Houston begin title defense and rivalries aplenty: Tues. US Open Cup primer

Houston Dynamo - US Open Cup - hoist trophy as 2018 champions

While MLS is taking a break for the next two weeks, the U.S. Open Cup means that the American teams in MLS will continue to play on.

The fourth round will come and go this week as MLS sides enter the tournament for the first time. With seven matches on Tuesday and nine Wednesday, there is plenty of action to catch. Reminder that all matches can be streamed on ESPN+!

Here are a few storylines to watch tonight: 

Red Bulls look for Revs revenge

New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution | 7:30 pm ET | ESPN+

In the first of Tuesday's two MLS vs. MLS matchups, the New England Revolution face the New York Red Bulls. Perhaps in the low point of the Red Bulls season, New York fell 1-0 to New England in April, leaving the club with just one win in their first seven matches. 

Since then, the Red Bulls have won six of their last nine games and stormed up the Eastern Conference standings. 

Also: With a reputation for promoting from within, can one of the young Red Bulls who might get the nod put themselves on Chris Armas' radar with a big performance?

Dynamo begin title defense

Houston Dynamo vs. Austin Bold | 8 pm ET | ESPN+

Despite a disappointing MLS campaign last year, the Dynamo salvaged their season with a magical cup run, culminating in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union in the final. 

At BBVA Compass Stadium, they set out to defend their title against USL Championship side Austin Bold. 

Mauro Manotas got better as the tournament went on, leading the Open Cup with six goals including a brace in the final, cementing his place in the upper echelon of MLS goalscorers with his fine form in MLS. Can they become the first team to retain the trophy since the Seattle Sounders from 2009-11?

RSL, LAFC ignite budding rivalry

Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC | 10 pm ET | ESPN+

Last season, Real Salt Lake went to the Banc of California Stadium and ended LAFC's exceptional inaugural campaign in the first round of the playoffs. LAFC haven't forgotten that and look for revenge at every turn. 

They vowed payback in March when RSL came to town and they got it through a stoppage-time golazo from Walker Zimmerman. Will Tuesday night bring another feisty encounter? How much change will Bob Bradley and Mike Petke make to their lineups?

Northern California Rivalry

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sacramento Republic | 10:30 pm ET | ESPN+

Chris Wondolowski wants to win the dang tournament. He has eight goals in his last four games. If he gets the start on Tuesday, he's in must-watch form. He also slightly dismissively refers to his opponents, not really going all the way to call it a full-blown rivalry. 

"It's a nice little rivalry, in a sense," Wondolowski said. "We've only done Open Cup and some preseason stuff, but it's a good Northern California rivalry. I hope it can continue, but I hope we go out there and beat them, show them why we are who we are right now."

The last time these teams played, Sacramento took a 2-0 lead before Wondo scored a second-half brace, then the Quakes prevailed in penalties. One would imagine Sacramento are intent to prove it's more than a 'nice little rivalry.' 


  • The Columbus Crew are looking to advance past the fourth round of the Open Cup for the first time in three years, hosting the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (7 pm ET | ESPN+).
  • For the third year in a row, Atlanta United face the Charleston Battery in this competition (7:30 pm ET | ESPN+). Can the Battery eliminate ATL UTD for the first time?
  • Tied for the most U.S. Open Cup titles among MLS teams, the Chicago Fire embark on their quest for No. 5 away from home against Saint Louis FC (8:30 pm ET | ESPN+).