Saturday, May 30, 2015

U.S. Open Cup Preview

In a few short weeks, MLS clubs will enter the U.S. Open Cup. Here's a rundown of the 16 Round 4 matches that will kick off on June 16th.


Philadelphia Union vs Rochester Rhinos (USL)

The Rhinos are New England's USL affiliate. The reached the fourth round by defeating the GBFC Thunder 1-0, and the Harrisburg City Islanders 3-1 in extra time. They've been lead by Jamaicans Kenardo Forbes and Asani Samuels, both of whom have two goals in the tournament.

New York Red Bulls vs Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)

After falling behind 1-0 in the 87th minute against Chattanooga FC, Atlanta rallied behind a penalty by Sierra Leonean striker Shaka Bangura and an extra time winner from Jaime Chavez to advance. Atlanta knocked Real Salt Lake and Colorado out of the tournament in 2014 before falling to Chicago in the quarterfinals. Chavez scored three goals in last year's tournament.

Sporting Kansas City vs Saint Louis F.C. (USL)

Saint Louis is the Chicago Fire's USL affiliate. Their roster features former MLS defender Brandon Barklage and they recently knocked out Miguel Ibarra's Minnesota United FC on penalties in the tournament's third round. Their leading scorer in the tournament is Bryan Gaul, the 19th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft who spent two seasons with the LA Galaxy.

Chicago Fire vs Louisville City FC (USL)

Louisville is Orlando City's USL affiliate. They advanced to the fourth round by defeating Lansing United 1-0 and the Indy Eleven 2-0. They're lead by former U.S. youth national teamer, Conor Shanosky and striker Sidney Rivera, the 63rd overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

FC Dallas vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)

Oklahoma City is coached by former Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, and not coincidentally they're Sporting's USL affiliate. Striker Kyle Greig leads the team with two goals in the tournament.

Colorado Rapids vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)

Coached by former U.S. National Teamer Steve Trittschuh, an MLS original, the Switchbacks are one of the few USL clubs without an MLS affiliation. That said, they do have Houston's Taylor Hunter, the 49th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft on loan with them. Northern Irish Striker Martin Maybin leads the team with two goals in the tournament.

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL)

The Sounders USL farm team is loaded with talent including MLS prospects Aaron Kovar, Andy Craven and Victor Mansaray. Craven already has two goals in the tournament while teammate, Argentine midfielder Pablo Rossi, has three. Seattle dispatched their rivals, Portland Timbers 2 in extra time in round 3.

San Jose Earthquakes vs Sacramento Republic (USL)

Coached by soccer legend Preki, Sacramento won the 2014 USL Championship in their inaugural season and now they'll face their MLS parent club, San Jose. Sacramento's roster features the tournament's leading scorer, Northern Irish striker Thomas Stewart, former MLS striker and current captain Justin Braun, 2015 MLS SuperDraftee Cameron Iwasa, and former Seattle Sounders striker David Estrada. Sacramento has scored 11 goals so far in the tournament led by hat tricks from Stewart and Bosnian-American striker Adnan Gabeljic, a second round pick (38) by Sporting KC in 2014.

Seattle Sounders FC vs Portland Timbers

The only match-up between two MLS teams in the fourth round features two of the league's biggest rivals.


Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) vs DC United

The Riverhounds are another USL side without an affiliation with MLS. They have yet to be scored upon in advancing to the fourth round of the tournament and are led by two goals from English midfielder Rob Vincent.

Richmond Kickers (USL) vs Columbus Crew

DC United's USL affiliate has outscored its opponents 5-0 on its way to the tournament's fourth round. Former MLSer David Yeisley (38th overall pick, 2010 MLS SuperDraft) leads the team with a pair of goals.

New York Cosmos (NASL) vs New York City FC

With a roster bolstered by former MLSers Hunter Freeman, Carlos Mendes, Danny Szetela, and Adam Moffat, U.S. Youth International Haji Wright, and Spanish legend Raúl, the Cosmos are looking to build on there 2014 success that saw them knock out the Red Bulls 3-0.

Charleston Battery (USL) vs Orlando City SC

The Battery are the USL affiliate of the Houston Dynamo. The Battery reached the tournament semifinals back in 2004 and lost in the finals in 2008 when they defeated the Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders before falling to DC United.

New England Revolution vs Charlotte Independence (USL)

Affiliated with the Colorado Rapids, the Independence got a hat trick from Polish striker Thomas Zahorski in the second round before upsetting the Carolina RealHawks 1-0 in the third round. The Independence roster also includes former MLSer Ryan Finley, a runner-up for the 2012 Herman Trophy and the 9th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

Houston Dynamo vs Austin Aztex (USL)

The Aztex are the Columbus Crew's USL affiliate. The Aztex roster includes former MLSers Kris Tyrpak and Adam Bedell, and Crew draft pick Kalen Ryden (69th overall). The Aztex have won both of their matches by a score of 2-0.

LA Galaxy vs PSA Elite (USASA)

The only club remaining from the first round of the tournament, PSA Elite is an amateur soccer club based in Irvine, California. They defeated the Golden State Misioneros 7-1 in the first round, the Orange County Blues 2-1 in the second round, and the Ventura County Fusion 2-1 in the third round. They're lead by Mats Bjurman's three goals.

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