2019 US Open Cup Round 4, Day 2 preview: Nine matches involving MLS teams kick off tonight

Posted by | June 12, 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 later this month

Check out all of the results (and the match reports and video) of Tuesday’s action HERE.

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 Round of 16 will follow this week’s matches and will be held on Thursday, June 13.

Below is a preview (with video links) of all nine of the games scheduled for Wednesday 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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VISIT THECUP.US STORE

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”

North Carolina FC (USL-C) at New York City FC (MLS)
Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.) – Jamaica, NY
Kickoff: June 12 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Ray Curren

Five years into its existence, New York City FC has somewhat amazingly yet to win a U.S. Open Cup match, an ignominious streak it hopes to end Wednesday at Belson Stadium in Queens. This will be the first time NYCFC will face a team from outside the metropolitan area in this competition, with two of the losses coming at the hands of the rival Red Bulls and the others (in its first two campaigns) coming against the lower-division New York Cosmos. The last three of those losses have been shutouts. A loss on Wednesday would give them five consecutive one-and-done Open Cup results, which would be the longest such streak of any MLS team in history.

But head coach Dome Torrent has indicated that there will be a great deal of squad rotation in Wednesday’s USOC lineup, with Daniel Bedoya’s first start for the team grabbing the headlines. Bedoya played his college soccer with St. John’s at Belson Stadium and went to high school just a couple of miles away, so he should have plenty of family and friends in attendance. Homegrown player Justin Haak (17 years old, born in Manhattan a day after 9/11/2001), Keaton Parks (21), and Juan Pablo Torres (19) are all expected to make their first starts for NYCFC, who may have as few as 13 outfield players available due to international duty and injuries.

For North Carolina (who sits in sixth place in the USL Championship East with a 6-2-5 record) to take advantage, they will look to the attacking combination of Dutch striker (by way of Creighton) Marios Lomis (6 goals) and veteran Steven Miller (4), although neither has scored thus far is this year’s tournament. Hometown defender DJ Taylor scored the only goal in North Carolina’s 1-0 win over the upstart Florida Soccer Soldiers in the Third Round, while North Carolina coasted past the Richmond Kickers (USL League One) 4-1 in the Round 2 with four different goal scorers.

This is a rare road trip for NCFC. They have played 34 US Open Cup games in their team history since 2007 and 29 of those games have been played in front of their home fans (21-6-2, 1-1 PKs). Away from home, they have advanced just one time in their five road games (1-3-1, 0-1 PKs). Their record against MLS teams could give their fans cause for optimism, eliminating six top division clubs with a 5-7-2 (1-1 PKs) record.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

North Carolina FC (USL-C)
12th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 22-9-3 (1-2 PK)
Away: 1-3-1 (0-1 PK)
MLS: 5-7-2 (1-1 PK)
Best finish: 2007 Semifinals

New York City FC (MLS)
5th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 0-3-1 (0-1 PK)
Home: 0-1-0
Div. 2 pro: 0-1-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: Fourth Round (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)

Louisville City FC (USL-C) at FC Cincinnati (MLS)
Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati) – Cincinnati, OH
Kickoff: June 12 – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Lawrence Dockery

One thing that makes the US Open Cup special is that it allows for teams that are not in the same league to play each other.  That’s the case when Louisville City hits the road to take on FC Cincinnati. Louisville is in the USL Championship and Cincinnati is in their first season in MLS.  The two cities are just about two hours apart on I-71 and there has always been a healthy rivalry between the two, usually in college athletics between the Cardinals and the Bearcats (be it on the basketball court back in the old Metro Conference and Conference USA days or on the gridiron where they played for the Keg of Nails).  It was certainly a rivalry in the soccer field as well as before their jump to MLS this season, Cincinnati was in the USL with Louisville. It’s safe to say that there is no love lost between these two teams and fans might be looking forward to some fireworks once the game gets under way.

