2017 US Open Cup Round 5 preview: Who will join FC Dallas in Quarterfinals and what will FC Cincinnati do for an encore? (live video)

Posted by | June 27, 2017
The 99 entries of the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Graphic by: Gilberto Hernandez (Twitter: @GilbertoHdz200)

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

The 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has reached the Round of 16 and now the bracket is set. The 16 remaining teams (13 from MLS, two from the USL and one from the NASL) all know their path to the 104th US Open Cup Final.

The Fifth Round kicks off with one game on Tuesday as the defending US Open Cup champion FC Dallas hosts the Colorado Rapids. The remaining seven matches will be played on Wednesday. Nine of the 16 teams in the Fifth Round have never won the tournament, so maybe the odds slightly favor a new champion this year?

All eight games are expected to be live streamed, including the game between FC Cincinnati (USL) and four-time US Open Cup champion Chicago Fire (MLS), which will air live on ESPN2 and the Watch ESPN app. Cincinnati’s record-breaking crowd for their upset win over the Columbus Crew last round caught the attention of the decision makers at ESPN as the network will air a US Open Cup game prior to the Semifinals for the first time.

Below, you will find links to our coverage on TheCup.us, as well as previews of all 8 Fifth Round games, including video and audio links as they become available. You can get all the latest updates from every game through Twitter, using the hashtag #USOC2017. Use that same hashtag on Instagram to share your US Open Cup-related photos.

#USOC2017 coverage:
* 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup schedule, results (video/audio links)
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 1 review
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 2 review
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 3 review
* 2017 US Open Cup Round 4 review
* 2017 TheCup.us Player of the Round winnners
* 2017 US Open Cup bracket (TheCup.us)
* 2017 US Open Cup statistical leaders
* A map of all 99 entries for the 2017 US Open Cup
* 2017 Meet the Underdogs series
* 2017 US Open Cup qualifying Round 2 review: 14 more teams advance as Round 3 moved to next year
* 2017 US Open Cup qualifying Round 1: Scores and recaps from every game

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

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

Twitter (#USOC2016) | Facebook | InstagramFlickr | Reddit

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Winner will play at Houston Dynamo/Sporting KC winner in Quarterfinals

UPDATE: FC Dallas back in Quarterfinals after win over Colorado Rapids

By Adam Uthe

The Colorado Rapids will travel to north Texas on Tuesday, hoping to jump start an Open Cup run that could distract from the poor season they’re having in league play. Dallas, on the other hand, will be looking to defend their Open Cup title and continue their pursuit of first place in the MLS Western Conference standings. The two sides have yet to face each other in league play this season.

Both teams were paired with a USL side in the Fourth Round and both won games that were probably closer than their fan bases would like. FC Dallas, playing on the campus of SMU, needed an own goal in second half stoppage time to beat the Tulsa Roughnecks 2-1 in a game where both teams were bogged down by the sweltering Texas summer heat. Coy Craft got things started for Dallas in the first half and it looked as though extra time would be needed until second half substitute Michael Barrios got into the box and caused enough havoc to create a Tulsa own goal that won the game for the Hoops.

Colorado, meanwhile, spotted OKC Energy two goals in the first half and stormed back with three second half goals from Dominique Badji, Eric Miller, and Dennis Castillo to advance to the Round of 16. It was the first time in club history that the Rapids rallied from a two-goal deficit in Open Cup play.

This will be the second year in a row that the two clubs have met in US Open Cup play and the fourth all-time meeting. Last year, Dallas eliminated the Rapids 2-1 in extra time at Toyota Stadium, the site of Wednesday’s game. Dallas has hosted and won all three previous meetings (2002, 2004, 2016)

NOTE: One of the great record-keeping mysteries for TheCup.us is the attendance for the game between Dallas and Colorado at the Cotton Bowl in the 2004 Fourth Round. The game took place on July 20, 2004. If you can help us track that attendance figure down, email us HERE)

2017 has been very unkind to the Rapids, but things have looked better of late. They currently have the worst record in the league and only D.C. United has fewer goals scored this season. Their winless record on the road this season also doesn’t bode well ahead of their trip to Frisco. What has gone well for Colorado has been their goalkeeping situation. The Rapids have only allowed 23 goals in 16 games and while veteran Tim Howard has led the way, backup Zac MacMath has a better save percentage and goals against average, as well as a better record for the team when he’s in goal.

