2019 US Open Cup Round 4, Day 1 preview: Seven games tonight as MLS joins the tournament

Posted by | June 11, 2019
Bring on MLS Game of Thrones Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design

Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design

Outside of the championship game, the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the pinnacle of the competition. The majority of the games (all but five of them) feature a lower division team against a Major League Soccer team. This is what makes the US Open Cup unique in American sports. Minor league professional teams and amateur teams getting a shot at the top division teams in the country. Round 4 will be split up into two game days with seven of the 16 games being played on Tuesday and the remaining nine games on Wednesday.

The winners will advance to the Round of 16, which is scheduled to take place the week of June 29, 2019.

Every game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

Since 2003, fans who wanted to follow the opening round of the second-oldest, continually-operating soccer tournament in the world, would have to rely on updates from this site, or, in later years, the occasional live audio or video stream. Now, fans who are unable to attend a match in person, can watch every game from the comfort of their home, or through their favorite mobile device.

The draw for the Fourth Round will follow this week’s matches and will be held on Thursday, June 13.

Below is a preview (with video links) of all seven of the games scheduled for Tuesday night:

#USOC2019 ESSENTIALS
2019 US Open Cup Schedule/Results (with links to every match report)
Fourth Round fun facts: Notable upsets, things you should know about Round 4

2019 US Open Cup statistical leaders (Goals, Assists, GKs)
2019 US Open Cup Round 1: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 2: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 3: Game-by-game review

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NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference currently ineligible for 2020 US Open Cup
Every US Open Cup game to stream on ESPN+ in multi-year media rights deal

THECUP.US PLAYER OF THE ROUND
Round 1: Charles Boateng – Richmond Kickers
Round 2: Bryant Martin – Florida Soccer Soldiers
Round 3: Blake Frischknecht – Orange County FC

#USOC2019 QUALIFYING
2019 US Open Cup qualifying schedule/results
2019 US Open Cup Qualifying Round 1 game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Qualifying Round 2 game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Qualifying Round 3 game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Qualifying Final Round game-by-game review
Florida Soccer Soldiers qualify for first time after America SC withdraws
More pros, less amateurs, an extra sub in 2019 US Open Cup format
Chattanooga FC qualifies for 2019 US Open Cup, but opts out
Bavarian SC qualify for 2019 US Open Cup by winning Amateur Cup title

MEET THE UNDERDOGS SERIES
Milwaukee’s Bavarian Soccer Club, proudly amateur since 1929
West Chester United battle tested from long journey back to US Open Cup
NTX Rayados grooming “new generation” to keep qualifying streak going
Academica SC earns first US Open Cup berth after more than 40 years as a club
FC Denver using US Open Cup to build to “higher level”
First year Florida Soccer Soldiers winning with “respect, pride and commitment”

New England Revolution (MLS) at New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Montclair State University Soccer Park – Montclair, NJ
Kickoff: June 11 – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Michael Battista

The New York Red Bulls and New England Revolutions are set to commence the next instalment of the famed inter-sport rivalry between their two regions. Both teams began 2019 with incredibly rocky starts, with the Red Bulls going on a historic losing stretch and New England only recently righting the ship under new head coach Bruce Arena. The two Major League Soccer teams have met three previous times in the tournament with New York holding the advantage currently 2-1.

The New York Red Bulls enter their 21st US Open Cup having only lost in the Fourth Round once (2014 vs New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, 3-0). The team has never won the Lamar Hunt Trophy despite reaching the final on two separate occasions, 2003 and 2017, nor the MLS Cup but does hold three Supporter’s Shield titles from 2013, 2015, and 2018.

This year in league New York has been consistent in inconsistency. After losing three straight games early on, the first time that had happened since the early 2010s, and losing the team’s all-time leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips to a lingering groin injury the team has since rebounded with a variety of goal scorers. Forward Brian White, BWP’s replacement up front, currently leads the team with four league goals and Austrian mid-man Danny Royer is not far behind with three. The team still struggles with short rest games though, noting that after big time wins against LA Galaxy and Atlanta the team came up short in midweek home matches against both Montreal and Vancouver. The team last played on Saturday, June 8, where it gave up a two goal, second half lead on the road and lost, 3-2, to Philadelphia Union.

New England has been a unique entity in the area’s sport scene. While never a major power or trophy hoarder, the team has been a dark horse across much of its tenure with mixed results. The biggest accomplishment so far is the 2007 US Open Cup title the team won over FC Dallas, 3-2, which remains the organization’s only major domestic trophy. The team reached the final again in 2016 but were unable to secure the trophy as they fell, 4-2, coincidentally to FC Dallas.

