US Open Cup: Schedule set for MLS teams entering tournament in fourth round
Major League Soccer's 16 American-based teams enter the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the fourth round, and after a wild night of third-round action on Wednesday, all 16 games are scheduled for the fourth round, which will run from June 11-18.
Here are the matchups, in chronological order:
Wednesday, June 11, 10 pm ET, Houston Dynamo vs. Laredo Heat (PDL)
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
Although this is the teams' first competitive meeting, they did play in a friendly during the 2010 World Cup, a 2-1 Houston win despite an early goal from Laredo forward Felix Garcia, who signed a Generation adidas contract with MLS and was allocated to Houston in 2009 but never joined the club. Garcia has recently been cleared to compete for the Heat as an amateur once again.
Wednesday, June 11, 10:30 pm ET, San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sacramento Republic (USL PRO)
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco
If you thought soccer games in old 49ers stadiums were done after the US-Azerbaijan game, think again, because the Earthquakes will host USL PRO co-affiliates Sacramento at an even older venue. The Republic have been boosted by huge crowds in Sacramento under head coach Preki, and former MLS regular Justin Braun scored twice in their third-round win over Fresno on Wednesday night; Portland Timbers loanee Steven Evans also scored.
Saturday, June 14, 8:30 pm ET, New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. New York Red Bulls
Shuart Stadium, Hofstra University, Hempstead N.Y.
The most anticipated matchup of the fourth round pits the 2013 Soccer Bowl champion Cosmos against the 2013 Supporters' Shield-winning Red Bulls, with former MetroStars teammates Giovanni Savarese and Mike Petke squaring off as head coaches. The Cosmos roster features former Red Bulls Hunter Freeman, Jimmy Maurer and Carlos Mendes. Cheering wars in the stands ought to add some spice to the occasion, especially if fans of 2015 expansion club New York City FC decide to throw their hats in the ring.
Saturday, June 14, 8 pm ET, Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Chivas USA
WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary N.C.
This is getting to be a habit. Carolina have hosted both of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles-based teams in Open Cup play in each of the last two years and have gone 3-1 against the big boys while drawing more than 7,000 fans three times. In 2012, Chivas USA eliminated the RailHawks on a stoppage-time penalty kick from Juan Pablo Angel, while Carolina got revenge with a 3-1 extra-time win last season en route to the quarterfinals. Carolina's roster includes familiar MLS names like Zack Schilawski, Enzo Martinez, Jun Marques Davidson, Nick Zimmerman and Toni Stahl.
Saturday, June 14, 7:30 pm ET, Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) vs. Real Salt Lake
Silverbacks Park, Atlanta
In another Open Cup rematch, Real Salt Lake will go cross-country to try and eliminate Atlanta for the second straight year. RSL needed extra for a wild 3-2 win last year en route to the final. Atlanta won the NASL's spring title last year but is 3-4 in the 2014 campaign under technical director Eric Wynalda.
Tuesday, June 17, 7 pm ET, Philadelphia Union vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO)
PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
Harrisburg have made a habit of beating MLS teams in Open Cup play, taking down New York and New England twice each over the last four years. But Philadelphia's USL affiliate saw their Cinderella run to the quarterfinals in 2012 come to an abrupt end with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Union, and the teams will square off much earlier in the tournament this year. Philadelphia Homegrown player Jimmy McLaughlin scored two goals in Harrisburg's 4-2 win on Wednesday night and is one of several players with Union ties eligible to take the field for Harrisburg, along with on-loan defender Richie Marquez, draft pick Robbie Derschang and former Union players Yann Ekra and Morgan Langley.
Tuesday, June 17, 7:05 pm ET, Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) vs. D.C. United
Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester, N.Y.
The 1999 US Open Cup champion Rhinos have not beaten an MLS team since edging Columbus in a shootout in 2009 and are stuck with the defending champions here in 2014. On-loan New England defender Jossimar Sanchez and former Chicago Fire player Tony Walls are part of a stingy backline, while former Houston Dynamo players Alex Dixon and Colin Rolfe played big roles in Rochester's overtime win on Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 17, 7:30 pm ET, Columbus Crew vs. Indy Eleven (NASL)
FirstEnergy Stadium, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
Columbus and their eight Ohio products will take on Indy, with five Indiana University products, including former MLSers Brad Ring and Chris Estridge. The Eleven also have on-loan Montreal winger Blake Smith, who had a hat trick and two assists in the third round against Dayton, former Philadelphia midfielder and World Cup winner Kleberson, and 19-year-old US youth international target forward Ben Spencer.
