MLS teams begin Open Cup run. Upset alert.

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Tonight is the night.

Now the big boys from Major League Soccer are rolling in.

Time for some giant killing.

I have professed my love for the U.S. Open Cup plenty of times in this very blog, so there should be no surprise that I have an extra spring in my step this morning.

Round 3 of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup kicks off tonight, with nine MLS teams entering the tournament. Some big upsets are on the cards, but surely not as many as last season. Right?

Here is a look at the games involving MLS sides, home sides listed first: 

Real Salt Lake vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

Philadelphia Union vs. Ocean City Nor’easters

LA Blues vs. Chivas USA

Rochester Rhinos vs. New England Revolution

Sporting Kansas City vs. Des Moines Menace

Charleston Battery vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Richmond Kickers vs. D.C. United

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. FC Dallas

So where do you see the potential upsets folks? Personally I can see quite a few glaring ones. Plenty of NASL and USL Pro sides will be licking their lips in anticipation.

First of all, despite the Colorado Rapids recent great form in MLS, they have to travel all the way down to Orlando midweek against a free scoring Orlando City side who have something to prove as they continue to stake their claim as a potential MLS franchise. This one is a big banana skin for Oscar Pareja’s men.

(More: Can lower-tier teams still go far in the Open Cup?)

Then looking at the struggling MLS sides Chivas USA and D.C. United, they both face tricky away ties at LA Blues and Richmond Kickers respectively. Both could tumble out, with their main focus turning around their woeful MLS campaigns.

Can the Charleston Battery down San Jose? I’m not so sure. But that is a pretty huge road trip for the ‘Quakes and they haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders of late. That one could go to extra time and maybe penalties.

Elsewhere I think RSL will dispatch the Atlanta Silverbacks quite comfortably. This week Jason Kreis has reminded his players of their third round exit to the Minnesota Stars last year. He called it “the worst day in the history of the club” and certainly won’t want a repeat of that.

(More: Open Cup Fourth Round draw, what it means for your MLS team)

Are the Ocean City Nor’easters the new Cal FC? Who knows. The New Jersey side already caused a big upset by knocking off Pittsburgh in Round 2, who says they can’t clean out Pennsylvania?

Surely defending champs Sporting KC won’t lose at home to the Des Moines Menace? Who knows. That is the beauty of the beautiful game.

One thing is for sure, make sure you follow all the Open Cup scores this evening. Use the hashtag #USOC100 to get all the latest scores on Twitter.

This Centennial edition of the Open Cup is sure to be one to remember.

Spartak and Zenit fined in latest Russia fan racism cases

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MOSCOW (AP) Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg have both been fined for racist chants by their fans, the latest such incident in World Cup host nation Russia.

Spartak’s fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at FC Tosno player Nuno Rocha, who is black, while some Zenit supporters allegedly chanted a Nazi slogan during a league game.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

The clubs must each pay a 100,000-ruble ($1,600) fine, and Spartak has been hit with a partial stadium closure for its next cup game, state news agency RIA Novosti quotes Russian Football Union disciplinary committee head Artur Grigoryants as saying.

The verdict comes after FIFA charged Russia with racist abuse of France players during last month’s friendly.

Zenit has also faced two racism charges from UEFA this season.

Europa League: Arsenal, Marseille host semifinal 1st legs

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Arsenal’s Champions League dreams could be in for a rude awakening against tournament-tested Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League vs. La Liga match-up is one of two Europa League semifinal first legs set to be served up Sunday, with Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg meeting in the other.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

There’s something romantic about Arsene Wenger closing out his time at Arsenal against French opposition in Lyon, but Atleti and Salzburg won’t step aside for poetics.

Both matches kickoff ay 3:05 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

It’s a bit stunning that this tie has no history considering both club’s statures in their leagues and Europe, but that’s what we’ll se when Arsenal welcomes Atleti for the first leg.

Arsenal boasts two of the top 10 performers in the UEL this season — it would be three had the Gunners not sold Theo Walcott — and are paced by Aaron Ramsey, who has four goals and an assist. Mesut Ozil, who’s ready to return to the pitch, has the reverse with a goal and four helpers.

The Gunners have outscored UEL opposition 29-10 this season.

It’s no surprise that Antoine Griezmann has been Atleti’s best attacker since the Madrid side dropped out of the UCL to run rampant through the UEL knockout rounds. Atleti beat Copenhagen 5-1, Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1, and Sporting Lisbon 2-1 for an aggregate score line of 15-3.

Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Don’t expect this to be a simple case of Ligue 1 bossing inferior opposition: This pair met in the group stage, with the Austrian side winning at home and drawing 0-0 in France.

Salzburg has shown its mettle in various ways during the UEL. After allowing just one goal in an unbeaten group stage, they’ve won 4-3 over Real Sociedad, 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund, and 6-5 versus Lazio. That’s no easy road, and Marseille represents another big challenge.

Marseille is bidding to make its first European final since 2004, and has been led by Dimitri Payet‘s three goals and four assists, and Lucas Ocampos’ four goals and one assist. Marseille has knocked off RB Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao, and Braga after the group stage.

Names you’ll need to know from Salzburg: defenders Stefan Lainer and Paulo Miranda have been spectacular, and Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha have each scored five times in the tournament.

Mourinho on longtime nemesis Wenger: ‘We can be friends in future’

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Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had a poor relationship, but the former thinks he’s soon to get along with the latter.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

Manchester United boss Mourinho, 55, heaped praise on the departing Arsenal manager ahead of the two sides’ Sunday meeting at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), saying the Frenchman has earned much respect.

Branding Wenger “iconic,” Mourinho says his fiery rivalry with Wenger stemmed from Arsenal’s stature in the Premier League when the Portuguese took over Chelsea.

“If he respects me even 50 percent of what I respect him we can even be friends in the future,” Mourinho told Sky Sports News. “I have lots of respect for him. But the reality is that he was at Arsenal, he was the champion and I came to the country in 2004 and wanted to steal his title. That’s football.”

Mourinho said he’s tried to show his respect for Wenger, 68, over the past few seasons. It may become a passable relationship, but we find it hard to believe the pair will be dining together on a regular basis as the sun sets on their managerial careers (Mou has a while to go, we think).

Real’s Modric on Bayern feeling unlucky: “That’s their problem”

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Bayern Munich produced far more chances than visiting Real Madrid in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg in Germany, but lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.

Franck Ribery butchered an open shot at goal, Robert Lewandowski beat Keylor Navas but didn’t score late, and Thomas Mueller missed getting contact on a shot inside the six.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

It was that kind of day, and Mueller is baffled that his team did not finish more than Joshua Kimmich’s opener.

“Everybody is wondering why this game is 1-2 for Madrid,” Mueller reportedly said. “We still cannot believe it.”

The quote comes from BeIN Sport’s Tancredi Palmeri, who has a stinging rebuke from Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric.

Real wasn’t great on Wednesday, but also limited their big mistakes to one: Marcelo’s lapse of judgment which helped Kimmich to open the scoring for Bayern Munich.

The hosts had a huge giveaway from Rafinha on the match-winner, and backup backstop Sven Ulreich didn’t have a phenomenal day on either goal. Throw in Arjen Robben’s injury requiring an 8th minute substitution, and Bayern did not have much good fortune on the day.

This one, though, doesn’t seem over, even with the tie moving to the Bernabeu.