2019 US Open Cup Round of 16 preview: 14 MLS, 2 USL Championship teams compete in 8 matches this week

Posted by | June 18, 2019
Bring on MLS Game of Thrones Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design

Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design

As we now enter the later half of the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, stakes are quickly getting bigger. All teams remaining now have at least one game under their belt for this year’s competition. Major League Soccer dominated the last round, winning nine of the 11 matches that involved only one of their teams. There are still two remaining teams not from MLS, both from USL Championship in Saint Louis FC and New Mexico United. All eight matches of the Round of 16 will be played over the next three days. Two on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, and one on Thursday.

The winners will advance to the Quarterfinals, which is scheduled to take place the week of July 10, 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.

A bracket has been set for the competition with four regions. The two winners from the same region will play each other in the Quarterfinals.

Below is a preview (with video links) of all eight of the games scheduled this week:

#USOC2019 ESSENTIALS
2019 US Open Cup Schedule/Results (with links to every match report
2019 US Open Cup statistical leaders (Goals, Assists, GKs)
2019 US Open Cup bracket (TheCup.us)

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
2019 US Open Cup Round 4: 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
Round 4: Teal Bunbury – New England Revolution

#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 York City FC (MLS) at D.C. United (MLS)
Audi Field – Washington, D.C.
Kickoff: June 19 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Michael Stewart Allen

New York City FC finally got the US Open Cup monkey off their back last week when they defeated North Carolina FC 4-0 in the Fourth Round. It was the first tournament win for the club after four straight one-and-done entries since the club launched in 2015. Now the club must make a trip to nation’s capital to face a very good D.C. United team looking for a win of their own.

Domenec Torrent’s men are in good form of late, having not lost a game in 11 matches. Last week, the NYCFC coach relied on younger players to get him though the match-up and they performed beautifully. Keaton Parks was a true stand out scoring two goals and helping dominate the midfield. He will likely be back on the starting sheet again alongside Maxi Moralez. The question is who else will fill out the pitch. It is likely that Anton Tinnerholm returns again in the center back position and Tony Rocha take up post at left back. The two performed very well against North Carolina but they will face a different kind of test against DC.

D.C. United needed two late overtime goals to defeat Philadelphia 2-1 last week to advance to the Round of 16. They are very good at home, boasting a seven-game unbeaten streak in the Open Cup dating back to 2013, and should have a great fan base there to back them up. Wayne Rooney is insisting that he will play in this match and could give the piecemeal back line of NYCFC real problems. If Luciano Acosta joins in, then it could be a hard test for the boys in blue.

This promises to be a game to watch with lots of goals coming from several different positions.  NYCFC have one of the most potent attacks in MLS right now with Alexandru Mitria, Heber, and Ismael Tajouri Shradi. United have a proven cup champion in Wayne Rooney who showed no signs of pressure icing Philadelphia last week.  They game will be fast paced and fun with both sides having an equal chance at winning. D.C. are one of the most successful teams in the history of the Open Cup though, capturing the title three times and finishing as runners up twice. It will be a good one.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

New York City FC (MLS)
5th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 1-3-1 (0-1 PK)
Away: 0-2-1 (0-1 PK)
MLS: 0-2-0
Best finish: TBD (2019)

D.C. United (MLS)
21st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 33-13-7 (3-4 PK)
Home: 24-5-4 (1-3 PK)
MLS: 11-9-3 (0-3 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (1996, 2008, 2013)

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New England Revolution (MLS) at Orlando City SC (MLS)
Exploria Stadium – Orlando, FL
Kickoff: June 19 – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jake Sillick

Both New England and Orlando are trying to make due with what has been a tough season for both teams so far. Both sit outside the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. A deep cup run could salvage seasons for both, or provide a boost to their league form.

New England, with its recently hired coach Bruce Arena, got through New York Red Bulls last week in the Fourth Round. Teal Bunbury was named player of the round after scoring two goals including a spectacular chip shot in extra time to seal the victory in extra time. With only one title under their name over a decade ago, they hope to get back to the promised land and finally add another trophy to their cabinet.