This is an opportunity for the Rapids to end an unfortunate Open Cup record that they own. Entering the 2017 competition, Colorado has gone 13 consecutive tournaments without winning multiple games.

FC Dallas’ season continues to a mixed bag. They are currently tied for second place in the Western Conference, but they also have more draws (seven) than wins (six) and they continue to suffer from a case of not meeting expectations. The Hoops won the Open Cup and the MLS Supporters Shield (best league record) last year and the team has a well-constructed roster that has fans dreaming of success now and down the road. In the short term, veteran striker Max Urruti is leading the way with nine goals and three assists and new arrival Roland Lamah is right behind Urruti with four goals of his own. Colombian winger Michael Barrios is tied for second in the league with seven assists. Homegrown stars Kellyn Acosta (three goals, two assists) and Jesse Gonzalez (28 saves on 40 shots faced and five shutouts) are ascending into the prime of their careers on very team-friendly contracts. Dallas has all the pieces they need to win now and in the future. Unfortunately, results like their 1-1 draw with Texas rivals Houston Dynamo on Friday night continue to hold them back from bigger things. Another Open Cup title run this year could be just the spark they need to take the next step and win an MLS title as well.

DID YOU KNOW … The first appearance of a Texas club in the US Open Cup was in 1949, when Dallas’ Alpine Sportswear fell to Zenthoefer Furs of St. Louis 5-0 at Fair Park in Dallas in a Third Round contest. Texas would not see another team enter the Cup until the 1980s.

Just 11 years into their club’s existence, and five years after their Open cup debut, the Denver Kickers pulled off one of the bigger upsets in Open Cup history by defeating St. Louis’s Kutis SC 3-2 in the 1973 Second Round. The previous year, the Kickers pushed St. Louis’s Big Four Chevrolet to extra time before falling 3-2 in the same round.

The Rapids made their Open Cup debut in 1996 under bizarre circumstances. Originally not entered in the tournament, the Rapids were called upon as a substitute team when the A-League’s Colorado Foxes were forced with withdraw from their Quarterfinal match with the Kansas City Wiz when five of its players were called up to the Jamaican National Team for World Cup qualifying.

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Winner will host FC Dallas / Colorado Rapids winner in Quarterfinals

By Adam Uthe

The top two teams in the MLS Western Conference standings will face off on Wednesday when first place Sporting Kansas City travels to Texas to take on second place Houston Dynamo. The two sides have yet to face off in league play this year but this will be the third year in a row that they will have met in the US Open Cup. Kansas City won the 2015 Quarterfinals meeting at home en route to winning the tournament. It was a match highlighted by Roger Espinoza punching Houston’s Brad Davis and receiving a two-game suspension. The Dynamo got their revenge at BBVA Compass Stadium last year, eliminating KC, 3-1.

Having entered the tournament in the Fourth Round as members of MLS, each team has only played one Open Cup game so far but they are both off to good starts. Sporting KC cruised to a 4-0 win over MLS expansion (and former NASL) side Minnesota United behind first half goals from Ike Opara and Gerso Fernandes as well as second half goals from Dom Dwyer and Daniel Salloi. Dwyer’s goal was his sixth career Open Cup goal, which made him Sporting KC’s all-time leading scorer in tournament play and Salloi was making his first start since signing a homegrown deal.

Houston’s victory was much more taxing. The Dynamo had to outlast NASL side North Carolina FC in extra time and also survive an 88-minute weather delay for nearby lightning. In the end, academy product and former Rio Grande Valley FC standout Memo Rodriguez’s 109th minute goal saw the home side through to the next round. Prior to their victory, Houston had been 0-4-1 in Open Cup games that went beyond 90 minutes.

While several of their challengers have multiple games in hand due to the unbalanced MLS schedule, Sporting KC is currently enjoying life in the top spot in the MLS Western Conference. They helped solidify their spot with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, courtesy of an Ike Opara bicycle kick goal. The aforementioned Gerso Fernandes has been the star so far in 2017. He joined Kansas City from Portguese side C.F.Os Belenenses in January on a designated player deal and has turned out to be money well spent for Peter Vermes and company. Fernandes leads the team in goals (six), shots (46), and shots on goal (22) this season. Kansas City will be hoping their new star can help them get back to their second Open Cup final in three years. They won the 2015 title after defeating Philadelphia Union in a penalty shootout.

