2015 US Open Cup Round 4 previews: MLS teams join the party in tournament’s signature round (video links)

Posted by | June 16, 2015

psa-elite-lineup-big-photoThe annual highlight of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is when the United States’ top division, Major League Soccer joins the competition. This year’s Fourth Round has 16 matches across Tuesday and Wednesday with all but one contest featuring MLS teams facing a lower division team. The lone game that doesn’t feature an underdog matchup is no dissappointment either as the defending champion Seattle Sounders will host their arch rivals to the south, the Portland Timbers.

Most of the games will be streamed online in some form and you’ll find all of the links down this page. You can also follow all the action via Twitter using the hashtag #USOC2015.

One thing that requires clarification: the bracket that you see on TheCup.us does not reflect the matchups for Round 5. The Fifth Round draw is scheduled for June 18.

Scroll down for previews of Wednesday’s games and click on the Schedule/Results link for match reports from Tuesday’s games.

MORE LINKS:

LIVE SCORES: Round 4 Day 2 (with video)

Notable upsets and things you should know about Round 4

2015 US Open Cup bracket

2015 US Open Cup Schedule/Results

2015 Meet the Underdogs series

2015 stat leaders

Dane Kelly of Charleston Battery wins TheCup.us Player of the Round | Past winners

The First Cup series (1913/14)

TheCup.us 2.0 launches | The origin of TheCup.us

Twitter (#USOC2015) | Facebook | Flickr | Reddit

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Columbus Crew Open Cup records
Overall: 20-12-2 (0-2 PKs) | Away: 6-6-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 5-2-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 4-2 in OT at Chicago Fire of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2002 US Open Cup champions

Richmond Kickers Open Cup records
Overall: 28-14-2 (1-1 PKs) | Home: 22-5-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 5-11-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-2 vs. New England Revolution of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 1995 US Open Cup champions

LIVE VIDEO: COLUMBUS CREW AT RICHMOND KICKERS

By Scott Wyant

Wednesday’s US Open Cup Contest will feature two teams heading in different directions; one team is on a high, the other team is looking to find itself.

Columbus Crew - Richmond Kickers 2011 3rd Round

These two teams met in 2011 with the Richmond Kickers upsetting the Columbus Crew 2-1 at Crew Stadium. Photo: Columbus Crew

Richmond plays host to the MLS side Columbus Crew in the fourth round of the tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m. The second place team in the USL’s Eastern Conference has lost just once in their last five league contests (2-1-2).

In the first two rounds of the tournament Richmond dispatched the NPSL’s Virginia Beach City FC and Jacksonville Armada FC, 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.

Columbus enters play in the US Open Cup with the rest of the MLS sides in Round 4. Although the Crew haven’t fared well as of late, 0-2-3 in their last five contests, the club has a storied Open Cup track record with one championship (2002) and two runners-up finishes (1998 and 2010).
Since 2011, Columbus is 2-2 against lower tier foes in Open Cup play, including a 2-1 loss to the Kickers in the 2011 tournament.

Wednesday evening the Crew will be looking for its first road win since Oct. 19, 2014 when the club bested the New York Red Bulls 3-1 at Red Bull Arena.

Columbus boasts the most potent scorer in MLS in Kei Kamara, who leads the league with 10 goals. The Sierra Leone native also leads MLS is shots (64) and sits second in shots on target (27).
Kamara is paired with Frederico Higuian who has four goals on the calendar and is riding a two-game scoring streak.

Although, the Crew attack begins with veteran Ethan Finley, as the midfielder leads the league in assists (8).

On the other side of the field, Richmond wins behind a strong defensive effort. As a unit Richmond holds a 1.07 goals against average, the fourth best mark in the USL. The Kickers rely on a quartet of goalkeepers with Ryan Taylor’s six appearances and 1.00 goals against average leading the club.

Offensively, veteran striker Matthew Delicâte leads the Kickers’ attack. The Englishmen has 80 career goals for the Kickers and six goals in 2015. Delicate is the club’s second-leading Open Cup goalscorer with 7. His 10 career tournament goals put him just four behind the Modern Era leader Sebastian Le Toux. However, as far as game-winning Open Cup goals go, there is no one better. Delicate is the Modern Era’s top game-winner with five.

Dynamic midfielders Brian Ownby and Jason Yeisley aide Delicâte in the attack, as the duo has combined for eight goals and five assists in their midfield roles.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Columbus Crew
First game

Richmond Kickers
Round 2: 2-0 win vs. Virginia Beach City FC (NPSL)
Round 3: 3-0 win vs. Jacksonville Armada (NASL)

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DC United Open Cup records
Overall: 30-11-4 (2-2 PKs) | Away: 8-7-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 8-2-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 1-0 at Rochester Rhinos of USL PRO in Round 4)
Best finish: 1996, 2008, 2013 US Open Cup champions

Pittsburgh Riverhounds Open Cup records
Overall: 9-10-3 (1-2 PKs) | Home: 7-2-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 1-3-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 at Chicago Fire of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2001 Quarterfinals (Lost 3-2 in OT at Chicago Fire of MLS)

LIVE VIDEO: DC UNITED AT PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS (7 p.m. ET)

By John Krysinsky

As Major League Soccer (MLS) teams begin play in the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup — one of the most fascinating matchups will be played in Pittsburgh before what will be expected to be a capacity crowd.

highmark-stadium-300x150DC United come to Highmark Stadium to take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a Round-of-32 game that features the current MLS overall points leading team against the United Soccer League’s (USL) top scoring team.

Since their new soccer-specific home opened in 2013, the Riverhounds have mounted a five-game home unbeaten streak in Open Cup competition.

Pittsburgh’s new stadium is located on the banks of the Monongahela River, with a scenic view of Downtown Pittsburgh in the backdrop. Their run of success at home in Open Cup play culminated on May 27 when Rob Vincent, the USL’s top goalscorer, broke a scoreless tie with a low-lining strike from 22 yards in the 90th minute in the third round match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL).

It was Vincent’s second goal in 2015 Open Cup, as he also scored in Pittsburgh’s second round, 3-0 win over West Virginia Chaos. Vincent has been a constant threat all season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

Heading into their second-ever encounter (DC won 2-1, at Maryland Soccerplex in the 2003 US Open Cup), each team will be looking to bounce back from tough league losses this past weekend.