For Louisville City, the US Open Cup is a tournament where they have always done very well.  In fact, in their four seasons of existence, they have never failed to win at least one game in that year’s edition of the tournament.  In 2015 they made a reasonably deep run, beating Lansing United and the Indy Eleven before being eliminated in extra time by the Chicago Fire in the 4th Round.  2016 saw them go out Third Round against the Indy Eleven after getting their first ever penalty shoot-out win in the 2nd Round against Detroit City. 2017 was another Third Round exit, against none other than FC Cincinnati.  But in 2018, they put together a magical run all the way to the quarter-finals where they were the last non-MLS team standing. Along the way they dispatched the Long Island Rough Riders, Saint Louis FC, the New England Revolution, and Nashville SC before eventually falling to the Chicago Fire again.  So far this year they’ve managed to get past Reading United and the Birmingham Legion (the latter on a 90th minute penalty).

Cincinnati only came into existence in 2016, but they too have done well in the Open Cup during their short time as an organization.  Their first foray into the tournament saw them beat the Indy Eleven before falling to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Third Round. 2017 saw them put together a magical run as they ran all the way to the Semifinals.  Along the way they drew multiple crowds of over 30,000 at Nippert Stadium and even got a national TV audience on ESPN. Their road to that Semifinal was AFC Cleveland, Louisville City, the Chicago Fire, and Miami FC (NASL) before they fell in extra-time to the New York Red Bulls.  Last year they won their first two games against Detroit City and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds before getting the boot from Minnesota United.

In terms of their respective league play, it’s two very different stories.  Louisville has been decent, though not as good as in years past (which is hard to do given that they’ve won the last two USL Championships and never failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals). They currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference of USL and have lost just once in their last nine league games.  If the two US Open Cup wins are factored in, Louisville is unbeaten in seven straight games across all competitions.  On the flip side, Cincinnati has been just awful in their first season in MLS and have already fired their manager. Not only are they stuck in the cellar of MLS’ Eastern Conference (that’s 12th out of 12 teams) but they are also the worst team in the whole league with a mere 11 points from 16 games (next closest to them is the Portland Timbers with 14 points from 13 games).  They’ve lost four in a row, nine of their last ten, and have won just once in their last 12 games.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Louisville City FC (USL-C)
5th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 9-4-1 (1-0 PK)
Away: 3-4-0
MLS: 1-2-0
Best finish: 2018 Quarterfinals

FC Cincinnati (MLS)
4th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 7-2-2 (1-1 PK)
Home: 5-1-2 (1-1 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 3-1-0
Best finish: 2017 Semifinals

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Sporting Kansas City (MLS) at Minnesota United FC (MLS)
Allianz Field – St. Paul, MN
Kickoff: June 12 – 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jeremiah Braeback

Minnesota United meets a familiar foe in US Open Cup play, as Sporting Kansas City heads to Allianz Field to face the Loons for the fourth time since 2014, with Kansas City winning each of their first three meetings.

Minnesota comes into the match on a three-match losing streak in MLS play, collecting only four points over their past five matches, but they have done well at Allianz Field, collecting 12 of 21 possible points since their new home opened in mid-April.  The Loons started the season strong offensively, scoring at least two goals in six of their first seven matches, but have only have one multi-goal match since. Darwin Quintero (5 goals, 3 assists) and Angelo Rodriguez (4 goals, 1 assist) lead the Loons in scoring, and Vito Mannone has appeared in goal for each of their 16 matches this season, with five shutouts and 45 saves.

Kansas City, who have won four US Open Cup titles (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017), comes in having collected points in four of their past five matches (1-1-3).  While they have struggled to collect all three points, leading MLS’ Western Conference with 7 Draws. Kansas City are among the MLS leaders in scoring, having scored 26 goals this season, led by Johnny Russell (7 goals, 3 assists), Krisztian Nemeth (7 goals, 1 assist), and Felipe Gutierrez (6 goals, 1 assist), while Tim Melia has started 14 of 15 matches in goal, making 45 saves.  Russell and Nemeth are both away for EURO2020 Qualifying for their respective national teams.

