I love this competition folks, just love it.
On Tuesday night the U.S. Open Cup provided plenty of shocks as four Amateur teams remain in the knockout competition, with the big boys from Major League Soccer now involved.
The third round draw is set, check it out here, with some real Cinderella stories in the making.
Four PDL sides produced “Cupsets” to make it to the third-round and will now face MLS opposition. Reading United defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0 and will now face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
The Ocean City Nor’easters pulled off perhaps the upset of the round, defeating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0, they now face Philadelphia at PPL Park.
While out in the Midwest, two teams also created huge upsets. The Des Moines Menace beat reigning NASL champions Minnesota United 1-0 and will now face reigning Open Cup champs Sporting KC at Sporting Park.
Rounding up the “Cupsets” FC Tucson rallied to defeat the heavily-favored San Antonio Scorpions on penalties. Tucson will now face the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
So, wow, these small sides have all been rewarded big time for their magnificent efforts in reaching the third-round of the Open Cup.
That is why I love it so much.
The incentive was clearly there for these smaller sides to win, with many of their players desperate for a chance to showcase their talent at Red Bull Arena, Sporting Park, BBVA Compass Stadium and PPL Park. This is the stuff of dreams.
When we hear British commentators waxing lyrical about non-league sides reaching the third-round of the FA Cup and facing Premier League teams, a huge sense of excitement and great admiration for that small club exists. We appreciate the fruits of their labor and the fact that they’ll get a big pay day to boost the clubs finances for years to come, which is a godsend to these amateur or semi-pro sides.
This is what happened last night in the Open Cup.
Sure, these four PDL sides will get financial gains, not much, but still a vast improvement on their previous income. But now their reputation will grow exponentially, with the top collegiate players already earmarking them as a potential destination to play summer-ball next season. The benefits of reaching the third-round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are endless for the amateur sides. That’s why the want it so much.
And that, once again, is why I love this competition so much.
Roll on next week, let’s see some big boys from MLS take a tumble.