Despite a 1-1 draw against Texas rivals FC Dallas on Friday night, Houston Dynamo are hot on Kansas City’s tail, currently sitting in second place and just five points off the top spot. They’re also making moves to stay in the hunt, having traded their top spot in the MLS allocation rankings (used for acquiring new players from outside MLS) to DC United in exchange for allocation money and an international roster spot; though they have yet to fill that space. Houston’s success has been spurred by resurgent Mexican international Erick “Cubo” Torres. His 11 goals in league play this season has been good enough for second among all MLS players and his 47 shots is 11 more than the next player on his team. Although he’s only 24 years old, it feels like Torres has been around long enough to consider his performance this season a “comeback”. He broke onto the scene as a teenager with Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara and impressed in his first MLS stint with the now defunct Chivas USA. Houston bought him outright in 2015, but loaned him out twice under previous head coach Owen Coyle. Now that Wilmer Cabrera, who coached Torres at Chivas USA, is in charge, things seem to be looking up for the former Guadalajara standout.

DID YOU KNOW … While no clubs from Houston played a major role in the Open Cup prior to the Modern Era, the city did host an Open Cup Final once. On July 3, 1983 at Delmar Stadium, the New York Pancyprian Freedoms outgunned Kutis SC, 4-3 to win its second straight title.

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Winner will host New York Red Bulls / D.C. United winner in Quarterfinals

By Riley Maleitzke

The New England Revolution will host D.C. United in the Round of 16 at Harvard University’s Jordan Field. Both MLS squads have a rich history in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The Revolution, who won the 2007 US Open Cup title, made it all the way to the Final last year but fell 4-2 to FC Dallas. United has won the Cup three times, most recently in 2013 despite finishing at the bottom of the MLS regular season table. This will be the fourth meeting between the two clubs with the home team winning each time and United leading the series 2-1-0.

D.C. put an end to this year’s Cinderella story, Christos FC, a Baltimore-based amateur team sponsored by a liquor store. Christos scored first off a Mamadou Kaysaye free kick, but United answered with four unanswered goals to avoid the upset, 4-1.

The Revolution handled the Rochester Rhinos (USL) easily in a 3-0 rout. An early red card issued to the Rhinos made the task much easier for a Revs squad which featured mostly reserve players. They controlled the pace of the game and dominated possession and cruised to victory. No two teams have played each other more in the Modern Era than the Rhinos and Revs and with the win, New England improved to 5-0-2 (1-1 PKs) all-time.

D.C comes into the US Open Cup match with a 5-9-3 record in league play, placing them 10th in the Eastern Conference. In their last league match, United was shutout 1-0 by the Philadelphia Union. The only score of the match was a long cross that was in the back of the net on a volley by Fafa Pacault. D.C had some good opportunities late by the Unions’ keeper had some tremendous saves to give the Unions a 1-0 win.

New England comes into the match Wednesday with a record of 5-7-5 in MLS play which places them in eighth place, two points ahead of D.C. The Revs were also shutout in their last league match. The Revolution lost 2-0 at the hands of Toronto FC. Toronto was playing without Michael Bradley but still managed to hold off The Revs they got an early goal by Drew Moor and then scored again in stoppage time to seal the game.

New England and D.C are both teams who take the Open Cup very seriously and both squads are struggling in MLS play this year. Sam Lloyd, United’s wing player will be the key for United he scored twice in the last Open Cup match after entering the game in the second half. New England who showcased their young talent in Round 4 will have to play some experience in their starting XI like midfielder Lee Nguyen who leads the team with 7 assists and is second with 6 goals.

DID YOU KNOW …The only D.C. club to win an Open Cup title outside the Modern Era (1995-present), Club Espana in 1987, wound up becoming the core of the ASL’s Washington Diplomats in 1988. The state of Massachusetts has won nine US Open Cup titles, but when New England won in 2007, it was the first time a team from Massachusetts had lifted the trophy since 1947 (Ponta Delgada).

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Winner will host FC Cincinnati / Chicago Fire winner in Quarterfinals

By Josh Hakala

Every year, the question that is asked by many fans and members of the media is can this be the year that a lower division team breaks through and win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup? Who will be the team that can recapture the magic of the 1999 Rochester Raging Rhinos, the last non-MLS team to lift the trophy. Miami FC of the NASL is making a strong case to be that team, but they have a tough task ahead of them for their Fourth Round match on Wednesday night when they host Atlanta United.

