-1-0 | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-0-0
Last entry: 2012 (lost 3-0 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies of NASL – Round 2)
Best finish: 2012 Second Round (lost 3-0 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies of NASL)

Orlando City U23s Open Cup records
Overall: 0-2-0  |  Home: 0-2-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 0-2-0
Last entry: 2013 (lost 5-3 in PKs, 1-1 draw vs. VSI Tampa Bay of USL Pro)

#USOC2014 LINKS2014 US Open Cup results
2014 US Open Cup bracket
2014 US Open Cup goalscoring leaders
The First Cup series (1913/14)
Round 3 draw scenarios

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In a rematch from the 2012 US Open Cup First Round, Jacksonville United (NPSL) take on the Orlando City FC U23s (PDL) tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Orlando, Fla. in the second round of the 2014 US Open Cup. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 4:30 pm ET. It will precede the Orlando City SC and Ocala Stampede (PDL) second round game, which kicks off at 7:30 pm EST.

After missing last year’s tournament, Jacksonville United, the 2011 NPSL national champions, enter the tournament as one of 11 representatives from the NPSL. The cup-tie is the first game of Jacksonville’s schedule this year, and the reigning NPSL Sunshine Division Champions are looking to start their season off on the right foot with a win. A JUFC win will see the club advance past the second round of the Open Cup for the first time in club history.

The host OCFC U23s are playing in their third consecutive Open Cup tournament. The Lions are also looking for their first Open Cup win in team history and to snap one of the tournament’s longest winless streaks (6, 0-5-1) dating back to their first tournament appearance in 2000 as the Central Florida Kraze. The club has seven players from last year’s squad returning, including Manchester City academy player Paul Clowes. The Lions are no doubt ready to put last year’s painful first round penalty shootout loss to VSI Tampa Bay behind them.

Both teams are relatively new on the national scene, but are undeniably ambitious and hungry for success on the big stage. The game should prove to be quite the spectacle, as both team’s compete for the right to take on USL’s Charleston Battery in the third round.

Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) at Schwaben AC (USASA)
Schwaben Athletic Club – Buffalo Grove, IL – 5 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at Indy Eleven (NASL) on May 28

Dayton Dutch Lions Open Cup records
Overall: 5-4-0 | Away: 3-4-0 | vs. Amateur: 4-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (lost 2-1 at Columbus Crew of MLS – Round 3)
Best finish: 2012 Quarterfinals (lost 3-0 at Sporting KC of MLS)

Schwaben AC Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 0-0-0  |  Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Div. 3: 0-0-0
Last entry: N/A

After 50 years away from the tournament, Schwaben AC has a tough welcome-back game against a USL Pro side that has been eliminated by MLS teams two consecutive years.

Schwaben AC, founded in 1926, last competed in the tournament in 1964 when the tournament was known as the National Challenge Cup. The team lost that year 2-0 to eventual champions Los Angeles Kickers-Victoria in the semifinals.

The club with German roots has found recent success, winning the Major Division of Illinois’ Metropolitan Soccer League two years in a row.

Schwaben AC qualified for the tournament through the US Adult Soccer Association (USASA) Region II Open Cup competition, winning games against FC Indiana and in-state rivals AAC Eagles to progress.

The amateur squad featuring some NCAA Division I players will have a homefield advantage, but that is about all.

The Dayton Dutch Lions come into the tournament on the heels of a third round exit against the Columbus Crew last year and a surprise quarterfinal appearance in 2012 that saw them fall to Sporting Kansas City 3-0.

The USL Pro side has become stronger in recent years after forming an affiliation with the Columbus Crew. That affiliation has resulted in five MLS players currently on loan to the Lion,s including striker Aaron Schoenfield, who leads the team in goals and shots early in the USL Pro season. The team is 2-3-2 on the year in league play.

Winner of the game will go on the road to play upstart NASL side Indy Eleven, who is making its first tournament appearance.

Icon FC (USASA) at Baltimore Bohemians (USLPDL)
UMBC Retriever Soccer Park – Baltimore, MD – 5:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If Baltimore wins … play at FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) or host Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro)
If Icon FC wins … play at FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) or play Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) Site TBD

Baltimore Bohemians Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Icon FC Open Cup records
Overall: 1-1-0 | Away: 1-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 4-1 at Richmond Kickers of USL Pro in second round)
Best finish: 2013 Round 2 (Lost 4-1 at Richmond Kickers of USL Pro)

The Baltimore Bohemians, runners-up in the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division, will make their first appearance in the US Open Cup when they face off against Icon FC of the Garden State Soccer League’s Super Division, the 2013 Region I Open Cup champion.

Icon FC, of Montville, New Jersey, reached the second round of last year’s Open Cup with a 4-1 win over the fabled Brooklyn Italians, who won the Cup in 1979 and 1991.  Icon FC then fell to the 1995 champion Richmond Kickers by the same score.  Last year’s edition of the team featured Argjent Duka, brother of Chicago Fire midfielder Dilly Duka, as well as former USMNT player Danny Szetela. In the summer of 2013, Icon FC’s exposure tour in Poland resulted in eight players being signed, reducing their ranks for this season’s campaign. They have already been eliminated from the 2015 Open Cup via a 5-0 shellacking courtesy of Mass Premier Soccer on April 14.