The Riverhounds’ (4-4-4 in USL) six game unbeaten streak in all competitions came to a halt after a 2-1 road loss at Charlotte on Saturday. The United (8-5-4 in MLS) traveled to Orlando City on Sunday, losing their second consecutive game, 1-0, for the first time since last August.

The United, three-time Open Cup Champs, have been without numerous regular starters, as defender Sean Franklin, attacker Chris Pontius and midfielder Michael Farfan sat out the Orlando City game. Midfielder Markus Halsti was also away playing in Euro 2016 qualifier for his home country Finland.

The Riverhounds are without top goalkeeper Ryan Thompson (Jamaica) — as he is with the Reggae Boyz at the Copa America competition in Chile.

The United will have to play close attention to Vincent, and his fellow U.K. midfield mate Kevin Kerr (4 G, 4 A) who’ve been the USL’s most dynamic scoring combination for a team that has scored a league-high 27 goals this season. The Hounds are led by USL Hall of Fame coach Mark Steffens, who is in his first year in Pittsburgh after directing the Charlotte Eagles to two league titles and nine championship game appearances in 18 seasons.

While the Hounds score a lot — they’ve been suspect defensively at times this year. The United, who lifted the Cup in 2013, will likely look to test Pittsburgh’s struggling back line that has surrendered USL league leading 23 goals. The Riverhounds will have their hands full with quality attackers that the United can throw at them, including Pontius, Fabian Espindola and Colin Rolfe, depending on who gets the start.

It will be interesting to see what type of line-up D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen will feature with a quick turnaround from Sunday’s loss, and with the fact he’s been juggling lineups all season due to injuries. Despite their consecutive losses, the United feature a deep roster that has featured 14 different starting combinations in 17 games played in 2015.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

DC United
First game

Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Round 2: 3-0 win vs. West Virginia Chaos (PDL)
Round 3: 1-0 win vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)

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New York City FC Open Cup records
Overall: N/A (First entry)
Last entry: N/A (First entry)
Best finish: N/A (First entry)

New York Cosmos Open Cup records
Overall: 3-1-0 | Home: 3-0-0 | vs. MLS: 1-1-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 in OT at Philadelphia Union of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2014 Fifth Round (Lost 2-1 in OT at Philadelphia Union of MLS)

LIVE VIDEO: NYCFC AT NEW YORK COSMOS

By Brian Venard

The New York Cosmos defeated the Brooklyn Italians 2-0 in their US Open Cup debut. Photo: New York Cosmos

The New York Cosmos defeated the Brooklyn Italians 2-0 in their US Open Cup debut. Photo: New York Cosmos

You couldn’t write a better script for a Fourth Round match between the New York Cosmos and New York City FC. The Cosmos finished the spring season of the NASL undefeated, winning five and drawing five. On the other hand, NYCFC, the expansion MLS side, is starting to pull itself together, winning its last two league matches. While a few weeks ago this match, at least on paper, would have seen the Cosmos as the favorite, but with the recent resurgence of NYCFC, it’s anyone’s game.

The Cosmos are only 1 of 2 teams left in the Cup from the NASL, so they will surely have the support of the rest of the league entering the match. Something that would surely help the side get into Round 5 would be a solid performance by Leo Fernandes, who got a goal and an assist in the Cosmos 3-0 3rd round win against Jersey Express (PDL). If the past is any indication, the Cosmos high tempo offence will be very effective against NYCFC, as proven in NYCFC’s match against the Red Bulls a few weeks ago.

The Cosmos had their first taste of the tournament last year when they dominated two-time Open Cup champion Brooklyn Italians 2-0 and followed that up with a dominant 3-0 defeat of the New York Red Bulls. With a win over a MLS team under their belt in their debut season, they nearly had a second but a disputed penalty kick call was the difference in a 2-1 extra time loss to the Philadelphia Union.

NYCFC will be taking this cup tie very seriously according to manager Jason Kreis. The talent on the first year side is immense, and if they can continue to perform the way they have in their last two matches, they can certainly advance into the Fifth Round. But the Cosmos have stated for months that the Open Cup is a top priority for them as well, which is backed up by head coach Gio Savarese saying that former Spanish international Raul will play in the game. The one thing holding the side back from greatness is their back four, while it has been improving recently, it’s far from perfect, and NYCFC will be looking to exploit this weakness.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

New York City FC
First game

New York Cosmos
Round 3: 3-0 win vs. Jersey Express (PDL)

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Orlando City SC Open Cup records
Overall: 12-6-0 | Away: 3-5-0 | vs. Div. 3: 1-0-0
As MLS: N/A (First entry)
Last entry: 2014 (as USL PRO) (Lost 5-2 at Colorado Rapids of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2013 Quarterfinals (Lost 5-1 at Chicago Fire of MLS)

Charleston Battery Open Cup records
Overall: 28-13-5 (3-2 PKs) | Home: 23-6-4 (2-2 PKs) | vs. MLS: 7-11-3 (2-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Drew 2-2, Lost 12-11 PKs vs. Orlando City U23s of PDL in Round 3)
Best finish: 2008 Runner-up

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

LIVE VIDEO: ORLANDO CITY AT CHARLESTON BATTERY

By Ron Bowers

The Orlando City Soccer Club is headed to Charleston, SC to face the Charleston Battery in the 4th round of the 2015 US Open Cup.

A late comeback victory in the third round against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers secured the Battery’s match-up with one of the hottest teams in the MLS so far this season. The Battery would score two goals in the final 17 minutes to take the 3-2 victory. Dane Kelly was named TheCup.us Player of the Round for his performance. He had an assist and the game-winning goal. Kelly’s goal marked his 5th consecutive year with a goal in the Open Cup. The achievement tied the record for most consecutive years with a goal in the Modern Era.