The Revolution have just one major trophy in team history and it has come in the US Open Cup back in 2007. The Revs have reached the championship game twice (2001, 2016) and a run to the 2008 Semifinals, but beyond that, there has been limited success in their previous 18 years in the tournament. Only the Colorado Rapids (11) have been eliminated by lower division teams more in the competition than the Revs.

Orlando had great success in this competition as a USL team, amassing a 12-6-0 record from 2009-14 including two MLS upsets before joining MLS in 2015. However, the Lions have yet to advance beyond the Quarterfinals in 10 previous Open Cup appearances. Last week in Memphis, though, they were able to get the job done against Memphis 901 FC on the road with a 3-1 win. Sacha Kjlestan scored two goals in the match to lead the way. Orlando is right on the cut line of the MLS playoffs currently, sitting in 8th place in the Eastern Conference and just one point back of 7th place Toronto FC.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

New England Revolution (MLS)
18th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 20-14-5 (3-2 PK)
Away: 6-9-2 (1-1 PK)
MLS: 7-9-1 (1-0 PK)
Best finish: 2007 US Open Cup champions

Orlando City SC (MLS)
11th US Open Cup appearance (5th as MLS team)
Overall: 16-10-2 (2-0 PK) | 4-4-2 (2-0 PK) as MLS team
Home: 10-3-0 | 1-2-0 as MLS team
MLS: 3-8-1 (1-0 PK) | 1-2-1 (1-0 PK) as MLS team
Best finish: Quarterfinals (2013*, 2015, 2018)
* as USL PRO team

Atlanta United FC (MLS) at Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
MAPFRE Stadium – Columbus, OH
Kickoff: June 18 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

UPDATE: Atlanta United defeats Columbus Crew, 3-2 to advance club’s first Quarterfinals

By Tyler Fisher

After defeating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the Fourth Round of U.S. Open Cup play, Columbus Crew SC now host Atlanta United in the Round of 16. Columbus winger David Accam was the lone goal against the Riverhounds, giving the Black & Gold a 1-0 victory.

For Atlanta, their originally scheduled Fourth Round match had to be moved to the next day due to unplayable field conditions in Charleston, S.C. With no other options available, the USSF allowed Atlanta to host the game at Kennesaw State University behind closed doors. Atlanta defeated the Charleston Battery 3-1 in extra time to advance to the Round of 16, where they drew Crew SC.

The last time these two teams met, it was during league play in Ohio where the weather was nothing but pouring rain. Columbus would eventually win that game 2-0 after an hour and a half rain delay at MAPFRE Stadium. The weather for this Open Cup game, however, is looking to bring Deja Vu back to the Buckeye State.

Columbus, who won the 2002 US Open Cup title and finished runner-up twice (1998, 2010), will be without key players due to international duty and injuries, and it seems although that the Five Stripes will also be without a duo of star players.

Head coach Caleb Porter recently recalled center back Alex Crognale from loan to Orange County SC, to help propel the back line against the reigning MLS Cup Champions.

If Columbus can help contain the pressure that the Five Stripes will bring, the Black & Gold will look to aim their sights on the quarterfinals, while Atlanta will hope to spoil the party at home.

Should Columbus move on past United, they will play the winner of the match between St. Louis FC and “Hell Is Real” rival, FC Cincinnati.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Atlanta United FC (MLS)
3rd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 3-2-0
Away: 0-1-0
MLS: 0-1-0
Best finish: Fifth Round (2017, 2018, 2019)

Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
20th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 23-15-3 (0-3 PK)
Home: 14-5-2 (0-2 PK)
MLS: 9-11-2 (0-2 PK)
Best finish: 2002 US Open Cup champions

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FC Cincinnati (MLS) at Saint Louis FC (USL-C)
World Wide Technology Soccer Park – Fenton, MO
Kickoff: June 19 – 8:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Louis Roesch

MLS expansion side FC Cincinnati enters the Round of 16 on the road against dare we say upstart Saint Louis FC, one of the two remaining USL Championship sides. The two teams are no strangers to each other with FC Cincinnati being a member of the USL for three years before joining MLS this season.