The Bohemians are making their inaugural visit to the Open Cup, hoping for the success of past Charm City finalists Baltimore SC (1940) and Pompei (1958).  The Bohs, who are affiliated with DC United and the League of Ireland’s Bohemian FC, lost Christian Francois and Pete Caringi to the MLS draft, but retain eight players, including Malian midfield maestro Mamadou Kansaye. The Bohs are now guided by Baltimore and former DC United star Santino Quaranta.

NY Greek American Atlas SC (USASA) at Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL)
Carey Stadium – Ocean City, NJ – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If Ocean City wins … host Richmond Kickers/RVA FC winner
If New York wins … will play at Richmond Kickers/RVA FC winner

NY Greek American Atlas Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 0-4-0 | Away: 0-2-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-3-0
Last entry: 2012 (Lost 2-1 at Reading United AC of PDL in first round)

Ocean City Nor’easters Open Cup records
Overall: 9-6-0 | Home: 7-3-0 | vs. Amateur: 4-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-1 at Philadelphia Union of MLS in third round)
Best finish: Third Round (2005, 2009, 2013)

The Ocean City Nor’easters and New York Greek American Atlas meet for the second time in Open Cup play. In the first round of the 2005 Open Cup, Ocean City traveled to New York and came away with a 3-0 win over the Greeks.

The Nor’easters return to the Open Cup for the seventh time as one of the most successful amateur clubs in the Modern Pro Era, having taken four pro sides down in past tournaments. Established in 1997, the Nor’easters have won the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division two years in a row, and won last year’s Eastern Conference championship. Since first qualifying for the Cup in 2002, Ocean City has made the third round a total of three times, taking down USL-2 sides Long Island Rough Riders (2005)and Crystal Palace Baltimore (2007, 2009) and USL Pro side Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2013). They very nearly upset MLS’s Philadelphia Union at PPL Park, losing on a 93rd minute goal.

The Nor’easters are returning at least 11 players from last year’s squad, including 2013 Offensive MVP and All-Conference Selection Dwayne Reid as well as Shawn McLaws, who was named Big South Defensive Player of the Year for his play with Coastal Carolina (which reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 2013). Coach Tim Oswald, the NSCAA Division III Coach of the Year for his 2013 season with Rutgers-Camden, recently inked a new three year deal and will look to guide Ocean City to victory in both the Open Cup and the US Amateur Cup Final Four later this month in Baltimore (A cup winners cup featuring champions from the USASA, PDL and NPSL).

New York Greek American Atlas is an Open Cup legend and look to deepen their already profound history in the tournament. Formed in 1941, the club plays in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League of New York. The Greek-Americans are, along with the Seattle Sounders, one of only four clubs to have won the Cup three years straight (1967 – 1969), adding a fourth title in 1974. The Greeks have won five of the last eleven Eastern New York Championships and returned to the Open Cup tournament in 2012 for the first time since 2005, losing in the first round to Reading United of the USL’s Premier Development League by a score of 2-1. The same year they advanced to the final four of the US Amateur Cup in Chicago.

Greater Binghamton FC (NPSL) at Reading United AC (PDL)
Gurski Stadium – Reading, PA – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at Rochester Rhinos / Western Mass Pioneers winner

Greater Binghamton FC Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Reading United AC Open Cup records
Overall: 3-7-0 | Home: 3-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 2-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 at New York Red Bulls of MLS in third round)
Best finish: 2013 Third Round (Lost 2-0 at New York Red Bulls of MLS)

Reading United of the PDL are likely the favorites in their match against NPSL side Greater Binghamton. Reading are in the US Open Cup for the sixth year in a row, which is an amateur team record for the Modern Professional Era (1995-present). Last year Reading went further in the Open Cup than they ever had before, falling to New York Red Bull in the third round. Returning head coach David Castellanos, formerly of the US Men’s National Team Under-17 and Under-20 squads and former Colorado Rapids signee, will be looking to Syracuse goalkeeper Alex Bono to keep Greater Binghamton off the scoreboard. Philadelphia Union Academy player Darius Madison is noted as a player to watch for Reading on the offensive side, but there could be more noteworthy players emerge for Reading, which had five alumni earn invites to last year’s MLS Combine. Reading drew their PDL opener last week at the Jersey Express.

Greater Binghamton made the US Open Cup by winning the Keystone Conference Championship and finishing second in the Northeast Region of NPSL. They won their season-opener against the Clarkstown Eagles in part thanks to an assist off the head of 6’5″ Keleenna Onyeaka. Binghamton’s offense is powered by former Vermont Voltage (of the USL-PDL) forward Bozidar Jelovac. The Serbian forward scored 12 goals last season and added 13 assists as Greater Binghamton lost only one match.

Winner will play either 1999 Open Cup Champions Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) or Western Mass Pioneers (PDL).

Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) at RVA FC (NPSL) 
Sports Backers Stadium – Richmond, VA – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: VIDEO

If Richmond wins … play at Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL) OR host NY Greek American Atlas (USASA)
If RVA FC wins … play at Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL) OR host NY Greek American Atlas (USASA)

Richmond Kickers Open Cup records
Overall: 24-13-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 5-9-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 8-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 4-2 in PKs after 0-0 draw vs. DC United of MLS in third round)
Best finish: 1995 US Open Cup champions

RVA FC Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

LIVE VIDEO: Richmond Kickers at RVA FC

If there is anything better than a derby day, it is a derby with a title at stake. As the US Open Cup continues to grow and the ties between the various levels of the different domestic leagues are strengthened, it was only inevitable that rivalries would come about. Perhaps that is no more evident than in Wednesday’s night match between the Richmond Kickers of USL Pro League and RVA FC of the NPSL. The two sides will meet at 7 p.m. at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, Va. The match will be shown live on US Soccer’s website.

For RVA FC, being able to make it into the second round of the Open Cup is quite an accomplishment. The club made it into the tournament after winning the 2013 NPSL Championship in just their first year of existence, going undefeated and beating the Sonoma County Sol by a score of 3-2 in the final. The club features some of the best collegiate players in the region, including second-team All ACC midfielder Eric Bird (University of Virginia,) former US Under-17 midfielder Patrick Foss (University of Virginia,) and forward Josh Grant (James Madison University).

To truly make this a derby, RVA FC will have to take down one of the best teams in USL PRO in the Richmond Kickers. The 2013 PDL regular season champions currently find themselves in third place (3-1-3, 12 points) in USL PRO, but are undefeated in their last four matches. The club is led by midfielder George Davis (five goals, tied for first in USL PRO) and forward Matthew Delicate (four goals). The club has not announced what players from DC United’s roster, with whom they have a loan agreement, will be made available for this match. The possibilities include goalkeeper Joe Willis, defenders Jalen Robinson, Steve Birnbaum, and Conor Shanosky; midfielders Christiano Francois, Kyle Porter, Jared Jeffrey, and Collin Martin; and forward Michael Seaton.

The key in this match will be how quickly RVA FC can develop some rhythm on the pitch. Having not played an actual match yet this season (the club’s first match is this weekend), it will be difficult for the squad of players who have played in various colleges to come back together and play a professional side. That being said, if the Kickers do not have the likes of Martin and Francoi,s it should even play up some. Expect a high-scoring match between two of the premier clubs in US Soccer.

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) at FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL)
Whitehall High School – Whitehall, PA – 7:05 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: RADIO
If Lehigh Valley United wins … they host Icon FC / Baltimore Bohemians winner
If Harrisburg City Islanders win … play at Baltimore Bohemians or vs. Icon FC (site TBD)

Harrisburg City Islanders Open Cup records
Overall: 12-6-3 (2-1 PKs) | Away: 2-5-0 | vs. Amateur: 8-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 1-0 at Reading United of PDL in second round)
Best finish: Quarterfinals (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)

FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic Open Cup records
Overall: 3-7-0 | Home: 3-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 2-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 at Reading United AC of PDL in first round)
Best finish: N/A

The third time was the charm for FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic. The squad won its first Open Cup game in three attempts in the first round last week, defeating GPS Portland Phoenix 1-0 in Portland, Maine. The club had lost in the opening round in 2012 to Long Island Rough Riders and in 2013 to Reading United AC.

This will be just the second game of the season for Lehigh Valley, who don’t begin NPSL play until May 24. The club finished with a 9-3 record last year, good enough for second place in the Keystone Conference. They reached the NPSL semifinals, where they fell to Sonoma County Sol 3-2.

The Harrisburg City Islanders’ season has not quite gone according to plan. Three of their five preseason games were canceled for various reasons, and they have only managed three goals and one win six games into their USL Pro season. All three of those goals came on the road, so maybe the road trip to Lehigh Valley will lead to some Harrisburg tallies on the scoreboard.

Harrisburg has a long history as giant-killers in the US Open Cup, defeating MLS teams in five of the past seven tournaments. However, after a magical run in 2012 that saw the City Islanders defeat the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls before falling to the Philadelphia Union in the quarterfinals, Harrisburg limped out of the 2013 Open Cup with a 1-0 loss to Reading United.

Carolina Dynamo (PDL) at Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro)
Queens University Sports Complex – Charlotte, NC – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: VIDEO
Winner plays at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)

Carolina Dynamo Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 10-10-1 (1-0 PKs) | Away: 2-8-0 | vs. Div. 3: 2-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 3-1 at Carolina RailHawks of NASL in second round)
Best finish: 1996 Quarterfinals (as USISL Select – Div. 3) (Lost 2-0 at DC United of MLS)

Charlotte Eagles Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 9-11-0 | Home: 4-2-0 | vs. Amateur: 7-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 vs. Chicago Fire of MLS in third round)
Best finish: 2012 Quarterfinals (Lost 1-0 at Chivas USA of MLS)
Though only 90 miles apart, these two North Carolina clubs haven’t played each other since 2011, when Charlotte Eagles defeated Greensboro’s Carolina Dynamo 3-1 in the first round of the USOC.