Orlando City is in their first season as a MLS franchise but it doesn’t show. Orlando is 5-5-5 this season which puts them in third place of the Eastern Conference. They have not lost in five matches. Their most recent match ended in a victory over Eastern Conference leader DC United. Orlando City is led by Kaka. The name may sound familiar because it is. Kaka has been playing with the Brazilian national team for over a decade and was a part of the 2002 World Cup championship team. So far this season Kaka has been a great offensive force for Orlando with seven goals in 15 games. His seven goals are tied for 3rd in MLS. Cyle Larin follows closely behind with five goals for the new club.

The format for the US Open Cup is set up so that MLS teams are matched against lower league teams starting in the Fourth Round. The matches are set by geographic location and the home team is determined by a coin flip for each match in each round. The Battery, who plays in the United Soccer League, began their tournament play in the Second Round against Miami United FC and finished with a 1-0 victory before defeating Fort Lauderdale.

As should be expected, the addition of the MLS teams to the field dramatically increases the level of competition. Given that fact, it is hard to predict how the Battery will fare against Orlando. A few things could give clues as to how the match will turn out. First, the Battery has been playing in this tournament for many years. Their best run was a trip to the 2008 Final. DC United would win that game 2-1. In the pre-season, Orlando City managed a 1-1 draw against Charleston. The Battery also had a preseason match against the Houston Dynamo of MLS that Charleston won 1-0.

The Battery looks to extend their tournament run while Orlando looks for their first win as a MLS franchise in the world’s second-longest continually-running cup competition.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Orlando City SC
First game

Charleston Battery
Round 2: 1-0 vs. Miami United (NPSL)
Round 3: 3-2 win vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)

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Charlotte Independence Open Cup records
Overall: 2-0-0 | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: N/A (First entry)
Best finish: N/A (First entry)

New England Revolution Open Cup records
Overall: 14-10-4 (2-2 PKs) | Home: 10-3-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 5-1-2 (1-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-0 at Philadelphia Union of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: 2007 US Open Cup champions

LIVE VIDEO: CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE AT NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

By Justin Churchill

Fresh off an important league victory over Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium this weekend, the New England Revolution will look to start its inclusion in the US Open Cup with a bang.

The 2007 Open Cup champions will host the Charlotte Independence at Harvard Stadium in Boston. Ryan Finley’s lone goal gave Charlotte an impressive 1-0 win over the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, the club’s first road win in all competitions. However, the visitors will likely play tight against a very deep Revolution offense.

Charlotte, an expansion team from the USL that replaced the Charlotte Eagles who self-relegated itself to the Premier Development League, will be heading north following a solid 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday. The win pulls the Independence, who are currently 3-4-3 in league play, within four points of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently held by the Riverhounds. Luckily for Charlotte, they have two games in hand over Pittsburgh. Expect the team to put out the best available lineup featuring co-leading goalscorers Finley and Jorge Herrera.

Revolution head coach Jay Heaps mentioned that everyone should expect to see players like recent homegrown signing Zach Herivaux, who will be hungry to make a good impression in his first ever professional appearance. The team has a lot of promising offensive players who really haven’t featured this season under Heaps, expect players like Sean Okoli and Steve Neumann to be eager to prove something.

Defensive depth will be a real concern for New England, as injuries leave the team thin with a big game against DC United looming next weekend. There is the potential for both Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves to feature at center back, a proposition that will not be ideal for Heaps. This will lead to New England having a very experienced back four, which will not be ideal for Charlotte.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

New England Revolution
First game

Charlotte Independence
Round 2: 4-1 win vs. Upward Stars (NPSL)
Round 3: 1-0 win at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)

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Austin Aztex Open Cup records
Overall: 3-1-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 4-4, 4-2 in PKs vs. NTX Rayados of USASA in Round 1)
Best finish (as PDL): 2013 Second Round (Lost 2-0 vs. Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro)

Houston Dynamo Open Cup records
Overall: 7-7-1 (0-1 PKs) | Home: 5-2-0 | vs. Div. 3: N/A
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-2 in OT vs. FC Dallas in Round 5
)Best finish: 2012 Fourth Round (Lost 2-1 in OT vs. Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro)

LIVE VIDEO: AUSTIN AZTEX AT HOUSTON DYNAMO

By Justin Jerkins

Save for two semifinal appearances (2006, 2009) several years ago, the Houston Dynamo tend not to find success in the US Open Cup. That feeling also resonates with their fourth round USL opponent, Austin Aztex, who haven’t advanced past the second round since 2010. Both teams enter their Wednesday night matchup seeking to escape the shadow of past results.

Austin, led by their manager, former Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish, comes to Houston with a 7-7-1 (0-1 PKs) Open Cup record and two Round of 16 appearances. Their previous round match, a 2-0 win over NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions, came just days before historic Texas flooding damaged the Aztex’s stadium, leaving the team to scramble for alternate fields. Since, Austin has been a three game road trip that came to an end Sunday night, with a 3-1 loss in Portland. Austin has seen mixed results this season, sitting tied for sixth in USL’s Western Conference thanks to six goals from forward Kris Tyrpak.

Houston enters the Open Cup with a new head coach for the first time. While urging fans that he will take the tournament seriously, coach Owen Coyle faces lineup roulette as players begin departing the team for international squads in summer tournaments. The Dynamo sit seventh in the Western Conference but are on the rise, led by Will Bruin who has scored six goals in the previous five matches. Most recently, Bruin tallied another in a comprehensive home victory over the New York Red Bulls, 4-2.

Houston have struggled in the Open Cup under the reign of former coach Dominic Kinnear, previously posting a 3-2 loss to MLS rival FC Dallas in the 2014 Open Cup. The last time that the Dynamo failed to beat a lower division opponent was 2012, against the San Antonio Scorpions. An energized Owen Coyle will look to advance past the fourth round for only the third time in club history.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Houston Dynamo
First game

Austin Aztex
Round 2: 2-0 win vs. Laredo Heat (PDL)
Round 3: 2-0 win at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)

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PSA Elite Open Cup records
Overall: 5-3-2 (2-0 PKs) | Away: 3-3-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 5-0 at Seattle Sounders of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2014 Fourth Round (Lost 5-0 to Seattle Sounders of MLS)

Los Angeles Galaxy Open Cup records
Overall: 23-12-1 (1-0 PKs) | Home: 16-2-0 | vs. Amateur: 3-0-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 1-0 in OT at Carolina RailHawks of NASL in Round 5)
Best finish: 2001, 2005 US Open Cup champions

LIVE VIDEO: PSA ELITE AT LA GALAXY

By Josh Hakala

Most years in the US Open Cup, one team emerges as the Cinderella story for that particular year. However, it’s pretty rare that it’s the same team two years in a row. The PSA Elite from Southern California are the first USASA club to reach the Fourth Round of the tournament in back-to-back seasons, giving themselves a second chance at upsetting a Major League Soccer team. After getting shut out by the Seattle Sounders, the 2014 champion, this year’s task may be even more difficult as they will face the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center.