Cincinnati needed extra time and a goal from Kekuta Manneh in the 103rd minute to slip past former USL rival Louisville City and that was at home. FCC is no stranger to extra time in US Open Cup competition as five of their last seven tournament matches, dating back to their USL days. The Orange and Blue had lost four straight league games before their Open Cup win over Louisville, their first taste of victory since May 11. Now they must hit the road where they have not done well this season. However, they face a Saint Louis club that they have beaten four of the last five times including a draw.

Cincinnati made a name for themselves prior to joining MLS with their record-breaking crowds and a run to the 2017 Semifinals.

Saint Louis FC carries the momentum of their first-ever win over a MLS team into a midweek battle with FC Cincinnati. Saint Louis’ 2-1 win over the Fire earned them a Round of 16 berth for the first time in club history. Four former FC Cincinnati players (Matt Bahner, Kyle Greig, Kadeem Dacres and Russell Cicerone) have accounted for six of the club’s 13 goals in 2019. The club is currently in the middle of the table in the USL Championship (9th place out of 18 teams) with a 5-3-4 record. The team’s US Open Cup form hasn’t carried over into league play lately. They are winless over their last three games (0-2-1) with just two goals scored.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

FC Cincinnati (MLS)
4th US Open Cup appearance (1st as MLS team)
Overall: 8-2-2 (1-1 PK) | 1-0-0 as MLS team
Away: 2-1-0 | 0-0-0 as MLS team
Div. 2 Pro: 4-1-0 | 1-0-0 as MLS team
Best finish: 2017 Semifinals (as USL team)

Saint Louis FC (USL-C)
5th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 7-4-2 (2-0 PK)
Home: 4-2-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: 1-2-0
Best finish: TBD (2019)

Minnesota United FC (MLS) at Houston Dynamo (MLS)
BBVA Stadium – Houston, TX
Kickoff: June 18 – 7 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

UPDATE: Minnesota stages comeback and defeats Houston 3-2 after being down 0-2 at halftime.

By Jeremiah Braeback

Minnesota United hits the road to take on the Houston Dynamo, the reigning US Open Cup Champions, in the Round of 16 from BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Minnesota comes into the match following at 4-1 victory against fellow MLS side Sporting Kansas City in the Fourth Round last week, with a brace from Darwin Quintero, and goals from Angelo Rodriguez and Ethan Finlay, as Quintero netted his first goals since April. In MLS play, the Loons are on a three-match losing streak and are 2-3-0 over their last five matches.

Houston enters the match after a 3-2 victory over USL-Championship side Austin Bold last week in Houston, scoring three quick goals in the first half from Tomas Martinez, Ronaldo Pena, and Matias Vera.  The Dynamo gave up two goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half to make things interesting, but ultimately emerged victorious. Prior to last week’s match Houston was 1-2-2 in their last five MLS matches.

Temperatures will be pushing the upper 90s during the day and remaining in the low 90s at kickoff, Minnesota will have to battle not only the Dynamo but also the Texas heat and humidity.  The Loons have not fared well in Houston, with a record of 0-2-2 at BBVA Stadium, including last year’s loss, and the Dynamo has one of the best defenses in MLS, allowing only 14 goals in 13 matches and are undefeated at home this season (6-0-3 in MLS).

The Loons and Dynamo have met once this season, a 1-0 victory to the Loons on May 25th as Romain Metanire scored in the 20th minute, though Metanire will not be available for this match as he remains on international duty, as will Kevin Molino and Rasmus Schuller, but Jan Gregus returns from EURO 2020 Qualifying.  Houston enters the match shorthanded as well, as Darwin Ceren, Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Maynor Figueroa represent their respective national teams at the Gold Cup, but get back Mauro Manotas, the leading goal scorer in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup.  Both sides will field as close to first choice lineups as possible, but with these absences to key plays, both coaches will have some interesting choices as they select the strongest squad possible.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

Minnesota United FC (MLS)
10th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 6-7-2 (1-1 PK) | 1-2-1 (1-0 PK) as MLS team
Away: 4-4-2 (1-1 PK) | 0-2-1 (1-0 PK) as MLS team
MLS: 2-5-0 | 1-2-0 as MLS
Best finish: Fifth Round (2018, 2019)

Houston Dynamo (MLS)
13th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 17-10-2 (1-1 PK)
Home: 14-4-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: 6-8-1 (1-0 PK)
Best finish: 2018 US Open Cup champions

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New Mexico United (USL-C) at FC Dallas (MLS)
Westcott Field (Southern Methodist Univ.) – Dallas, TX
Kickoff: June 19 – 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jim Coppock

First-year team, New Mexico United, is poised to create a new Cinderella story. If they can successfully navigate the next three games, they would be in the Final in their first year of existence. The last first-year team to reach the Final was the Chicago Fire in 1998. The last non-MLS team to reach the Final was the Charleston Battery in 2008.