With both sides depleted by international call ups and the typical squad rotation seen in early round US Open Cup matches, expect to see several fresh faces in this match, including players recalled or loaned up from their USL-Championship affiliates.  Kansas City has the advantage historically, outscoring the Loons 8-1 over their previous three meetings, but with the Wonderwall behind them at Allianz Field, playing at home could be the difference for Minnesota.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
21st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 28-14-6 (4-2 PK)
Away: 8-7-4 (2-2 PK)
MLS: 14-9-3 (3-0 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017)

Minnesota United FC (MLS)
9th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 5-7-2 (1-1 PK)
Home: 1-3-0
MLS: 1-5-0
Best finish: 2018 Fifth Round

Philadelphia Union (MLS) at D.C. United (MLS)
Audi Field – Washington, D.C.
Kickoff: June 12 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Sydney Hunte & Louis Roesch

The Philadelphia Union and D.C. United open their respective U.S. Open Cup runs on Wednesday night at Audi Field. It’s a matchup of a pair of teams toward the top of the MLS Eastern Conference standings, as the Union sit in first with 31 points while D.C. are just four points back.

Philadelphia have been one of the surprise teams in MLS this season. After a sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference last year, Jim Curtin’s side is atop the conference table thanks to a three-match unbeaten streak. It is coming off a comeback win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, with the Red Bulls holding a 2-0 lead with 30 minutes to go before a goal by Jamiro Montiero and a brace by Ilsinho led the Union to a 3-2 victory. Following a defeat in last year’s Open Cup final – its third runner-up finish in five seasons – Philadelphia hopes that its latest stint in the competition will finally end with silverware.

If ever there was a bad time for the Philadelphia Union to have to play a soccer game, now would be it. The Union, last season’s US Open Cup runner-up, find themselves in a difficult predicament heading into Wednesday night’s road match. National team call-ups, injuries and a limit on foreign born player participation has Philadelphia grasping to field a solid starting XI. Gone are goalkeeper Andre Blake, defender Aaron Trusty, midfielder Brenden Aaronson and forward Marco Fabian among others. Philadelphia was forced to call up four academy players just to round out the bench including Shanyder Borgelin, Ben Ofiemu, Issa Rayan and Zach Zandi from USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel FC as reinforcements.

Meanwhile, D.C. United have won the Open Cup three times, most recently in 2013. The club will be without Junior Moreno and Paul Arriola, and despite having Chris Durkin back from the Under-20 World Cup, the 19-year-old will not participate in Wednesday’s match thanks to a red card disqualification that carried over from last year’s Round of 16 defeat against Orlando City SC. D.C. have been off since June 1, a 1-1 draw against San Jose to extend its winless streak to six matches. It has scored just six goals in that stretch, with three coming against the Chicago Fire on May 29. But at least they are becoming healthier. Defender Chris Odoi-Atsem is working his way back into starting XI shape and the centerback duo of Steven Birnbaum and Frederic Brillanare are playing stingy defense

The Union will have its work cut out for them offensively. Even without forward Paul Arriola (US National Team duty), Wayne Rooney is playing well enough to cause chaos in the offensive third, assuming he plays.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Philadelphia Union (MLS)
8th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 16-4-6 (3-3 PK)
Away: 1-2-4 (2-2 PK)
MLS: 8-4-5 (2-3 PK)
Best finish: Runner-Up (2014, 2015, 2018)

D.C. United (MLS)
21st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 32-13-7 (3-4 PK)
Home: 23-5-4 (1-3 PK)
MLS: 10-9-3 (0-3 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (1996, 2008, 2013)

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OKC Energy FC (USL-C) at FC Dallas (MLS)
Westcott Field (Southern Methodist Univ.) – Dallas, TX
Kickoff: June 12 – 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Daniel Crooke

History has a habit of repeating itself as FC Dallas hosts Energy FC for the third time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Oklahoma side has only once reached the Fourth Round without running into the Texans, when they fell 3-2 to the Colorado Rapids in 2017.