Photo: PSA Elite

Photo: PSA Elite

USASA teams upsetting MLS teams is extremely rare (only 7 USASA teams have even advanced far enough to play an MLS team), but it’s certainly not impossible. This has been proven by Dallas Roma FC, who eliminated Chivas USA in penalty kicks in 2006 and Cal FC who knocked off the Portland Timbers 1-0 in extra time in 2012.

Professional teams who field weakened lineups against amateur clubs have been known to pay for it, and the Galaxy have been a recent example of that. Call it the David Beckham effect. After losing 3-1 in the 2006 US Open Cup Final to the Chicago Fire, the Beckham arrived in Los Angeles the following season ushering in the designated player era of MLS. Since then, the Galaxy have made it clear that the Open Cup isn’t the club’s top priority and the results have proven that as they haven’t won multiple games in a single tournament since that 2006 season, including failing to qualify twice (2008, 2009).

That’s six straight tournaments without winning more than one game, and most embarrassing has been their three consecutive losses to the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL. Could last year’s 1-0 extra time loss to Carolina signal a change in the club’s approach to the tournament? While the result didn’t go their way, the Galaxy fielded a first-team starting lineup, and even brought Landon Donovan off the bench. Was it a sign of things to come or were they just desperate to not lose to the RailHawks for a third straight year?

The Galaxy are currently sitting in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 5-5-7 record. The defending champs are winless in their last three matches (0-1-2) with their most recent outing finishing in a 1-1 draw on the road in Columbus on Saturday. After the PSA Elite game on Wednesday, they will return to league play with a home game against the Phildadelphia Union on Saturday, so expect some lineup shuffling as the team looks to balance fitness with a competitive roster capable of beating one of the best amateur teams in the country.

The Galaxy organization are probably fairly familiar with many of the players on the PSA Elite roster as many of them are local college stars. Five of the 11 players PSA Elite started last year in that match against Seattle are back and healthy this season. Former US youth internationals Aaron Simmons, Nathan Smith and Michael Amick, will join Belize international Michael Salazar and UC Irvine standout Mats Bjurman on the new-look roster. Salazar has been the standout for the club as he is tied for the tournament lead with four assists to go along with two goals. Bjurman is one behind the tournament lead in goals with three.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

LA Galaxy
First game

PSA Elite
Round 1: 7-1 win vs. Golden State Misioneros (PDL)
Round 2: 2-1 win at Orange County Blues (USL)
Round 3: 2-1 win at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)

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LIVE VIDEO: ROCHESTER RHINOS AT PHILADELPHIA UNION (7:30 p.m. ET)

Rochester Rhinos Open Cup records
Overall: 34-16-5 (3-2 PKs) | Away: 4-9-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 8-14-4 (2-2 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 at New England Revolution of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 1999 US Open Cup champions

Philadelphia Union Open Cup records
Overall: 7-3-1 (1-0 PKs) | Home: 6-2-0 | vs. Div. 3: 3-0-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-1 in OT vs. Seattle Sounders of MLS in Final)
Best finish: 2014 Runner-up

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Michael Berton

Philadelphia's Sebastien Le Toux is the Modern Era's leading goalscorer with 14. Photo: Kari Haffelfinger for TheCup.us

Philadelphia’s Sebastien Le Toux is the Modern Era’s leading goalscorer with 14. Photo: Kari Haffelfinger for TheCup.us

The Philadelphia Union and Rochester Rhinos may be two divisions apart in the American soccer pyramid, but their US Open Cup Fourth Round match-up on Tuesday could prove to be a tougher battle than their league positions would suggest.

Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union has not gotten off to the best of starts in league play, to put it mildly. The Union are seventh in a 10-team Eastern Conference at 4-9-3, but based on points per game, the MLS side is next-to-last in the entire league. A recent good run of three wins out of four was tempered by a 2-1 loss to league bottom-feeders NYCFC. Philadelphia had a bye week this past weekend, but won its last contest, a 1-0 friendly victory over the PDL’s Reading United.

The Rochester Rhinos of the United Soccer League, on the other hand, are undefeated through 12 league games this season. At 8-0-4, the Rhinos have already built a solid 4-point cushion over the next best teams in the league. On Saturday, Rochester won at home 2-0 against Louisville City. The USL side has given up just four goals in 12 games this year.

Based on just league form, it may appear as if Rochester has the advantage, but the Union will remain favorites based on being in a better league, having home-field advantage, and due to recent Open Cup history.

Rochester, the 1999 US Open Cup champions, are the only non-MLS team to win the tournament since America’s top division started competing in 1996, and the Rhinos also sport a solid 8-14-4 (2-2 in PKs) against MLS sides in the tournament, but the Union have made the Open Cup a priority the past few years.

Philadelphia are 3-0 against USL teams since they first entered the tournament in 2012, and last year were in a similar league situation before going on a run to the Open Cup Final, eventually losing 3-1 to the Seattle Sounders. And, in 2012, the Union beat the Rhinos 3-0 in the Open Cup – the two teams’ only previous meeting. The Union also have Sebastian Le Toux, who is the all-time leading goal scorer in the Modern Era of the cup (1995-present) with 14 goals.