LIVE VIDEO: Carolina at Charlotte

After a victory over Orange County Blues last weekend, Charlotte Eagles are hoping for their first consecutive wins of the 2014 season, which has been a roller-coaster ride in USL Pro play. Impressive wins over Richmond, Wilmington, and Orange County are only enough for a share of fifth place in the league, even with the help of MLS veterans Bilal Duckett (Whitecaps), Jonathan Leathers (Whitecaps), and former Carolina Dynamo midfielder Wells Thompson (Fire). Another key addition this season, forward Giuseppe Gentile, on loan from Chicago Fire, is still looking for his first goal with the Eagles. Wednesday night’s match will be the first time Charlotte has played at home in more than a month, after losing two of three matches on a grueling road trip out west.

Carolina Dynamo are coming off a 1-0 season-opening win in the Premier Development League over South Carolina United Bantams, but not all is smooth sailing up in Greensboro. Dynamo lost head coach Chris Little just days before the start of the 2014 season when he left to coach the Elon University men’s soccer team a few miles east on I-85. But Dymano are one of the most dominant teams in the PDL, having won the South Atlantic division three years in a row, and could be a dangerous underdog versus their in-state rivals Wednesday night. Both clubs field quite a few alumni from college programs in North and South Carolina, so many of their players are familiar with one another.

RWB Adria (USASA) at Michigan Bucks (PDL) 
Ultimate Soccer Arenas – Pontiac, MI – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at Pittsburgh Riverhounds / NY Red Bulls U23s winner

RWB Adria Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 0-3-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 0-3-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 0-0-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-3 in PKs after 1-1 draw at Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL Pro in first round)

Michigan Bucks Open Cup records
Overall: 12-9-1 (0-1 PKs) | Home: 8-6-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 3-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 vs. Dearborn Stars of USASA in first round)
Best finish: 2012 Round 4 (Lost 2-1 AET vs. Dayton Dutch Lions of USL Pro)

RWB Adria looks to complete the US Open Cup Michigan sweep this Wednesday as they take on Michigan Bucks after a penalty kick victory over Detroit City FC of the NPSL a week ago. Vlad Baciu scores two goals for RWB as they took their first US Open Cup victory in the Modern Professional Era, coincidentally against their first non-professional opponent. They now face the giant killers of the the Cup, as Michigan Bucks who are without question the best amateur team the US Open Cup has known in the last 15 years. They have more wins (12), more professional team upsets (9) and are the only amateur club to defeat two MLS clubs.

The game will be played at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas, an indoor facility in Pontiac, Mich that the Bucks call home. This will make just the sixth time that an Open Cup game has ever been played inside (five of them were at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas). After falling short of being the first amateur club to reach the quarterfinals in 2012, the Bucks were eliminated by the Dearborn Stars in their opening match last year and are aiming to get back on track.

Ocala Stampede (PDL) at Orlando City SC (USL Pro)
Seminole Soccer Complex – Sanford, FL – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: None
Winner hosts Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)

Ocala Stampede Open Cup records
Overall: 1-1-0 | Home: 0-1-0 | vs. Div. 3: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-1 vs. Orlando City SC of USL Pro in second round)
Best finish: 2013 Round 2 (Lost 2-1 vs. Orlando City SC of USL Pro)

Orlando City SC Open Cup records
Overall: 10-5-0 | Home: 7-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 7-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-1 at Chicago Fire of MLS in quarterfinals)
Best finish: 2013 quarterfinals (Lost 5-1 at Chicago Fire of MLS

Before Ocala begins its 2014 season in the PDL Southeast Division this weekend, the Stampede will have to head to Orlando City’s Seminole Soccer Complex for a second round Open Cup match up against the Lions. This is Ocala’s second trip to the USOC after qualifying with their second-straight Southeast Division title last season and the second year in a row they’ll face Orlando City (OCSC won 3-1 in 2013).

Orlando City is entering this year’s tourney for the last time as a member of USL Pro (they head to MLS next season) and are aiming to replicate the success they saw in last year’s Open Cup. After easily dispatching the Stampede in last year’s second round, Orlando went on to get upset wins against MLS sides Colorado Rapids and their own parent club, Sporting KC. In their USL Pro season thus far, the reigning league champs are currently sitting atop the table with 21 points in 9 games(6-0-3).

These teams are already familiar with one another and just last month the Lions signed former Stampede defender Bitielo Jean-Jacques, who has seen minutes in relief in two games so far and could be a selection for this match.