Coming into the match the team has turned around what was a fairly rocky start. Despite starting the MLS season off with only two wins through ten games, one of those victories came at the expense of New York. The two sides meant in Foxborough, MA on April 20 where a second half Cristian Penilla’s goal gave the Revolution a 1-0 win. The last five games have produced a record of 2-1-2 with a 2-1 win the most recent being a road win over LA Galaxy a week ago.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

New England Revolution (MLS)
18th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 19-14-5 (3-2 PK)
Away: 5-9-2 (1-1 PK)
MLS: 6-9-1 (1-0 PK)
Best finish: 2007 US Open Cup champions

New York Red Bulls (MLS)
21st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 22-19-3 (2-1 PK)
Home: 10-5-2 (1-1 PK)
MLS: 8-11-3 (2-1 PK)
Best finish: Runner-Up (2003, 2017)

 

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USL-C) at Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
MAPFRE Stadium – Columbus, OH
Kickoff: June 11 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Craig Tower

While it looked unlikely for most of last year, MAPFRE Stadium will once again host a US Open Cup match during the 2019 tournament. The MLS original club has a new owner and a new lease on life in Columbus, and will look to improve upon their 23-18-2 all-time USOC record against a Riverhounds squad that will be looking to build on its two victories so far this year.

Pittsburgh defeated the NPSL’s Dayton Dutch Lions by a 3-0 scoreline in the Second Round and took down Indy Eleven with an 85th minute tally to win 1-0 in Round 3. Both matches took place on the banks of the Monongahela River at the Hounds’ Highmark Stadium.

While Pittsburgh took down the Colorado Rapids back in 2001 in a Second Round game, they’re 1-4-0 against MLS sides all-time and have only tallied multiple wins in four tournaments (2019, 2015, 2014, and 2001). Last round’s defeat of Indy Eleven was just their fourth victory of a pro team in their Cup history. With a record of just under .500 in the Open Cup overall, and only three road wins in 17 tournament appearances, the odds look long for the Riverhounds to leave Columbus smiling. And it’s not like they are running hot in the league right now, coming in with 0-1-5 run in league form since mid-April and an overall record of 2-2-7 in the USL Championship.

If the Riverhounds are not the bettor’s favorite entering the match, it would be hard to pick the Crew were they not playing at home against a second-division side. In MLS play, the Crew are 1-1-8 over last 10 games and they lost their iconic playmaker Federico Higuain to injury at the end of May and their star goalkeeper Zach Steffen to international transfer at the beginning of June. As if that weren’t enough, they will be without the attacking duo Gyasi Zardes and Will Trapp who are representing the US Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup.

There are some positives the Crew can look to in entering US Open Cup play. They have played in the tournament for 23 years and have a winning record overall (13-8 at home, 5-0 at home against second division sides), having brought the Cup home in 2002 and taken second place in 2010. That said, those are also the only two years since 2001 that the Crew has won multiple games in a single tournament; they have gone out in their first game four times since 2010 (including the last two years), and they have been eliminated three times by lower division sides. Their cumulative statistics compared to MLS sides (seventh in games, sixth in goals and goal differential) are not particularly impressive given that fewer than 10 teams remain from the inaugural 1996 season.

The one guarantee in this match is that the winning team will leave with a 1.000 record against their USOC opponent, since the Riverhounds and Crew have never faced off in the competition before.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USL-C)
17th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 12-14-3 (1-2 PK)
Away: 3-10-2 (0-2 PK)
MLS: 1-4-0
Best finish: 2001 Quarterfinals

Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
20th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 22-15-3 (0-3 PK)
Home: 13-5-2 (0-2 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 6-2-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2002 US Open Cup champions

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Chicago Fire (MLS) at Saint Louis FC (USL-C)
Hunter Stadium (Lindenwood Univ.) – St. Charles, MO
Kickoff: June 11 – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Josh Hakala

For the second time in three years, Saint Louis FC will host the four-time US Open Cup champion Chicago Fire. Saint Louis is a relatively young club, competing in its fifth season, and are still seeking a signature upset in the tournament. In fact, while they have managed to win their opening game every year, and have advanced twice in three of the last five tournaments, they have yet to advance beyond the Fourth Round.

The path to Round 4 has not been easy for Saint Louis as they needed a penalty kick shootout to survive their Second Round match on the road against the Des Moines Menace (USL League Two) before dispatching the last remaining USL League One side Forward Madison FC, 3-1 at home.