Will league form lead to an upset, or will the Union continue its recent Open Cup success? The only way to find out is to follow the game at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Philadelphia Union
First game

Rochester Rhinos
Round 2: 1-0 win vs. GBFC Thunder (NPSL)
Round 3: 3-1 OT win at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)

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LIVE VIDEO: ATLANTA SILVERBACKS AT NY RED BULLS (7:30 p.m. ET)

Atlanta Silverbacks Open Cup records
Overall: 11-10-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 6-6-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 2-5-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-1 vs. Chicago Fire of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: Quarterfinals (1995, 2014)

New York Red Bulls Open Cup records
Overall: 15-16-1 (1-0 PKs) | Home: 6-5-0 | vs. Div. 2: 4-5-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-0 at New York Cosmos of NASL in Round 4)
Best finish: 2003 Runner-up

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Romulo Vieira

On Tuesday night the New York Red Bulls make their 2015 US Open Cup debut against the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks at Red Bull Arena.

In recent years, the Red Bulls have decided to play a team full of reserve players during this stage of the tournament. While it might seem like a good idea in the early stages, it has kept the Red Bulls from advancing further in the tournament. The Red Bulls have been eliminated in their first or second game of the Open Cup in seven straight tournaments. Last year the Red Bulls were eliminated in the fourth round after losing to the New York Cosmos 3-0 in the first ever encounter between the two New York-area teams. This year however, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch has assured everyone that the US Open Cup is a priority.

The Red Bulls will be going into this game after losing 4-2 to the Houston Dynamo away from home on June 6. After a strong start to the MLS season, where they were able to stay in first place for a couple of weeks, the Red Bulls currently find themselves in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Atlanta Silverbacks reached the fourth round after defeating the NPSL’s Chattanooga FC 2-1 after extra time away from home. It has been a tough year so far for the Atlanta Silverbacks. After playing ten games in the NASL they have only managed one win and currently find themselves in last place. They’ll need goals if they want to get past the Red Bulls, but this season so far they’ve only managed to score seven of them, making them the second-worst offensive team in the league.

History is not on the side of Atlanta as the club has only won multiple games in a single tournament twice (2007, 2014). Last year could certainly be interpreted as a sign of things to come, or a fluke, depending on your viewpoint, as they knocked off a pair of MLS teams (Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids) before falling to the Chicago Fire in the Quarterfinals.

On Saturday they took on the Tampa Bay Rowdies and it was another tough night for the Silverbacks. They suffered their fourth loss of the season after losing 3-0 to the Rowdies. A win against an MLS side on Tuesday would definitely boost the teams’ moral, but it won’t be an easy task especially if the Red Bulls decide to keep their word and play a strong side.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

New York Red Bulls
First game

Atlanta Silverbacks
Round 3: 2-1 OT win at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)

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Saint Louis FC Open Cup records
Overall: 1-0-1 (1-0 PKs) | Away: N/A | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: N/A
Best finish: N/A

Sporting Kansas City Open Cup records
Overall: 17-12-4 (2-2 PKs) | Home: 12-7-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 2-3-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-1 vs. Portland Timbers of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2004, 2012 US Open Cup champions

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO | RADIO

By Matthew DeWitt

It’s the I-90 rivalry, and it could not come at a better point for both teams.

In the fourth round of the US Open Cup, the Kansas/Missouri border battle heats up, as United Soccer League’s Saint Louis FC plays its first game in a Major League Soccer stadium against Sporting Kansas City.

Two-time Open Cup champion Sporting KC (2004, 2012) comes in riding a seven-game unbeaten streak – including a win in its last game played on June 6. The 1-0 result over league-leading Seattle Sounders, punctuated by a Benny Feilhaber penalty kick late in the game, came in front of a raucous crowd of over 21,000 fans. Early ticket sales have indicated Tuesday’s game will feature a similar amount crammed into Sporting Park which would threaten the Modern Era’s record for the round (15,981 in 2013 – Orlando City SC at Sporting Kansas City)

Saint Louis FC is also coming in with an unbeaten streak, having posted six games without a loss. In its most recent game, Saint Louis played to a 1-1 draw against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Sam Fink provided the equalizer in the 70th minute, nodding home a cross from Charles Renken.

Brian Gaul will be forced from the lineup for Saint Louis. The team’s leading scorer was sent off late in the third round game against Minnesota United FC, North American Soccer League participant and recent recipient of a Major League Soccer bid. Gaul tied the game on a penalty kick in regulation, but was ejected before the shootout to determine a winner. His side converted all three of its kicks to defeat the Loons, 3-1 on penalties.

According to TheCup.us records, this marks the first time since 1987 that the US Open Cup has featured a St. Louis vs. Kansas City matchup. That year, Busch SC defeated the KC Soccers 4-2 in the opening round. Busch SC would eventually reach the Semifinals that year.

The winner will learn its fate on June 18, when the fifth-round pairings are announced, with the games being played on either June 30 or July 1.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Sporting Kansas City
First game

Saint Louis FC
Round 2: 2-1 OT win vs. Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Round 3: 1-1 draw vs. Minnesota United FC (NASL) (Advanced 3-1 in PKs)

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Louisville City FC Open Cup records
Overall: 2-0-0 | Away: 2-0-0 | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: N/A (First entry)
Best finish: N/A (First entry)

Chicago Fire Open Cup records
Overall: 34-12-3 (2-1 PKs) | Home: 20-1-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 9-1-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 6-0 at Seattle Sounders of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 US Open Cup champions

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Jeff Engelhardt

Louisville City FC will get a chance to make a big statement Tuesday during its first competitive match against a MLS opponent as the USL side takes on one of the most successful clubs in US Open Cup history – the Chicago Fire.

Photo: Chicago Fire

Photo: Chicago Fire

Louisville has made an impressive splash as a professional club, starting its inaugural season with a five-game unbeaten streak and responding with another 5-game unbeaten streak after its first loss. Lousiville suffered only its second loss of the domestic season Saturday, dropping a 2-0 decision to the unbeaten Rochester Rhinos to move to 5-2-5 on the year.

In Open Cup play, the team started its debut campaign all on the road with a 1-0 win over NPSL side Lansing United. Louisville notched its only goal of the game when a Charlie Adams shot took a deflection off a Lansing player and found the back of the net. The team followed its May 20 victory with an upset as it went to Indianapolis a week later an took a 2-0 extra time victory from NASL side Indy Eleven.

A gritty Louisville side finally broke through in the 115th minute with a Nate Pollack strike from about 18 yards out. Four minutes later, Sidney Rivera pounced on a rebound from a Juan Guzman shot to secure the victory and a spot in the U.S. Open Cup fourth round.