Panama City Beach Pirates (PDL) at Charleston Battery (USL Pro)
Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, SC – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: VIDEO
If Charleston wins … hosts winner of Jacksonville United / Orlando City U23s
If Panama  City wins … will play at Jacksonville United OR vs. Orlando City U23s (Site TBD)

Panama City Beach Pirates Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Charleston Battery Open Cup records
Overall: 25-13-4 (3-1 PKs) | Home: 20-6-3 (2-1 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 9-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-2 AET at Real Salt Lake of MLS in fourth round)
Best finish: 2008 Final (Lost 2-1 at DC United of MLS)

Live Video: Panama City at Charleston

For the third-year Panama City Beach Pirates, the reward for their 10-3-1 record in 2013 and all that sophomore-year improvement comes hard and fast on Wednesday.

The Pirates (0-0-0 PDL) earned their first ticket to the US Open Cup by qualifying for the PDL playoffs for the first time. Their first playoff opponent? Eventual PDL Champions Austin Aztex. They caught no breaks in their 2014 Cup draw either, traveling to South Carolina Wednesday to take on the Charleston Battery (2-3-4 USL PRO), one of the oldest professional clubs in North America.

While Charleston is already nine games into the USL PRO regular season, the 2014 Pirates began training together less than a week ago. Coach Greg DeVito – a 31-year-old former fullback for Atlanta Silverbacks – is the only coach in the club’s history, but only six of the 22 players on the team’s new roster are holdovers. The unit is led by returning player Brandon Barbero, a holding midfielder from Missouri State, and goalkeeper Sean Lewis of Michigan’s Oakland University. Ninety percent of the Pirates over the years have been college players, DeVito said.

Also returning are midfielder Andrew Beasley, a native of the United Kingdom who attended high school in the Panama City suburbs, and Barton College teammates Ricardo Oliveira, a midfielder, and Eric Pajunkm a striker. Mikey Lighbourne, a defender/midfielder from Coastal Carolina, is a former teammate of Battery rookie Justin Portillo.

“Last year we were a very possessive-style team,” DeVito said. “We like to pass the ball and control the tempo… As for formations, we really adjust our formation based on the tactical outlook of our opponents.”

Charleston Battery are more of a known commodity. The club dates back to 1994, boasts four league titles – most recently in 2012 – and reached the USOC final in 2008 before bowing out to rivals D.C. United. Charleston finished third in USL PRO least season and lost 3-2 at Orlando in the semifinals, and advanced to the fourth round of the 2013 USOC by defeating Portland Timbers U-23s and the San Jose Earthquakes. Real Salt Lake ended the Battery’s last cup run in Utah.

The 2014 Battery were bolstered by the arrival of eight players from Vancouver Whitecaps, the club’s new MLS affiliate, but most of the roster is made up of returning players. With the Battery in the midst of a back-to-back home-and-away series with rivals Wilmington Hammerheads, Coach Mike Anhaeuser can be expected to use his bench to keep as many of his starters fresh for Saturday’s trip to North Carolina.

That could mean a second 2014 start for goalkeeper Eric Shannon, who played professionally in Guatemala last season. With depth in midfield, Anhaeuser may have some options there, too, including former Cuban international Maikel Chang.

But when it comes to the back line, Charleston will start its “regular” unit essentially by default. The team has only five defenders on the current roster, and each of them – jack-of-all-trades Taylor Mueller, center backs Colin Falvey and Shawn Ferguson and fullbacks Quinton Griffith and John Wilson – is starter-quality. The Battery continues to look for its attacking flow this season, but has allowed just seven goals in nine matches.

Wilmington Hammerheads (USL) at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
Finley Stadium – Chattanooga, TN – 6:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: VIDEO
Winner hosts Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) on May 28

Wilmington Hammerheads Open Cup records
Overall: 14-11-1 (1-0 PKs) | Away: 1-6-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 7-2-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-1 at Portland Timbers of MLS in third round)
Best finish: Quarterfinals (2003, 2009)

Chattanooga FC Open Cup records
Overall: 0-1-1 (0-1 PKs) | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Div. 3: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 4-1 in PKs after 4-4 draw at Carolina Dynamo of PDL in first round)

Live Video: Wilmington at Chattanooga

Currently 10th in USL Pro with a 2-1-2 record, Wilmington has shown a balanced attack, with four different goal scorers in five games. Samuel Ochoa leads the team with two goals. Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts has three shutouts already this season and a 1.00 GAA. Founded in 1996, the Hammerheads are one of the oldest teams in USL Pro. David Irving is one of the longest-tenured managers in the league, getting the job in 1998. The Hammerheads have twice been quarter-finalists in the US Open Cup, in 2003 and 2009.

Boasting the highest average attendance in NPSL, Chattanooga FC (founded in 2009) play at Finley Stadium near the campus of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The team has won the NPSL Southeast Region two years running. This is the home opener for CFC; they defeated Georgia Revolution 1-0 in Conyers May 10th. This is their third time in the US Open Cup, and the first time in the second round.