Tuesday, June 17, 9 pm ET, FC Dallas vs. San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
This will be the first competitive meeting between the teams, but San Antonio enter with a 1-0 Open Cup record against MLS teams, having upset Houston in 2012. The Scorpions have 11 former MLS players on the roster, including former Vancouver and Dallas Designated Player Eric Hassli, while former SMU standout and MLSer Josue Soto had two assists in Wednesday's win against NTX Rayados, an amateur club that included several FC Dallas Academy players.
Tuesday, June 17, 9 pm ET, Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City (USL PRO)
Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
After losing 3-1 in Orlando in last year's Open Cup, the Colorado Rapids will get a chance for revenge on home turf before USL PRO's top team takes its act to MLS next year. This time, Orlando City will not have Dom Dwyer, who scored twice against Colorado last year, but the Lions have had Dennis Chin and Kevin Molino in fine form so far in 2014.
Tuesday, June 17, 10:30 pm ET, Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City U-23s (PDL)
Providence Park, Portland, Ore.
Cinderella is apparently wearing purple this year, after the Orlando City U-23s edged the Charleston Battery 12-11 in an epic, 14-round shootout on Wednesday night after the teams played to a 2-2 tie. Orlando's amateur team includes FC Dallas academy defender Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina), Real Salt Lake academy midfielder Andrew Brody (Louisville) and current Orlando City academy midfielder Noah Franke (HS senior, Creighton commit). Jamaican youth international Romario Williams (UCF) has led the team in scoring so far.
Wednesday, June 18, 7 pm ET, Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) vs. New England Revolution
City Stadium, Richmond, Va.
Richmond survived a scare from amateur club New York Greek American Atlas to pull out a 2-1 win Wednesday night and advance to host New England. The Kickers have been led all year by the scoring of George Davis IV, while on-loan D.C. United players Joe Willis and Christiano Francois have already suited up for Richmond in the tournament. The Kickers fell to D.C. United in a third-round shootout in 2013 but reached the semifinals back in 2011 after knocking off Columbus and Kansas City.
Wednesday, June 18, 8:30 pm ET, Chicago Fire vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO)
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
Pittsburgh have not advanced far enough to face an MLS team in the Open Cup since 2003, but they do have history with the Fire. The teams hooked up for a dramatic quarterfinal in 2001, with Chicago winning it on a sudden-death Amos Magee goal. Former Fire striker Collins John returns to Toyota Park with Pittsburgh, which has been led by midfielder Matt Dallman and former Rapids defender Danny Earls.
Wednesday, June 18, 8:30 pm ET, Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Both teams have rebranded since, but there is a little bit of Open Cup history in this matchup as well. The Minnesota Thunder upset the Kansas City Wizards 3-1 in the 2005 quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champion LA Galaxy in the semifinals. This Minnesota squad, coached by former Earthquakes standout Manny Lagos, leads the NASL by one game over the Cosmos and includes several former MLS players, most notably defender Aaron Pitchkolan and forward Jamie Watson.
Wednesday, June 18, 10 pm ET, Seattle Sounders vs. PSA Elite (USASA)
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, Wash.
The Sounders got the chance to host after US Amateur Soccer Association qualifier PSA Elite upset LA Galaxy II on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie late Wednesday night. After reaching four consecutive finals, the Sounders were eliminated in an early road game last year and will welcome the chance to play at home. Irvine-based PSA Elite include Galaxy Academy product Nathan Smith (UCLA) and are making their third consecutive appearance in the tournament.
Wednesday, June 18, 10:30 pm ET, Arizona United (USL PRO) vs. LA Galaxy
Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria, Ariz.
LA have not won a road game in the Open Cup in their last six tries, dating back to their 2005 championship run. Arizona United were thrown together hastily during the preseason and include former MLSers Bradlee Baladez, Paolo DelPiccolo, Matt Kassel, Evan Newton, Tyler Ruthven and London Woodberry. On-loan Portland defender Bryan Gallego also started in Wednesday's overtime win over Oklahoma City, with Baladez scoring in extra time and Newton saving a late penalty kick.