Louisville is led by former MLS player and Chicago Fire striker Matt Fondy who recorded five goals and two assists in 10 league games. England native James O’Connor mans the sidelines after a successful playing career that took him to well-known clubs such as Stoke City and Burnley before ending his career at Orlando City.

Louisville has one other Chicago Fire connection outside of Fondy in recent loanee Collin Fernandez. The 18-year-old midfielder was loaned out by the Fire a couple weeks ago.
Chicago Fire (MLS) but has since been recalled to the MLS side due to a lack of roster depth.

City are attempting to build on their inaugural cup run as they are the first Kentucky-based club to win a tournament game since 1993 (Louisville Soccer Alliance).

The Chicago Fire lost a share of its King of the Cup moniker to Seattle last year after the Sounders claimed its MLS record-tying fourth Cup in the Modern Era. While the Men in Red will be eager to make another championship run and claim an all-time record tying fifth cup, they will need to avoid carrying over their run of form in MLS.

The Fire have dropped three straight games in MLS play and sit in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. The most recent loss came Saturday against New England in a 2-0 shutout. Chicago’s first Open Cup game of 2015 could have an extra challenge as the team will likely be without midfielders Shaun Maloney and David Accam as well as defender Joevin Jones – all of whom are coming back from their respective national teams.

Despite domestic league struggles, Chicago could have a deep run in the Cup tournament if 2014 is an indicator. Despite winning only six games in 2014, the Fire managed to reach the semifinals of the Open Cup by dispatching the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Columbus Crew and Atlanta Silverbacks before receiving a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Seattle.

The Fire are led by midfielder Harry Shipp who has a team-high five assists and 32 shots on goal while captain Jeff Larentowicz and Accam are tied with four goals each. Frank Yallop is in his second season as manager for Chicago.

Should the upstart Louisville side pull off the upset Tuesday in Toyota Park, it would be only the second time the Fire have lost a Cup game in Illinois as the team boasts a 24-1-1 Open Cup record in the state.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Chicago Fire
First game

Louisville City FC
Round 2: 1-0 win at Lansing United (NPSL)
Round 3: 2-0 OT win at Indy Eleven (NASL)

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Oklahoma City Energy FC Open Cup records
Overall: 3-1-0 | Away: 3-1-0 | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 in OT at Arizona United of USL Pro in Round 3)
Best finish: 2014 Third Round (Lost 2-1 in OT at Arizona United of USL Pro)

FC Dallas Open Cup records
Overall: 26-15-5 (4-1 PKs) | Home: 15-6-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 3-2-0
Last entry: 2014 (Drew 1-1, Lost 4-3 in PKs vs. Philadelphia Union of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 1997 US Open Cup champions

BROADCAST: NONE
(Note: According to FC Dallas, the TCU Soccer Stadium doesn’t have the capability to stream live video. The team is hosting there because Toyota Stadium is undergoing turf maintenance

By Adam Uthe

You can now add soccer to the list of sports that bring out the underrated rivalry between the states of Texas and Oklahoma. On Tuesday FC Dallas will make the (relatively) short trip from their home in Frisco to Fort Worth where they will welcome USL side Oklahoma City Energy to Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University.

Blas Perez scored the third hat trick in FC Dallas' US Open Cup history in a 5-2 win over the Carolina RailHawks in 2014. Photo: FC Dallas

Blas Perez scored the third hat trick in FC Dallas’ US Open Cup history in a 5-2 win over the Carolina RailHawks in 2014. Photo: FC Dallas

The two teams find themselves headed in two completely different directions heading into Tuesday’s matchup. FC Dallas fell to the Seattle Sounders 3-0 on Saturday to extend their current winless streak to five games. They currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, OKC defeated the Tulsa Roughnecks 2-0 on Saturday to earn their seventh consecutive win. The win also marked goalkeeper Evan Newton’s fifth consecutive clean sheet. OKC now find themselves in first place in the Western Conference.

The two sides have never met before, but OKC head coach Jimmy Nielsen will remember a thing or two about FC Dallas from his days with Sporting Kansas City in MLS. OKC midfielder Mikey Lopez is also familiar with FC Dallas. Lopez was born in Dallas and made eight appearances for Sporting Kansas City in 2014. Energy defender Cyprian Hedrick also has MLS experience with Sporting KC as he is a former draft pick of theirs from 2012. The Energy are the USL affiliate of Sporting Kansas City.

Dallas may be approaching 20 years since the last time the club lifted an Open Cup trophy (1997) but they remain one of the most consistent teams in the country. No team has more Quarterfinal appearances (14) and only the Chicago Fire (10) and DC United (9) have more Semifinal appearances than Dallas (8).

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

FC Dallas
First game

Oklahoma City Energy
Round 2: 3-1 win at Midland/Odessa Sockers (PDL)
Round 3: 1-0 win at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)

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Colorado Springs Switchbacks Open Cup records
Overall: 2-0-0 | Away: 1-0-0 | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: N/A (First entry)
Best finish: N/A (First entry)

Colorado Rapids Open Cup records
Overall: 10-14-0 | Home: 4-1-0 | vs. Div. 3: 1-2-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL in Round 5)
Best finish: 1999 Runner-up

BROADCAST: ONLINE AUDIO

Colorado Springs Switchbacks make the 75-mile trip north to the Denver area to face the Colorado Rapids in the first meeting between the two professional Centennial State clubs in the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup.

Photo: Colorado Springs Switchbacks

Photo: Colorado Springs Switchbacks

Back in December of 2013, the United Soccer League (USL) made two major announcements weeks apart. The first was the announcement of the MLS-USL partnership that instituted the concept of partner clubs between the two leagues; similar but different to the relation of Major League Baseball and AAA baseball clubs. The second announcement was a new franchise expansion awarded to a Colorado Springs ownership group. Just as quickly as the obvious speculation of a Switchbacks-Rapids partnership grew, Rapids President Tim Hinchey squashed all rumors with a quick statement, telling the Denver Post that “We [Rapids] have no relationship with that club,” later announcing a partnership with the Charlotte Independence.