New Mexico United, prepare for their fourth consecutive road game in the US Open Cup this year. In the Fourth Round they collected their first MLS scalp at the expense of the Colorado Rapids. Kevaughn Frater’s thundering equalizer in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time, sent the game to extra time and penalties, where they were able to outlast a short-handed Colorado for a ticket to the Fifth Round. It was NMU’s second trip to the penalty kick tiebreaker in three games.

FC Dallas have a historical record of 35-18-6 in the Cup — currently on a nine-game home unbeaten run (7-0-2) — and are looking to win their third title (1997 and 2016). They arrive in this round by a thorough dismantling of Oklahoma City Energy of the USL Championship, by a 4-0 score. They will be hoping for more from their 16-year-old debutant, Ricardo Pepi, who garnered his first assist in his first-team debut.

Both teams have shown the ability to generate goals from most anyone on the field. Each team has six players that have found their way onto the score sheet in the 2019 tournament.

New Mexico United: Devon Sandoval 3G/1A, Kevaughn Frater 2G/1A (1GWG), Christopher Wehan 1G, Santi Moar 2A, Pablo Cruz 1A and Josh Suggs 1A.

FC Dallas: Michael Barrios 1G/1A, Matt Hedges 1G (GW), Dominique Badji 1G, Reto Ziegler 1G, Ricardo Pepi 1A and Jesus Ferreira 1A

League form:

MLS teams are in the middle of a two-week Gold Cup break, while New Mexico United come back from a disappointing weekend business trip to Las Vegas in the league, falling 5-1.

New Mexico United fell from 1st in the West after losing to Las Vegas this past Saturday. The extra games, and a long road spell, seem to be having a negative effect on league form. United are two games into a 7-game road trip in all comps, which ends July 24 , and were flat against Las Vegas. Frater, Moar, Sandoval and Wehan, 4 of United’s top 5 goal scorers, all got a partial rest in that game. Ryan Williams is the last member of that quintet, all of whom have combined for 29 of United’s 32 goals (91%).

FC Dallas has been on a not-so-hot run of form in MLS, winning only one of their last five games. On the plus side from the Fourth Round, was the first-team debut of 16-year old forward, Ricardo Pepi. Pepi, who has been with North Texas SC, FCD’s USL League 1 side, tallied his first assist. He is an FCD Academy alum who joined them at age 13. FCD seem to be banking on youth, as 17 of their 28 rostered players are under the age of 25. FC Dallas’ top 5 league scorers, Ferreira, Ziegler, Barrios, Badji and Paxton Pomyjkal, have combined for 13 of the team’s 19 goals (68%).

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

New Mexico United (USL-C)
>1st US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 1-0-2 (2-0 PK)
Away: 1-0-2 (2-0 PK)
MLS: 0-0-1 (1-0 PK)
Best finish: First entry

FC Dallas (MLS)
22nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 35-18-6 (5-1 PK)
Home: 21-6-3 (2-1 PK)
Div. 2 Pro: 19-1-2 (2-0 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (1997, 2016)

LA Galaxy (MLS) at Portland Timbers (MLS)
Providence Park – Portland, OR
Kickoff: June 19 -11 pm ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Jeremiah Braeback

The Los Angeles Galaxy head to the Pacific Northwest, as they take on the Portland Timbers at the newly re-born Providence Park in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.

The Timbers enter the matched following their 2-1 victory over Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders last Wednesday in Tacoma, Washington.  Led by a brace from newly-signed striker Brian Fernandez, who has six goals in his first four appearances, the Timbers fielded a mostly first team squad against their rivals.  In MLS play, the Timbers are 2-2-1 over their last five matches.