Outside of the cup, the two sides are no strangers. They’ve met regularly in preseason with OKC serving as FC Dallas’ USL affiliate up until this year. The Energy coaching staff regularly attended FC Dallas preseason camps to evaluate potential loans. One player who has benefited from that attention is Energy left back Amer Sasivarevic, who was drafted by FC Dallas in 2018 but was a late cut. Two other Oklahoma City players have had spells with FC Dallas as Atiba Harris was part of the team to win the 2016 US Open Cup, while Je-Vaughn Watson was part of the New England Revolution side that fell in the 2016 Final having been traded from Dallas earlier in the year. As much as Watson would value revenge, he will be away with Jamaica as they prepare for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

As FC Dallas has struggled with injury and international call-ups of late, Luchi Gonzalez is planning to utilize Dallas’ USL League One side, North Texas SC. The USL League One 16-year-old leading scorer, Ricardo Pepi, will make his full FC Dallas debut having scored seven goals in six appearances. The game could also feature Dallas’ three members of the US Under-20 World Cup roster. Paxton Pomykal, who captained the side, may be rested but Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo could certainly see playing time at SMU’s Westcott Field in Dallas having returned from Poland.

FC Dallas have been the model of consistency among MLS clubs in this competition. They have won the fourth-most games of any team in the Modern Era (1995-present), and they have the most Quarterfinal appearances (16) of any team in the history of the tournament. Despite consistently winning in the tournament, they have won the US Open Cup just twice.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

OKC Energy FC (USL-C)
6th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 8-4-2 (1-1 PK)
Away: 5-4-2 (1-1 PK)
MLS: 0-2-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: Fourth Round (2015, 2016, 2017)

FC Dallas (MLS)
22nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 34-18-6 (5-1 PK)
Home: 20-6-3 (2-1 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 18-1-2 (2-0 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (1997, 2014)

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Orlando City SC (MLS) at Memphis 901 FC (USL-C)
Mike Rose Soccer Complex – Memphis, TN
Kickoff: June 12 – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Lawrence Dockery

The US Open Cup is the one competition where fans of teams in the lower tiers of the US Soccer pyramid get an opportunity to see their team play an MLS team.  And with all 21 American MLS teams entering the tournament in the Fourth Round, that is now actually happening for a number of lower division teams. One of the best things about the US Open Cup is when the teams from MLS go to teams from the USL or NASL and so on.  This is the case as Orlando City travels to the Mid-South to take on Memphis 901 FC.

Memphis 901 FC is in their first season of existence in the USL Championship and is in the midst of an impressive run so far in this year’s edition of the Open Cup.  They entered in the Second Round and promptly dispatched the New York Red Bulls Under-23s by a score of 3-1. Josh Morton dropped two goals and Cam Lindley added another as Memphis actually had to come from behind to win that one, as they conceded a goal just five minutes into the game.  They moved on to the Third Round and took on the Hartford Athletic (who, at the time, was one of two teams they had beaten in USL play). Due to a scheduling conflict with the Memphis Redbirds the game was not played at their usual home of AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis, but was instead played at the stadium at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in the suburb of Collierville.  The change of venue did not phase the Boys in Blue however as they ran riot over Hartford to the tune of 4-0. Jochen Graf bagged two goals, the captain Marc Burch added one from the penalty spot, and Morgan Hackworth joined in the fun less than ten minutes from time. After the game, several of the players jokingly said they were going to file a petition to have all of their home games moved to Mike Rose.  And as it turns out, they got their wish to a small degree as the upcoming game against Orlando will be there, due to there not being enough time to flip AutoZone Park from baseball to soccer and then back to baseball.