Colorado Rapids decision not to recruit the Colorado Springs Switchbacks as their USL partner gives this matchup a new dimension; the beginning of a new rivalry in Colorado sports, the first in-state rivalry between two professional teams of this kind.

The Rapids enter this year’s tournament eager to erase the memory of their 2014 Open Cup dismissal when the Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) blindsided Pablo Mastroeni’s squad with an outrageous 2-1 victory marred by numerous extended delays, ejections and fights. The extracurricular madness of last year’s upset aside, the defeat to Atlanta was a classic case of a stronger first division side that played well out of their back line, held possession but was defeated by a stifling, at times lucky, defense and timely counterattacks. Since that game, the Rapids have been in perpetual state of frustration failing to find consistent goal scorers or the ability to close out close games in MLS league play, compiling a dismal 4-17-12 record in MLS since last year’s elimination.

In effort to break their offensive struggles, the Rapids have added Irish and Argentinean strikers Kevin Doyle and Luis Solignac this summer. The two strikers along with Panama international Gaby Torres have shown moments of quality but are yet to find any consistent synergy up top.

The Rapids offensive frustrations cannot be summed up any better than the example of star playmaker Dillon Powers, who recently missed a decisive 89th-minute penalty kick away at Salt Lake in MLS league play. With 11 days off between the disastrous ending in their last league game and this Open Cup match, it is safe to assume that the Rapids will be itching to get back on the field and reset their morale.

Despite the offensive struggles, the Rapids backline has been stellar, allowing only 11 goals in 14 MLS league matches. Led by rookie center back Alex Sjöberg, veteran Drew Moor, and five-time Open Cup champion James Riley, the Rapids should be feeling confident going into this match.

On the other side of the field, the Switchbacks are the perfect team to give the Rapids a good test in the Open Cup. Switchbacks head coach Steve Trittschuh (a former Rapids defender, captain, and assistant coach himself) is very familiar with the team. Recent Rapids squad players Davy Armstrong and Aaron King should look to feature against their old team.

The visitors are currently surging in the USL Western Conference, winning in seven of the last eight in all competitions. Trittschuh’s squad is led by an explosive attacking foursome comprised of King, Marty Maybin, Luke Vercollone, and Miguel Gonzalez. They have made a habit of pressuring the opposition early and scoring often. With 25 goals in 12 games, they rank second in scoring among the 24 USL teams. Whether the Switchbacks backline, who have been less than dominant, can hold off the struggling yet talented Rapids attack will be the deciding factor in this matchup.

Heading into the match, it should be noted that Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni and left back Marc Burch will be serving one-game suspensions following red cards in last year’s tournament. Assistant coach and former Argentine national team player Claudio Lopez is likely to be in charge of the Rapids bench.

The Rapids are hoping this is the year they end an unfortunate Modern Era record. The club has not won multiple games in a single US Open Cup since they were runners-up in 1999. That includes 11 tournament entries without back-to-back wins.

It is likely that we see a high-scoring, entertaining match. If the Rapids are able to keep the visitors off the scoreboard early in the match, then they should like the chances getting some momentum behind their attack. Conversely, the Switchbacks should look to follow the path of previous Open Cup upsets by absorbing and frustrating the Rapids attack and picking their moments to counter-attack.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Colorado Rapids
First game

Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Round 2: 2-1 win vs. Harpo’s FC (USSSA)
Round 3: 1-0 win at Real Monarchs (USL)

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Seattle Sounders 2 Open Cup records
Overall: 2-0-0 | Away: N/A | vs. MLS: N/A
Last entry: N/A (First entry)
Best finish: N/A (First entry)

Real Salt Lake Open Cup records
Overall: 6-6-0 | Home: 6-3-0 | vs. MLS: 1-3-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 at Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL in Round 4)
Best finish: 2013 Runner-up

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Shawn Blymiller

Flashback to October 1, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake was playing for their first ever Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title and were considered the heavy favorites. They faced off against DC United who were struggling in league play. DC came into Rio Tinto and stole the result that night to rob a spot in the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League. The memory of that loss at home has lingered in the minds of RSL fans and presumably of the players as well.
Tonight, Real Salt Lake will play host to the visiting USL side Seattle Sounders 2, in the Fourth Round of the Open Cup tournament. Remember, this is the oldest tournament in American Soccer with this being the 102nd edition.

There are 91 teams that qualified for entrance into this competition with 32 teams remaining. One of the best USL teams is the Seattle Sounders FC 2 with a record of 7-4-2 in league play. S2, as many are calling them, have arrived at the Fourth Round with extra time wins over the Kitsap Pumas (PDL) and Portland Timbers 2 (USL). Pablo Rossi is leading the team with three goals, which is just one off the tournament lead. Andy Craven has been another standout for them with two goals in Open Cup play, to go along with five goals and four assists in USL league play. Here he is speaking about their latest win over Los Angeles Galaxy 2 Los Dos:

You also have Pablo Rossi has four league goals for S2 with 4 goals for S2. It will be interesting to see if forward Darwin Jones will showcase for S2 since he is a first team player loaned to the USL side. If Jones, who has five league goals, plays for the USL team, he will be cup tied and unable to play for the senior team later in the tournament.

Real Salt Lake is looking to build some momentum for this season as they currently sit second from the bottom of the Western Conference with 18 points and a record of 4-5-6. The winner of the Open Cup wins a bid into the prestigious CONCACAF Champions League tournament. RSL has put up a record of 6-6-0 in Open Cup Competition over the years.

“You want to win any tournament there is,” midfielder Luis Gil said. “Any opponent you have in front of you, you want to win, so it’s going to be important, every single game from here on out.”

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Real Salt Lake
First game

Seattle Sounders 2
Round 2: 4-2 OT win vs. Kitsap Pumas (PDL)
Round 3: 2-1 OT win vs. Portland Timbers 2 (USL)

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Sacramento Republic Open Cup records
Overall: 4-1-0 | Away: 0-1-0 | vs. MLS: 0-1-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 2-1 at San Jose Earthquakes of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2014 Fourth Round (Lost 2-1 at San Jose Earthquakes of MLS)

San Jose Earthquakes Open Cup records
Overall: 11-8-5 (2-3 PKs) | Home: 4-4-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. Div. 3: 2-2-0
Last entry: 2014 (Drew 1-1, Lost 4-1 in PKs at Seattle Sounders of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 2004 Semifinals (Lost 1-0 at Kansas City Wizards of MLS)

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Evan Ream

Sacramento Republic FC will look to get revenge against their MLS affiliate in name only, the San Jose Earthquakes, Tuesday night at the brand new 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium.