After a 2-1 win over the New York Cosmos last Saturday, Miami is on the verge of locking up the NASL’s Spring Season championship. They managed to pull off the win despite Kwadwo Poku getting sent off in the 59th minute. Stefano Pinho had equalized for Miami in the first half, but after they went down to 10 men, Vincenzo Rennella, the league’s leading scorer, added the game-winner in the 70th minute. With the win, they improve to 9-1-3 in league play and will enter Wednesday’s contest riding a 13-game unbeaten streak in all competitions. There have been very few lower division teams in this good of a position this late in the tournament. Only one NASL club (Carolina RailHawks in 2013) has reached the Quarterfinals and has gone on to win the league championship.

On the other side, they face Atlanta United who has made quite a splash in their inaugural season. Atlanta sits in sixth place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings with a 7-7-3 record and after a 1-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, they have won two of their last three games in all competitions. The hero for Atlanta against the Rapids was Josef Martinez who scored the lone goal in his first league start since coming back from a three-month injury layoff. Atlanta will test the Miami backline as they are the highest-scoring team in MLS, averaging just under two goals per game.

Atlanta had plenty of drama in the club’s Open Cup debut last round. They fell behind in the first half to the visiting Charleston Battery (USL) and rallied in the second half with goals from Josef Martinez and Brandon Vasquez. Atlanta sent their fans home happy with a 3-2 win. Now, they must travel south to face a club that has only lost one home game all season.

Miami, who is making just its second appearance in the US Open Cup, had a tough challenge from the South Florida Surf (PDL) but they survived 3-2. Then, after a 2-0 road win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL), they traveled north and stunned Orlando City SC on their home turf with a 3-1 win. Stefano Pinho became just the third Brazilian to score a hat trick in the Modern Era and he was named TheCup.us Player of the Round for his efforts.

DID YOU KNOW … Although teams from Atlanta have never reached a Final in the Open Cup, Hotlanta has featured in the national stage at the Amateur level. Atlanta Datagraphic won the Amateur Cup in 1979, and finished as runners up in 1980 and 1987. Florida’s history in the tournament is also limited with just two clubs reaching the Final. The 2000 Miami Fusion (MLS) lost to the Chicago Fire (MLS), while the HRC Kickers won the tournament in 1989.

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Winner will play at Miami FC / Atlanta United winner in Quarterfinals

By Ben Ferree

FC Cincinnati has scraped by against local teams and rivals on the field while impressing in the stands in the club’s second appearance in the US Open Cup. In their opening game, it took extra time to beat the defending NPSL champion AFC Cleveland, 1-0. After eliminating the amateur side, they faced a hotly anticipated match against another USL team, Louisville City. Djiby Fall, the lone goalscorer from the previous round was in the midst of a suspension from USL games due to biting a Louisville player a few weeks prior. However, since the suspension did not apply to the US Open Cup, he was able to play in the physical match and scored a second-straight game-winning goal in another 1-0 win. The most recent match was the high-profile first meeting with the Columbus Crew SC of MLS. Fall became the first lower division player of the Modern Era (and just the third of any division) to score three consecutive game-winning goals as FCC stuns the Crew in front of a record-breaking crowd. The announced attendance of 30,160 shattered the Modern Era record for a non-Final by nearly 10,000 fans.

MORE: Cincinnati’s forgotten US Open Cup history

Just entering in the Fourth Round, Chicago was able to play a mix of subs and starters in its 1-0 road win over Saint Louis FC (USL). Luis Solignac scored a wonder goal in the 27th minute, with the assist coming from Brandon Vincent, and the defense took it from there. Goalie Matt Lampson was only asked to make two saves, and St Louis put the nail in their own coffin in the 81st minute when Dragan Stojkov earned a second yellow. The win brought the Fire’s all time Open Cup record to an astounding 40-14-4, the most wins of any team in the Modern Era.

FC Cincinnati has been up and down in league play this year, sporting an even 5-5-5 record. However, their recent form has been better, having only suffered one loss in their last six USL games. Their last match was Saturday against St Louis FC, which they won 2-0. In all competitions at home, they’ve only lost one game.

The Chicago Fire are, pardon the pun, hot. After demolishing Orlando City 4-0 in their most recent MLS match, their unbeaten streak stands at nine games, with three consecutive wins. Their last defeat was a one goal loss in New York to the Red Bulls in April. In all competitions, the Fire are undefeated in their last five road games with three wins and two draws.

In Cincinnati’s Cup run so far, the team has lived through Djiby Fall. The first three games were all 1-0 wins with Fall tallying the strikes. A game-winner against the Fire would break the Modern Era single-tournament record. The only other players who have scored three straight game-winners is Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders, 2011) and Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United, 2013).