STLFC has had two road games since their win over Forward Madison, a scoreless draw at defending champs Louisville City, and a late penalty kick led to a 2-1 loss at Hartford Athletic last Saturday.

Is this the year that they advance beyond the Fourth Round for the first time?

To do that, they will have to get past the team with the best US Open Cup resume of the Modern Era. However, while they have won more games, have more Semifinal appearances than any team in the history of the tournament and are tied for the most championships (none since 2006) in the Modern Era, the Chicago Fire have struggled so far this season. They enter Tuesday’s game on a four-game winless streak (0-2-2), having lost their last league game 2-0 at Atlanta United.

Despite a 4-6-6 start to the season, they are still in the playoff hunt, currently in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. Their leading scorer is CJ Sapong who has plenty of US Open Cup experience on his resume. Sapong has four career US Open Cup goals and helped Sporting Kansas City win the 2012 title, and he played for the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 and 2018 championship games.

Another stat that might benefit Saint Louis FC? The Fire are winless on the road in league play (0-5-3). A stat that might make Fire fans feel better? The Fire have never been eliminated in a Round 4 game (7-0-2, 2-0 PKs)

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Chicago Fire (MLS)
22nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 42-15-6 (4-2 PK)
Away: 15-14-3 (2-1 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 8-3-3 (2-1 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006)

Saint Louis FC (USL-C)
5th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 6-4-2 (2-0 PK)
Home: 3-2-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: 0-2-0
Best finish: Fourth Round (2015, 2017)


Atlanta United FC (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL-C)
MUSC Health Stadium – Charleston, SC
Kickoff: June 11 – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Sydney Hunte

It’s become a bit of a tradition for Atlanta United in its brief US Open Cup history.

For the third straight year, the MLS side will take on the Charleston Battery in the Fourth Round of the Open Cup, but it marks the first time that the two teams have met at MUSC Health Stadium in a competitive match.

Atlanta has won both matchups over its former USL affiliate. In 2017, following a nearly 3-hour weather delay in Kennesaw, Ga., the Battery took a 2-1 lead into the locker room before goals by Josef Martinez and Brandon Vazquez saw the Five Stripes come back to win 3-2. In 2018, Andrew Carleton, Ezequiel Barco and Romario Williams lifted Atlanta to a more straightforward 3-0 win.

While Atlanta has never opened the U.S. Open Cup with a loss, it has never gotten past the Fifth Round. Kwadwo Poku’s last-gasp goal in 2017 saw Miami FC through to a 3-2 upset win at home, while last year’s run was ended by a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire in front of an Open Cup all-time attendance record of 41,012 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But Frank de Boer’s outfit – despite shaking off a slow start in MLS play to sit just five points shy of the East-leading Philadelphia Union with two games in hand – will be solely focused on Tuesday night’s contest.

The Battery have battled inconsistent form throughout the USL Championship season, but have enjoyed a whirlwind of a Cup run thus far. They trailed USL League 1 debutants Greenville Triumph 1-0 with just over 10 minutes remaining before a pair of goals by Ian Svantesson, the second coming deep in stoppage time, lifted them to a stirring 2-1 win. On May 29, they played Nashville SC to a 1-1 draw before winning 3-0 in penalties thanks in part to a dazzling performance in net by Philip Breno.

Among active teams, no lower division pro team has an Open Cup resume to match the Battery. No Modern Era team has more Quarterfinals appearances ( ), they have the fourth-most wins (34) of any team and they have eliminated more MLS teams than anyone else (9). The only team with more wins and MLS upsets is the Rochester Rhinos, who are currently on hiatus. They are also the last lower division team to reach the US Open Cup Final when they lost a tight 2-1 decision to D.C. United at RFK Stadium in 2008.

MUSC Health Stadium has proven to be a house of horrors for teams in the US Open Cup. Charleston are currently on a nine-match unbeaten streak (7-0-2, 0-2 PK) in the competition, its last regulation loss came in the 2012 Third Round against the New York Red Bulls (MLS). The last time they were eliminated at home was in 2015 against Orlando City SC (MLS), after finishing 4-4, they lost in penalty kicks, 8-7 in the Fourth Round. While the level of talent may be heavily tilted toward Atlanta United, the atmosphere may be ripe for an upset.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Atlanta United FC (MLS)
3rd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 2-2-0
Away: 0-1-0
Div. 2 pro: 2-1-0
Best finish: Fifth Round (2017, 2018)

Charleston Battery (USL-C)
20th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 34-16-7 (4-3 PK)
Home: 27-6-5 (2-3 PK)
MLS: 7-13-4 (2-2 PK)
Best finish: 2008 Runner-Up

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Austin Bold (USL-C) at Houston Dynamo (MLS)
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, TX
Kickoff: June 11 – 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Louis Roesch

The Houston Dynamo, the first South Texas team to win the US Open Cup, open the defense of their title against USL expansion side Austin Bold FC. Just 167 miles separate the two Texas based teams who meet for the first time. What can fans expect from each side and what should they be watching?