Last year, at the famed Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, also in the Fourth Round, the Republic went up on the Earthquakes thanks to a goal from captain Justin Braun, before ultimately falling 2-1.

The Republic themselves come into the match off a comeback victory, having beaten Arizona United SC 2-1 on the road after falling down to a goal in just the 10th minute.

The player who scored the winning goal in that match, new signing Danny Barerra, who will not be available for selection as he is cup-tied to USASA club Cal FC.

That victory over Arizona United was the first for the Republic in four games as the club struggled to produce offensively with its best player, Rodrigo Lopez, serving a three-match suspension for violent conduct.

Lopez, who scored in the Republic’s Third Round 7-3 victory over Chula Vista FC, will be available Tuesday.

Sacramento also scored a second round 4-2 victory over the Sonoma County Sol in order to advance in the Open Cup. Thomas Stewart scored a hat trick against the Sol, while Adnan Gabeljic answered with three goals of his own against Chula Vista. It marked the first time in the Modern Era (1995-present) that two players from the same team had hat tricks in back-to-back games.

San Jose is entering the tournament in this round, having not played since a scoreless draw on Sunday, June 7.

The club currently sits in 8th place in MLS’s Western Conference, with 19 points from 14 games.

After beating the Republic last year, San Jose fell 4-1 on penalties after drawing 1-1 to the eventual champion Seattle Sounders FC.

The Earthquakes are one of nine eligible MLS teams who have never won the Open Cup – the farthest they have ever advanced is the semifinals in 2004.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

San Jose Earthquakes
First game

Sacramento Republic
Round 2: 4-2 win vs. Sonoma County Sol (NPSL)
Round 3: 7-3 win vs. Chula Vista FC (USASA)

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SELECT `final` AS final_round, `group`, `home_team`, `away_team`, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%Y-%m-%d %H:%i') AS date, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%e') AS day, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%c') AS month, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%Y') AS year, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%H') AS `hour`, DATE_FORMAT(`date`, '%i') AS `minutes`, `match_day`, `location`, `status`, `league_id`, `home_points`, `away_points`, `winner_id`, `loser_id`, `stat_id`, `post_id`, `season`, `id`, `custom` FROM wp_leaguemanager_matches WHERE `id` = '155' LIMIT 1

Portland Timbers Open Cup records
Overall: 12-9-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 7-4-0 | vs. MLS: 2-5-1 (0-1 PKs)
As MLS: 5-3-0 | Away: 2-2-0 | vs. MLS: 2-2-0
Last entry: 2014 (Lost 3-1 in OT at Seattle Sounders of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: 2013 Semifinals (Lost 2-1 at Real Salt Lake of MLS)

Seattle Sounders Open Cup records
Overall: 34-12-5 (3-2 PKs) | Home: 26-2-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 18-7-3 (2-1 PKs)
As MLS: 19-1-3 (2-1 PKs) | Home: 15-0-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 14-0-2 (1-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2014 (Won 3-1 in OT at Philadelphia Union in Final)
Best finish: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 US Open Cup champions

BROADCAST: ONLINE VIDEO

By Randall Hauk

One of the most-prominent rivalries in the United States will take center stage Tuesday when the Portland Timbers visit the Seattle Sounders at Starfire Stadium as the lone fourth-round US Open Cup match to feature two sides from MLS.

The Seattle Sounders needed overtime to eliminate the Portland Timbers to earn their 7th trip to the Semifinals in 8 years. Photo: Seattle Sounders FC

The Seattle Sounders needed overtime to eliminate the Portland Timbers to earn their 7th trip to the Semifinals in 8 years. Photo: Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle is coming off a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas which propelled the Sounders to the top of the Supporters Shield standings and extended their league-best goal differential to plus-12, largely on the strength of their eighth shutout of the season.

In the last meeting between the two Cascadia foes, Portland became one of Seattle’s shutout victims, falling 1:0 at CenturyLink Field in a nationally televised Sunday night affair in late April.

The Timbers, meanwhile, will travel to Seattle’s southside for their Cup derby date riding nine days’ rest following a 2-0 win over New England Revolution which put Portland on their first three-game winning streak in franchise history.

But it won’t be a simple matter of Caleb Porter’s squad relying on being well-rested. The Portland skipper is heading into the tournament with eyes wide-open and fixed on an early opportunity for the Timbers to make a big statement in dispatching the defending champions in their 2015 US Open Cup debut.

“You have to say this game against Seattle, right now, is a major priority,” proclaimed Porter after a weekend scrimmage. “We have an opportunity to play for a trophy, and if we’re able to knock off the team that won it last year, they’re out of the tournament, and we have, now, a proper chance to make a run.”

“We’re going to put everything into this game on Tuesday.”

Porter went on to say that he will rotate a few players between Tueday’s cup match and their Saturday night visit from Houston Dynamo in league action, but that his entire squad will consist of players who’ve played “major minutes” in MLS.

Seattle’s prominence in recent US Open Cup lore is a huge contributing factor in Porter’s approach. The MLS Sounders have won the tournament four times in their six prior entries into the competition and failed to reach the final just once. Additionally, Seattle has not lost any of their 16 cup matches hosted at Starfire, including last year’s 3-1 added-time quarterfinal win over Portland.

While certainly prepared to face any challenge in any round, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid lamented publicly the nature of the tournament’s draw after learning his Sounders would face Portland in their opening match of the cup.

“Because of the regionalization of the draw in U.S. Soccer, you will never have a Portland-Seattle final,” said Schmid to reporters after a training session at Starfire. “You will never have a New York City-Red Bulls final. You will never have a Dallas-Houston final. “

“And I think that’s a little sad. It’s disappointing.”

Come Tuesday night, however, only one side will walk away sad or disappointed, and it will be due to being dispatched from the tournament at the feet of a despised rival.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Portland Timbers
First game

Seattle Sounders
First game

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