While he has yet to make his tournament debut, all eyes will be on Nemanja Nikolic should he make his first ever Open Cup appearance. The Fire forward has an MLS-leading 14 goals. Should the Fire opt to rotate players and not play Nikolic, keep an eye on Brandon Vincent. The defender was able to get a clean sheet in the last round and throw in an assist while only committing two fouls. He hasn’t missed a single minute of any Fire game this year.

Chicago is pushing for a record-tying fifth Open Cup title. Should they achieve that, they would be the fourth team to do so and the first in the Modern Era. The other teams to do so were the original Bethlehem Steel, Maccabee AC, and the Fall River Marksmen (also under the name New Bedford Whalers). No team has won six.

DID YOU KNOW … The city of Cincinnati made its Cup debut on Oct. 26, 1930 when the Cincinnati Kickers defeated fellow Queen City club New Era 3-1 in the first round of Ohio qualifying for the 1930/31 tournament. The Kickers would forfeit in the next round when they were unable to make the trip to Youngstown to face Mahoning Valley.

The last Chicago club to win prior to the Fire was the AAC Eagles who lifted the trophy in 1990. When the Eagles won, that ended a lengthy drought for the Windy City, with the last title coming in 1953 by Falcons SC.

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Winner will play at New England Revolution / D.C. United winner in Quarterfinals

By Romulo Vieira

For the third straight year, the New York Red Bulls will meet the Philadelphia Union in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. In 2015, both teams went head-to-head in the Quarterfinals. The Union knocked out the Red Bulls 4-3 in a penalty shootout after 1-1 draw away from home. Last year, in the Fifth Round, the Union were successful once again, defeating the Red Bulls 2-1 at home. This year, the game will head back to Red Bull Arena.

The Red Bulls reached the Fifth Round of the cup after defeating their Hudson River rivals New York City FC 1-0 at Red Bull Arena. The Philadelphia Union earned their spot in the Round of 16 after picking up a comfortable 3-1 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders at home.

Both teams are going through hard times in MLS play. The Red Bulls are currently in seventh place, one spot below a playoff spot, while the Union are in ninth. So far this season both teams have faced each other twice, with each team getting a win. First the Union blew out the Red Bulls 3-0 at home, but in the second game the Red Bulls took home a 2-0 victory away from home.

The Red Bulls will definitely be counting on their star striker Bradley Wright-Philips to come up with goals to finally get past the Union. However, while Bradley has scored a number of goals for the Red Bulls in MLS, he has never scored in the US Open Cup. Union’s top scorer CJ Sapong has had success in the Cup, winning the tournament with Sporting Kansas City in 2012, and most recently, scoring one of Philly’s goals in their victory against the City Islanders.

DID YOU KNOW … Of all the cities represented by MLS teams, Philadelphia has the longest Open Cup championship drought, last claiming a title when the Ukrainian Nationals won their fourth championship in 1965. New York City is next, their last title coming in 1991 through the Brooklyn Italians. The last time a team based in New Jersey lifted the trophy was in 1972 when Elizabeth SC won the club’s second title in three years. Aside from Elizabeth SC, to find the only other New Jersey club to win the tournament, you have to go all the way back to Paterson SC in 1923.

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Winner will host the LA Galaxy / Sacramento Republic winner in Quarterfinals

By Thomas Hodul

The four-time US Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders will continue their march toward a record-tying fifth title when they travel south to face the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. This will be the fifth all-time meeting between the Sounders and Earthquakes, dating back to Seattle’s USL days. The Sounders have won the last three meetings (one as an A-League club, the two most recent ones as part of MLS), with the last win by the Quakes coming in 2002. The last time the two clubs met in the Cup was in 2014 when the Sounders won the game on penalties after the match ended 1-1 at Starfire Sports Complex, Seattle’s smaller home away from home in Tukwila, Wash.

Unlike their opponent, the San Jose Earthquakes have never won the US Open Cup or even reached the Final of the tournament. The Earthquakes best run in the Cup came in 2004 when they reached the Semifinals before falling to Kansas City 1-0. They won their opening match of the 2017 competition by a score of 2-0 over local NASL side San Francisco Deltas. Both Jackson Yueill and Cordell Cato scored within six minutes of the opening kickoff to send San Jose into the Round of 16.