Orlando has yet to play a game in this edition of the Open Cup, but their manager is no stranger to the competition.  James O’Connor was the manager at Louisville City in the USL for their first three and a half years of existence and guided them to a pair of deep Open Cup runs.  In 2015 (their first year as a team) they won their first two games in the Open Cup against Lansing United and then the Indy Eleven before falling in extra time on the road to the Chicago Fire.  In 2018, O’Connor guided them to the quarter-finals where they were the last non-MLS team standing. Along the way the eliminated the Long Island Rough Riders, St. Louis FC, the New England Revolution, and Nashville SC before again falling to the Chicago Fire.  While O’Connor’s Open Cup resume is a solid one, Orlando’s is kind of a mixed bag. They have been eliminated by teams from lower divisions on multiple occasions and have managed more than one win in the competition just twice, most recently last season as they eased past Miami United and DC United before being bounced out of the quarter-finals by the Philadelphia Union.

In terms of how each team is faring in their respective league this season, Memphis and Orlando are both struggling somewhat.  While that’s nothing new for Orlando (they have yet to qualify for MLS Cup Playoffs in any their four seasons as a team) it is to be expected for Memphis as it is just their first season ever.  Orlando does appear to be warming up just a little bit as they’ve moved up to 8th place in the Eastern Conference of MLS and they have won two of their last three games. Memphis meanwhile has struggled league play, though they have been unfortunate in that two of their last four league games have had to be postponed due to severe weather issues.  Prior to this past Saturday’s drubbing at the hands of the Indy Eleven, Memphis had been unbeaten in five games across all competitions (a win and two draws in USL play and then two wins in the Open Cup).

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Orlando City SC (MLS)
11th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 15-10-2 (2-0 PK)
Away: 5-7-2 (2-0 PK)
Div. 2 pro: 2-2-0
Best finish: Quarterfinals (2013*, 2015, 2018)
* As USL PRO team

Memphis 901 FC (USL-C)
1st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 2-0-0
Home: 2-0-0
MLS: N/A
Best finish: First entry

New Mexico United (USL-C) at Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, CO
Kickoff: June 12 – 9 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jim Coppock

New Mexico United have yet to kick a ball at home in this tournament, but are wearing the moniker of “road warriors” quite well after eliminating two fellow USL Championship sides in the second and third rounds; a 4-3 penalty kick tiebreaker, after a 2-2 draw in Phoenix in the second, and a come from behind win against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in in Colorado Springs, 2-1 (aet) in the third.

The Rapids have yet to play a game in this edition of the U.S. Open Cup, but have fared quite well at home historically, winning seven of eight games. However, their home form is one of the few bright spots in their history of this tournament. Their biggest highlight was their run to the 1999 US Open Cup Final, where they lost 2-0 to the Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League, Div. 2 pro). Since then, they have qualified 15 times and have failed to advance in multiple games in a single tournament during those 15 trips to the competition. And no MLS team has been upset by lower division teams more than the Rapids, who have been “cupset” 10 times.

NMU moved into first place in the West in May on the strength on a six-game unbeaten run, which ended at the hands of Sacramento last weekend. Veteran player (and Albuquerque native) Devon Sandoval is no stranger to the confines of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, having visited many times as a member of MLS’ Real Salt Lake.

The Rapids are experiencing a resurgence under interim skipper, and former player, Conor Casey, with an unbeaten run of 5 games. Kei Kamara leads the team with 8 goals, including the winner against Minnesota United last weekend. Andre Shinyashiki has had some brilliant moments in an otherwise less than idyllic 2019 for the Burgundy.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

New Mexico United (USL-C)
1st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 1-0-1
Away: 1-0-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: N/A
Best finish: First entry

Colorado Rapids (MLS)
19th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 13-18-0
Home: 7-1-0
Div. 2 pro: 6-8-0
Best finish: 1999 Runner-Up

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Orange County FC (NPSL) at LA Galaxy (MLS)
Dignity Health Sports Park Track Stadium – Carson, CA
Kickoff: June 12 – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Daniel Crooke

Orange County FC enter Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup Fourth Round hoping that the old adage of ‘league form goes out of the window in the cup’ doesn’t apply with they and opponents, LA Galaxy, experiencing vastly different fortunes of late.

Paul Caligiuri’s men look to become the first NPSL side to reach the fifth round of the cup, and will do so behind a 9-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Caligiuri – who won the 2001 U.S. Open Cup with the Galaxy – will also be targeting his former club as OCFC look for a signature giant-killing in only their second season in the competition.