Western Mass. Pioneers (PDL) at Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro)
Sahlen’s Stadium – Rochester, NY – 7:35 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner hosts Greater Binghamton OR Reading United AC

Western Mass Pioneers Open Cup records
Overall: 6-6-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 1-2-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 0-2-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2011 (Lost 3-0 at FC New York of USL Pro in first round)
Best finish: 2005 Round 3 (Lost 3-1 vs. Chicago Fire of MLS)

Rochester Rhinos Open Cup records
Overall: 29-15-5 (3-2 PKs) | Home: 24-7-4 (2-2 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 11-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-1 vs. New England Revolution of MLS in Round 3)
Best finish: 1999 US Open Cup champions

The Western Mass Pioneers (PDL) are plotting an upset with Wednesday’s second round Open Cup clash against the Rochester Rhinos (USL-PRO) on tap. Kickoff at Sahlen’s Stadium is set for 7:35pm.

Western Mass enters the match a week removed from a 4-1 comeback win against GPS Massachusetts at Lusitano Stadium in first round action. After conceding an early Santiago Bedoya strike, the hosts came alive in the second half, as Alencar Junior and Will Daniels each bagged a brace to send their side through to the second round.

The Pioneers will once again rely on lively performances from Junior and Daniels to steer the offense forward, while goalkeeper Warren Gross will be called upon to keep the rear organized and, when necessary, make a big save.

While the Pioneers got their first taste of the 2014 tournament last week, the Rhinos make their Open Cup entrance on Wednesday, and in front of their own fans, no less. During USL-PRO play this season, the Rhinos have gone 2-1-4, and are coming off a 1-1 draw to Orlando City last weekend.

Through its first seven league games, the Rhinos have leaned heavily on forward Jimmy Banks (3 goals, 2 assists) to keep the offense flowing. Between the sticks, John McCarthy has beat out Revolution loanee Luis Soffner as the Rhinos’ No. 1, and has shut out the opposition in three of his four games so far this season.

Historically, neither side is a stranger to the tournament. In fact, the Rhinos, who’ve become an Open Cup regular in the modern era, were the last squad outside of MLS to lift the Lamar Hunt trophy, after they staked a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in the 1999 final. The Pioneers have entered Open Cup action no fewer than four times, with their last tournament tilt prior to this year’s edition coming in 2010.

Incidentally, the Rhinos and Pioneers have met in Open Cup play before. During the 2007 tournament, Rochester grabbed a 2-1 second round win over Western Mass before falling to its future MLS affiliate, the New England Revolution.

Of course, the Pioneers are hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself, while the Rhinos would love nothing more than to dispatch their neighbors to the east for a second straight time.

 

Brooklyn Italians SC (NPSL) at Jersey Express (PDL)
NJIT Soccer Stadium – Newark, NJ – 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at New York Cosmos (NASL) on May 28

Brooklyn Italians Open Cup records (Modern Pro Era)
Overall: 1-4-0 | Away: 1-3-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-2-0
Last entry:  2013 (Lost 4-1 vs. Icon FC of USASA in Round 1)
Best finish: 2012 Second Round (Lost 3-0 at Rochester Rhinos of USL Pro)

Jersey Express Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

The two-time US Open Cup champion Brooklyn Italians visit the Jersey Express for a second round US Open Cup match at Lubetkin Field in Newark, NJ on Wednesday May 14 at 8:00pm. The Brooklyn Italians, who play in the Mid Atlantic Conference of the NPSL, are 2-0-0 in their young season. In the club’s most recent match, they scored eight goals and shut out the Greater Lowell United Football Club on the road. Forward Yvener Guerrier leads the Mid Atlantic Conference with four goals, a brace in each match. The Italians are coached by Lucio Russo, a member of the 1991 US Open Cup winning side and former assistant of the Jersey Express.

The Jersey Express of the USL Premier Development League has started their season with win and a draw each at home. In the club’s most recent match on May 10, they defeated the Northern Virginia Royals 5-0 with a goal and assist each from forwards Christopher Karcz (3), Joseph Ovenseri (1) and substitute Ansger Otto (1). Former Express and MLS player Jeff Matteo is in his second year as the club’s head coach. The winner of this match goes on the road to face NASL Soccer Bowl champion New York Cosmos.

Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL Pro) at Tulsa Athletics (NPSL)
Tulsa Athletics Stadium – Tulsa, OK – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: RADIO
If OKC wins … vs. Arizona United SC (Site TBD)
If Tulsa wins … hosts Arizona United SC

Oklahoma City Energy Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Away: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Tulsa Athletics Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Two teams will be making their Lamar Hunt US Open Cup debuts on Wednesday when the Tulsa Athletics (NPSL) take on Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL PRO). The two teams have never met, but the two will no doubt become fierce rivals. Even though both clubs are making their tournament debuts, they come into this second round match in very different form.

The Tulsa Athletics will welcome OKC into their home stadium having won all four of the matches they have played so far this season, including claiming the inaugural Red River Cup. Penalty kicks excluded, the Athletics have outscored their opponents an astounding 20 – 3 so far. Tulsa will hope their staggering offense will push them through to the next round.

Just down the Will Rogers Turnpike, Oklahoma City Energy FC are a disappointing 2-5 in their first USL PRO season. Over those seven games, OKC only managed eight goals while conceding 13. OKC will have to find some defensive answers to stymie Tulsa’s attack if they want to advance to the third round.

Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) at Des Moines Menace (USASA)
Valley Stadium – West Des Moines, Iowa – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If Real Colorado wins … play at Minnesota United FC (NASL)
If Des Moines wins … will host Minnesota United FC (NASL)

Real Colorado Foxes Open Cup records
Overall: 1-3-0 | Away: 0-2-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2011 (Lost 4-3 at Georgia Revolution of NPSL in Round 1)
Best finish: 2011 Second Round (Lost 3-1 at Kitsap Pumas of PDL)

Des Moines Menace (USASA) Open Cup records
Overall: 0-1-0 | Home: 0-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 2-1-0
Last entry: 2011 (Lost 1-0 vs. Chicago Fire PDL in Round 1)

USL-PDL sides Real Colorado Foxes and Des Moines Menace will face each other Wednesday night in the second round of the 2014 US Open Cup. Although they play in the same league, they are in separate divisions and have never faced each other before.

Des Moines had some success in the 2013 US Open Cup as they reached the third round before falling 2-1 against MLS side Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. The Menace have not yet started their 2014 season, but did defeat local side Imperio 3-0 in a preseason friendly. Des Moines recently added a big signing in the form of former Akron University goalkeeper David Meves. Meves holds the NCAA career records for minutes played (8,608) and shutouts (54).

Real Colorado Foxes are a relatively new side, having formed in 2008. They are based out Highlands Ranch, Colo. and play in Shea Stadium (no, not THAT Shea Stadium), which can hold a capacity crowd of 3,000. The Foxes will be looking for their first competitive win of 2014 after a 0-0 draw in their season opener against Albuquerque Sol and then a 2-1 loss to the same side. The Foxes are playing in the newly formed Mountain Division with BYU Cougars, expansion side Las Vegas Mobsters, fellow US Open Cup participants FC Tucson, and Albuquerque.

The game kicks off at 7:30pm local (Central) time from West Des Moines’s Valley Stadium.

North Texas Rayados (USASA) at Austin Aztex (PDL)
House Park – Austin, TX – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) on May 28

North Texas Rayados Open Cup records
Overall: 0-2-0 | Away: 0-2-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-2-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 at Austin Aztex of PDL)

Austin Aztex Open Cup records
Overall: 1-1-0 | Home: 1-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-0-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 vs. Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro in Round 2)
Best finish: 2013 Second Round (Lost 2-0 vs. Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro)

This is a rematch of last year’s opening round between these two teams. The Aztex beat Rayados 3-0 last year, despite Aaron Guillen being sent off early in the first half. Last year’s USL-PDL champions are looking to make an impact in the US Open Cup this year. They  have a new coaching staff, as former assistant Manuel Buentello takes over for 2013 PDL Coach of the Year Paul Dalglish. The Aztex host the Rayados, a full amateur side from the North Texas Premier Soccer Association. Although they may not boast the same talent as the Aztex, they promise to give the home side a good fight on Wednesday evening.

Orange County Blues (USL Pro) at Fresno Fuego (PDL)
Chukchansi Park – Fresno, CA – 9 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
Winner plays at Sacramento Republic (USL Pro) OR Ventura County Fusion (PDL)

Orange County Blues Open Cup records
Overall: 3-3-0 | Away: 1-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 3-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-1 vs. Chivas USA of MLS in Round 3)
Best finish: Third Round (2011, 2013)

Fresno Fuego Open Cup records
Overall: 4-2-0 | Home: 2-0-0 | vs. Div. 3: 1-0-0
Last entry: 2012 (Lost 7-2 at Fort Lauderdale Strikers of NASL in Round 2)
Best finish: 2003 Fourth Round (Lost 3-1 at Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS)

Sitting in ninth place in the 16-team USL-PRO table, Orange County Blues FC heads into their match against USL-PDL side Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, Cali. as somewhat of an ambiguous side. Rauwshawn McKenzie, on loan from the Portland Timbers, will be known to hardcore MLS fans, but the rest of the Blues roster is fairly anonymous

The Fuego roster is even more anonymous, with former Chivas USA Supplemental Draft Pick Paul Islas as their most notable player. He helped lead the Fuego into the tournament proper last year as “Fresno Fuego Future,” qualifying as US Club Soccer entry after they failed to qualify through the PDL.

Counting last year, this will be Fresno’s fourth appearance in the tournament, finishing as high as the fourth round in 2003 and the second round in 2012.

Red Force (USASA) at Laredo Heat (PDL)
Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex – Laredo, TX – 9:15 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: VIDEO
Winner plays at Fort Lauderdale Strikers of NASL on May 28

Red Force Open Cup records
Overall: 1-1-0 | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 4-2 vs. Ocala Stampede of PDL)

Laredo Heat Open Cup records
Overall: 2-1-2 (0-2 PKs) | Home: 2-0-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Amateur: 2-0-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 7-6 in PKs after 1-1 draw at Fort Lauderdale Strikers of NASL in Round 2)
Best finish: Second Round (2012, 2013)

LIVE VIDEO: Red Force at Laredo Heat

Red Force, an amateur side from Miami, Fla., comes into their second-round match having already had an exciting Open Cup. The team had to fly all the way to Colorado and beat a Colorado Rovers (USSSA) team with professional experience, at altitude, at the Rovers’ home field. Their reward for this round is a somewhat shorter flight, this time to Texas, to face a Laredo Heat club gearing up for its first competitive match of the 2014 season.