Unbeaten in nine league matches at home in 2019 and unbeaten in five Open Cup home matches a season ago, the Houston Dynamo are relishing the opportunity to open Cup play at BBVA Compass Stadium. They love playing at home in this tournament with 14 of their last 17 tournament games in front of their home fans.

Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas thrive on Cup competitors. The all-time Houston goal scorer in Cup history has eight total including a single-tournament record-tying six in 2018. With six goals in 13 games in 2019, the young Columbian is a threat to be reckoned with on Tuesday night. With 16 goals and a goal differential of plus eight, Houston is nearly unstoppable at home. Manotas has a chance to make history, if he plays on Tuesday. If he plays and scores a goal, he would be the first Modern Era player to score in five consecutive tournament games.

For Austin, Brazilian forward Andre Lima and Dripping Springs, Texas native Kris Tyrpak bring a wealth of goal scoring prowess into the match with Houston. The duo has combined for eight of the club’s 16 goals in 2019. Lima, who is tied for second in the tournament’s goalscoring chart, has four goals in 14 appearances in league play and Tyrpak has four in his 10 matches. Lima, at 33 years old and 6’-1”, 185lbs, the former Sao Paulo player will give the Houston backline all it can handle in the middle of the box. Tyrpak’s four goals have come in the team’s last two matches, giving Austin a dangerous 1-2 combination in the offensive third.

Wilmer Cabrera’s tactical flexibility will prove the difference in this match. No longer is Houston a predictable foe. Gone is the game-in, game-out match setup of the 4-3-3. In 2019, Cabrera has shown the confidence and skill to mix and match his entire roster against opponents. This season has been more about execution and discipline and the record shows it. The Dynamo sitting at 7-3-3 have allowed the third fewest goals in Major League Soccer this season.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Austin Bold (USL-C)
6th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 2-0-0
Away: N/A
MLS: N/A
Best finish: First entry

Houston Dynamo (MLS)
13th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 16-10-2 (1-1 PK)
Home: 13-4-1 (1-0 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 4-2-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2018 US Open Cup champions


Los Angeles FC (MLS) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, UT
Kickoff: June 11 – 10 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Michael Battista

In November 2018 both Real Salt Lake and then-first year club Los Angeles FC met in the opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Despite LA winning both regular season meetings by a combined scoreline of 7-1, Real snuck past the fan favorites into the Conference Semifinals, 3-2. Now only a few months both teams are once again in a one-game knockout situation as they face off for the first time in the US Open Cup.

Real Salt Lake enters the 2019 edition of the Open Cup on a three game losing streak after falling in the 2016 Round of 16 and failing to advance past the Fourth Round the past two years, losing to USL Championship’s Sacramento Republic FC in 2017, 4-1, and fellow MLS side Sporting Kansas City, 2-0. The team that once reached the competition’s final in 2013, losing to DC United, 1-0, is currently coached by Mike Petke who reached the semifinals of the competition in 2000 with the MetroStars and helped lead the re-named New York Red Bulls to back-to-back semifinal appearances in 2014 and 2015. (According to Sam Stejkal from The Athletic, Petke won’t be in attendance due to attending a mandatory U.S. Soccer Pro License course)

This season in MLS, RSL currently occupies the seventh spot in the Western Conference, the final playoff spot in the update playoff system, with a record of 6-8-1 (19 pts). Leading scorers Albert Rusnák and Sam Johnson have both scored five goals each through 13 games which has helped bolster an offense that ranks tied for last for current playoff placed teams. Real’s last game was a June 1 loss, 4-0, to the Red Bulls in Petke’s first match back in Harrison since his firing in 2015.

There are few teams in the Modern Era that have enjoyed more home games than RSL. Since 2011, Salt Lake has played 17 US Open Cup games and 13 of them have been played at home. Which is probably a good thing because away from home, they have yet to win a tournament game (0-5-0). And their fans have responded. The team’s total reported attendance of 177,916 is the second highest total of any club in the Modern Era.