The five-time MLS Cup winners will be looking to improve on their own form, which has seen three consecutive home defeats within a run of five losses from their last seven games. One run the Galaxy do want to extend is their unbeaten streak when drawn at home in the fourth round. LA have only suffered defeat at home once in the fourth round of the competition, 20 years ago when the Columbus Crew won 3-1 in the quarter final at Titan Stadium.

Orange County will be leaning on the attacking prowess of Cody Shelton after scoring twice in the Open Cup already, and bagging the game-winning penalty against Orange County SC. Shelton has ten goals in 15 appearances in NPSL to add to the two in three from the Cup this year. The Galaxy are led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 11 goals in 12 games, with quite a void behind the Swede to defender Daniel Steres’ three goals. The game could instead provide 16-year-old homegrown Efrain Alvarez a chance to shine after a 45-minute outing in the Galaxy’s 2-1 loss to New England last week.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Orange County FC (NPSL)
2nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 3-1-1 (1-0 PK)
Away: 1-1-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: N/A
Best finish: 2018 Second Round

LA Galaxy (MLS)
19th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 31-16-1 (1-0 PK)
Home: 22-3-0
vs. Open Division: 6-0-0
Best finish: Champions (2001, 2005)

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Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
Cheney Stadium – Tacoma, WA
Kickoff: June 12 – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jeremiah Braeback

The Portland Timbers will face a familiar foe, as they travel up I-5 to take on the Seattle Sounders in the Fourth Round of the 2019 US Open Cup from Cheney Stadium in Tacoma Washington.  This match will be the 8th meeting between the Cascadia rivals in the Cup since 2005, the most in the Modern Era and the fourth meeting since both sides joined MLS.

The Timbers and Sounders are no strangers to each other, having played five times since the start of the 2018 season, but this will be their first meeting since their match up in the 2018 Playoffs, which went to the Timbers following penalty kicks.

The Timbers, who have never reached the US Open Cup Final, come into the match after a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles FC in their first home match of the 2019 Season on June 1st and they are 4-2-1 over their prior 7 matches to close out their 3-month road trip to start the season.  The acquisition of Brian Fernandez, who has produced 4 goals in 3 matches, has been key to their recent success, as has the resurgence of Diego Valeri, who has 2 goals and 3 assists in his past 6 matches.  Jeremy Ebobisse has (4 goals, 1 assist) is tied with Fernandez for the team lead in goals, while both Jeff Attinella (9 starts, 38 saves) and Steve Clark (4 starts, 14 saves) have appeared in goal.

The Sounders, who are seeking a record-tying fifth US Open Cup title, have struggled mightily in recent weeks, losing three consecutive matches on the road and are 1-3-1 over their last five matches, after starting the season 6-1-4.  Raul Ruidiaz (6 goals, 1 assist), Kelvin Leerdam (4 goals, 2 assists), and Nicolas Lodeiro (2 goals, 8 assists) lead the Sounders in scoring, while Stefan Frei has made 51 saves and has recorded 5 shutouts in 16 starts in goal this season.

With this match coming during an International Break, both sides will be affected by international call ups, as the Timbers will be without four first team players (Andres Flores, Andy Polo, Marco Farfan, and Eryk Williamson) and the Sounders will be missing 9 first team players (Gustav Svensson, Nicolas Lodeiro, Raul Ruidíaz, Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris, Roman Torres, Jordy Delem, Joevin Jones, and Xavier Arreaga).

While the match would appear to lean toward the less-depleted Timbers, who can field a mostly first choice lineup and have been in good form as of late, sparks always fly when the Timbers and Sounders meet and in the U.S. Open Cup, anything can happen.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Portland Timbers (MLS)
15th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 16-13-1 (0-1 PK)
Away: 8-7-0
MLS: 6-9-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2013 Semifinals

Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
23rd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 36-16-6 (4-2 PK)
Home: 28-3-2 (2-0 PK)
MLS: 19-10-3 (2-1 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014)

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