The Heat enter the Open Cup representing the Mid-South Division of the PDL, where they qualified for this year’s tourney with a second-place regular season finish last year. The Heat would go on to finish 2013 as Southern Conference Finalists in the PDL playoffs.

Laredo has had modest success in the Open Cup, with an all-time record 2-2-1(0-2 in PKs). Last year, the Heat eliminated amateur club PSA Elite in the first round and then pushed the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers to their limit in their second-round match. Even while playing down a man through most of the second half, the Heat would get a late equalizer, but fall to the Strikers in penalty kicks. Oddly enough, the winner of Red Force-Laredo match will get to face the Strikers in the third round.

 

Sacramento Republic (USL Pro) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)
Ventura College; Ventura, CA – 10 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If Sacramento wins … will host Orange County Blues OR Fresno Fuego
If Ventura County wins … will host Orange County Blues OR Fresno Fuego

Sacramento Republic Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Home: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry:N/A
Best finish: N/A

Ventura County Fusion Open Cup records
Overall: 5-3-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 2-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 4-0-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 5-1 at Los Angeles Blues of USL Pro in Round 2)
Best finish: 2012 Third Round (Lost 1-0 vs. Chivas USA of MLS)

With 10 points from seven games – including just two at home – USL-PRO expansion team Sacramento Republic FC have been one of the surprises of the third division season.

Heading into Wednesday’s match against USL-PDL side Ventura County Fusion, Sacramento are heavy favorites to advance at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Cali.

Led by the lanky Adam Jahn, who has two goals in two games since being sent on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes, the Republic have a multitude of dynamic, attacking players, including former Chivas USA men Justin Braun and Rodrigo Lopez.

Ventura County Fusion defeated cup newcomers CD Aguiluchos 2-1 last Wednesday in Ventura to advance to the second round for the fourth year in a row. Their best-ever finish came in 2012, when they made it to the third round before losing 1-0 to Chivas USA.

Ventura is led by former Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest winger Peter Gregory, who scored the winning goal against Aguiluchos.

Cal FC (USASA) at LA Galaxy II (USL Pro)
StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium; Carson, CA – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NONE
If LA Galaxy II wins … they host PSA Elite (USASA)
If Cal FC wins … will play at PSA Elite (USASA)

Cal FC Open Cup records
Overall: 3-1-0 | Away: 3-1-0 | vs. Amateur: 1-0-0
Last entry: 2012 (Lost 5-0 at Seattle Sounders of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2012 Fourth Round (Lost 5-0 at Seattle Sounders of MLS)

LA Galaxy II Open Cup records
Overall: 0-0-0 | Away: 0-0-0 | vs. Amateur: 0-0-0
Last entry: N/A
Best finish: N/A

Eric Wynalda and Derby Carrillo are in Atlanta. Danny Barrera and Richard Menjivar are in San Antonio. But their grand experiment will be revived Wednesday as Cal FC returns to the US Open Cup for the first time since its famous run to the fourth round in 2012.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif-based amateur team, designed to defeat professional teams with castoffs and free agents, will visit Los
Angeles Galaxy II at the Stubhub Center in Carson in the second round Wednesday night.

Nick Webster, Wynalda’s former assistant and fellow former Fox Soccer Channel analyst, is now the head coach. Cal FC recently wrapped up a second-place finish in the Tri-County Soccer League, a Southern California men’s league.

In typically barnstorming Cal FC fashion, general manager Michael Friedman held a combine over the weekend in Simi Valley in an attempt to fortify the roster for another cup run.

“There’s going to be two or three players who I’m going to meet for the first time on Wednesday” Webster said, “and they’re going to be playing.”

Behind five goals from Chandler Hoffman, Galaxy II is second in USL Pro with a 5-1-3 record.

Eder Arreola, one of the 14 members of Cal FC’s 2012 team currently playing professionally, has made seven appearances for Galaxy II.

“We’re really looking forward to playing Eder,” Webster said. “He’s a wonderful player with one of the sweetest left foots you’ve ever seen. I’m so completely thrilled that he’s made this step.”

Cal FC defender Dylan Riley was part of the Wilmington Hammerheads team that fell to the amateur side in the second round two years ago.

“It was hard (for the Hammerheads) to get up for that kind of game,” Riley said. “You just expected to roll over this team. My teammates were kind of taking the game lightly. I was trying to tell them, ‘The guys that are on this team are all capable of playing pro and we should not take them lightly.’ I don’t think anyone really took me too seriously.”

“The one thing Cal FC had going for it is the element of surprise… That element is probably not quite there anymore, but still it’s going to be a great game.”

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