MLS teams held serve in the other two matchups against lower division sides last night, with the Philadelphia Union blasting the Richmond Kickers, 5-0, and D.C. United needing penalty kicks to get past North Carolina FC.
The tournament really kicks into gear tonight with 13 more fourth-round matches, including nine pitting an MLS side against a lower division opponent.
Will there be more “Cupsets?” Here’s three prime candidates tonight.
FC Cincinnati vs. Minnesota United FC
Fresh off an announcement that the club will join MLS next year, you know there’s serious motivation for the USL side to beat their future league foe. There’s also a precedent set, with Cincy knocking off Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire on their magical run to the semifinals last year where the the New York Red Bulls ended their run. Plus, FC Cincinnati is home and they drew more than 30,000 to Nippert Stadium for their USOC matches against MLS squads.
Nashville SC vs. Colorado Rapids
You want to talk motivation? How’s this for motivation? Gary Smith is the coach of Nashville SC. You remember Gary Smith right? He’s the guy who led the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup title and was let go a year later after differences with club management. Surely there would be some personal satisfaction for Smith to beat a reeling Rapids team that has lost their last seven league games. Nashville is undefeated at Vanderbilt Stadium in its inaugural season.
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Seattle Sounders
This has all the trappings of an upset. You have an in-form USL side (they’re currently tied for second in the Western Conference) in Sacramento Republic FC playing at home against a struggling MLS side in the Seattle Sounders, that because of injuries and international call-ups, will rely on some of their shaky depth. Like FC Cincinnati, there’s precedent with Sacramento Republic FC blasting Real Salt Lake, 4-1, at home in last year’s fourth round.