The Earthquakes are led by US international and club captain, Chris Wondolowski. Although he is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, Wondolowski has scored only two goals in the Open Cup for the Quakes (four in his career). San Jose picked up a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake over the weekend to climb to fifth place in the MLS Western Conference standings, putting them back into a playoff spot.

Their opponent, the Seattle Sounders, are one of the most successful clubs of the Modern Era. The Sounders won three Open Cups in a row in their first three seasons in MLS from 2009-11. They then added a fourth in 2014. The Sounders knocked off their biggest rivals the Portland Timbers in the last round of the Cup by a score of 2-1.

The Sounders are led by head coach Brian Schmetzer, who has brought the club two USL titles and a MLS Cup. He was part of the coaching staff as an assistant for all four US Open Cup championships.

Seattle also features one of the most dynamic American players of all time in Clint Dempsey. Dempsey has been an integral part of both the Sounders’ 2016 MLS Cup and the 2014 US Open Cup championship. Dempsey also scored a late equalizer against the Timbers this past weekend to salvage a draw for the Sounders after they went down to ten men. They currently find themselves in eighth place in the MLS Western Conference standings following the Cascadia Cup match.

The two clubs met once already in league action back on April 8 at Avaya. That match ended in a 1-1 draw. Both clubs consider each other secondary rivals from their main rivalries. The matches between the two clubs are known as the Heritage Cup as both clubs kept their old NASL names. The winner will earn the right to host the winner of the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic match in the Quarterfinals.

DID YOU KNOW … The first-ever Open Cup meeting between teams from San Jose and Washington was on Feb. 21, 1971 in the Second Round when Heidelberg Brewers defeated San Jose Grenadiers 4-2 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.

Seattle was first represented in the Open Cup in 1965 by the Hungarian SC. Playing in the Northern California qualifiers, the HSC reached the Semifinals after a 3-2 win over AAC Teutonia and a walkover victory over Viking AC. The Hungarians run stopped with a 2-1 defeat to Greek American AC.

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Winner will play at San Jose Earthquakes / Seattle Sounders winner in Quarterfinals

By Dennis Pope

Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) advanced to the Fifth Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the fourth consecutive year with a 3-1 victory over Orange County SC (USL) on Wednesday, June 14.

A two-time US Open Cup champion (2001 & 2005) and a Semifinalist last season, the Galaxy recently had an eight-game league unbeaten streak snapped in a 2-1 loss at home to Real Salt Lake on Sunday, June 25.

When eligible, team captain Jelle Van Damme continues to define the club with his effort. The Belgian recently served a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation but controlled the tempo of Galaxy’s win over OCSC in the last round.

With or without the injury to Brian Rowe, goalkeeping has become a big question mark, and the team is still without Giovanni Dos Santos (international duty).

This is the first matchup between Galaxy and the Sacramento Republic, a USL club with Major League Soccer aspirations.

Sacramento is playing its fourth game in the 2017 tournament, advancing to Round 5 after an historic 4-1 victory at home over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 14. It was the club’s first win over a MLS opponent.

The 2014 USL champions kicked off the competition with a 4-0 win over Anahuac FC (UPSL), followed by a 2-0 win over fellow USL club Reno 1868 FC.

Currently 7-6-3 in the USL’s Western Conference, Sacramento has won three consecutive league matches after a slow start to the season.

California-born forward Samuel Ochoa’s five goals in 14 matches are tied for the team lead with Trevin Caesar, and Scottish forward Tyler Blackwood has added four goals.

Sacramento recently defeated LA Galaxy II (USL), 3-2, on Sunday, June 25 at the StubHub Track Stadium, the same setting for Wednesday night’s game against the senior team.

DID YOU KNOW … While the Galaxy must battle each year to represent Los Angeles in the Open Cup Quarterfinals, in the past, L.A. was guaranteed a quarterfinal spot each year. The way the tournament was set up going into the late 1970s, the surviving club from the Southern California qualifiers would face off with the winner from San Francisco (and later Washington state) in the western semifinals, with the winner facing the survivor amongst St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee in the Western Final.

While Los Angeles made its on-field Open Cup debut in the 1954 tournament, the city’s first entry came in 1952. That year the Los Angeles Scots entered, but later withdrew citing the high cost of traveling to St. Louis to play Simpkins Ford. The next year, McIlwaine Canvasbacks forfeited to Kutis SC citing the same high cost of travel. The Scots finally took the field in 1954 to become the first Southern California team to participate in the tournament

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