LA Galaxy come into the match after knocking out NPSL side Orange County FC, 3-0, following a second half brace from 16 year-old homegrown player Efrain Alvarez, and a goal from rookie Emil Cuello. In MLS play, the Galaxy are 2-3-0 over their past five matches.

The Timbers and Galaxy have met once so far this season, a 2-1 victory for the Galaxy that featured a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the penalty spot, and goal for the Timbers from Jeremy Ebobisse on March 31 in Carson, CA.  This is the third meeting between the Timbers and Galaxy of the last four US Open Cups. In their most recent meeting, the Timbers defeated the Galaxy 1-0 in 2018, as Sebastian Blanco netted a goal in the 30th minute in Portland.  In 2016 at Providence Park, the Galaxy used a 5th minute goal from Raul Mendiola to defeat the Timbers 1-0.

With the match coming during an international break, both sides are affected by national team callups, as the Timbers will be without Andy Polo and Andres Flores, who are representing their home countries in the Gold Cup.  The Galaxy will be without the services of Johnathan Dos Santos, Uriel Antuna, Giancarlo Gonzalez, and Ernesto Walker, who are representing their home nations in the Gold Cup.

In last week’s match, the Timbers were also without Marco Farfan and Eryk Williamson and Galaxy were without Justin Vom Steeg, all of whom were at the recently-concluded U.S. National Team’s U23 training camp, which concluded June 16, so all three players may be available for the match.  Ibrahimovic also did not appear in last week’s match and given his previous aversion to playing on the artificial pitch at Providence Park, it remains to be seen whether he makes the trip.

Riding the momentum of the re-opening of Providence Park, Fernandez’ recent form, and with the Timbers Army chanting behind them the entire match, it could be to just hand this match to a Timbers that finally appears to have found themselves, but the Galaxy can never be counted out, especially if Ibrahimovic takes the pitch.

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

LA Galaxy (MLS)
19th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 32-16-1 (1-0 PK)
Away: 9-13-1 (1-0 PK)
MLS: 12-12-1 (1-0 PK)
Best finish: US Open Cup champions (2001, 2005)

Portland Timbers (MLS)
15th US Open Cup appearance (8th as MLS team)
Overall:17-13-1 (0-1 PK) | 10-7-0 as MLS team
Home: 8-6-1 (0-1 PK) | 6-2-0 as MLS team
MLS:7-9-1 (0-1 PK) | 7-6-0 as MLS team
Best finish: 2013 Semifinals

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San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at Los Angeles FC (MLS)
Banc of California Stadium – Los Angeles, CA
Kickoff: June 20 – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+

By Josh Hakala

The San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles FC with both teams seeking their first US Open Cup title. This San Jose’s 18th trip to the tournament while LAFC is entering their second, and has yet to officially lose a match (last year they were eliminated by Houston Dynamo in penalty kicks, which is officially listed as a draw).

San Jose reached the Round of 16 after a 4-3 home win over the upset-minded Sacramento Republic of the USL Championship. Vako Qazaishvili came off the bench to score of late goals as the Quakes held off a late push by the Republic to advance. It was a welcome win for San Jose after losing their opening round game to the Portland Timbers the year before after falling a penalty kick shootout short of reaching the Final in 2017 (losing on the road to eventual champion Sporting Kansas City).

LAFC cruised to a 3-0 road win over Real Salt Lake in their tournament opener. Goals from Carlos Vela, Lee Nguyen and Adama Diomande helped Los Angeles carry their red-hot league form into the US Open Cup. LAFC is unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions (6-0-3) and has the best record in MLS (11-1-4).

San Jose are 5-6-4 in league play, sitting in a tie for 7th place with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference. However, they have played well as of late as they are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions (3-0-2).

US OPEN CUP HISTORY

San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
16th US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 15-11-7 (3-4 PK)
Away: 7-6-4 (2-2 PK)
MLS: 2-8-4 (0-4 PK)
Best finish: Semifinals (2004, 2017)

Los Angeles FC (MLS)
2nd US Open Cup appearance
Overall: 4-0-1 (0-1 PK)
Home: 3-0-0
MLS: 2-0-1 (0-1 PK)
Best finish: 2018 Semifinals

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