In only its second season, Los Angeles FC has a high bar to clear if it wants to out-do the stellar performance it put on in 2018. 1998 Open Cup winner with the Chicago Fire and head coach Bob Bradley almost saw the expansion side to the final last season thanks in great deal to a Diego Rossi hat-trick, culminating with a late stoppage time goal to send the game into extra time. The team was one penalty away from advancing but Laurent Ciman’s fifth round attempt was easily stopped by Houston keeper Joe Willis, who would also stop Latif Blessing in the eighth round to advance his team through. Bradley is currently the eighth most winningest coach in the Modern Era with 17 across four teams (Fire, Metrostars, Chivas USA, and LAFC).

In league play LA has been near unstoppable this season which isn’t a surprise when you have 2019s most productive goalscorer. Forward Carlos Vela has scored 16 goals through 16 games so far including a five game scoring streak coming into the Fourth Round match. The team is first in the Western Conference by a wide margin with a record of 11-1-4 (37 pts), unbeaten in its last eight, and hasn’t lost a game since April 17 when they fell to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 1-0.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Los Angeles FC (MLS)
2nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 3-0-1 (0-1 PK)
Away: 0-0-1 (0-1 PK)
MLS: 1-0-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2018 Semifinals

Real Salt Lake (MLS)
11th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 9-9-2 (1-1 PK)
Home: 9-4-2 (1-1 PK)
MLS: 2-4-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2013 Runner-Up

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Sacramento Republic FC (USL-C) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Avaya Stadium – San Jose, CA
Kickoff: June 11 – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Josh Hakala

For the third year in a row, and the fifth time in the last six years, the Sacramento Republic have advanced to the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup and have a chance to take on a team from Major League Soccer. For a club that has aspirations to join MLS, this is their best opportunity to prove that they belong. And for the last two years, they have done just that. Last year, they defeated the Seattle Sounders, 2-1 in extra time. And the year before that, they cruised to a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake. However, both of those wins came in front of their home fans. On Tuesday, they will try to do something they have yet to do: Beat a MLS team on the road.

The Republic have been one of the most successul lower division teams of the last few years in the Open Cup, however most of that success has been achieved at home where they hold a 12-1-0 record. Away from home is a different story with just one win in five matches (1-3-1, 0-1 PKs).

This will mark the third time that the Republic will play a road game against the San Jose Earthquakes. In their inaugural season in 2014, they lost a narrow 2-1 decision, and in 2015, Sacramento took the Quakes to penalty kicks, but fell short.

The Republic have been a consistent winner since joining the USL in 2014. After winning the league championship in their inaugural season, they have had a winning record every year. This year, they have gotten off to a slow start, but have turned it on lately, winning two straight league games including a 3-0 road win over New Mexico United, who are in first place in the Western Conference.

To get to Round 4, the Republic had to earn it with back-to-back 1-0 wins over fellow USL Championship rivals. In their opening win over Reno 1868 FC, Sam Werner scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute. In Round 3, they edged Fresno FC on a Stefano Bonomo goal in stoppage time of the second extra time period, just moments away from a penalty kick shootout.

The Earthquakes have not enjoyed much success in the US Open Cup in their team history. It took them until 2017, their 14th appearance in the competition, to advance in three games in a single tournament. That year, after defeating the eventual NASL champions San Francisco Deltas, they earned consecutive wins over the Seattle Sounders and the Los Angeles Galaxy — their first wins over MLS opposition in tournament history. Their run would come to an end in Kansas City when they fell short in a penalty kick shootout against eventual champion Sporting KC.

Any momentum they would have gained after a run to the Semifinals came to a crashing halt when they lost their opening match, 2-0 to the Portland Timbers.

In league play, the Quakes have been picking up valuable points with a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2). After back-to-back wins over the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC to begin the streak, the San Jose has had back-to-back draws, at D.C. United and a 2-2 result at home against FC Dallas.

As has been a theme over the years with the Earthquakes, Chris Wondolowski has been at the heart of the team’s recent run. The recently-crowned all-time MLS goalscoring king, was named MLS Player of the Month after scoring eight of the team’s last nine goals, including the opening goal for San Jose in the team’s draw against FC Dallas.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Sacramento Republic FC (USL-C)
6th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 13-4-1 (0-1 PK)
Away: 1-3-1 (0-1 PK)
MLS: 2-3-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: Fifth Round (2017, 2018)

San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
16th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 14-11-7 (3-4 PK)
Home: 7-5-2 (1-1 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 8-1-2 (2-0 PK)
Best finish: Semifinals (2004, 2017)

 

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