If you love Open Cup upsets, tonight could be the night for you.
With just eight teams left in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Orlando City and the Carolina RailHawks are aiming to knock MLS sides out of the historic competition and snag a spot in the semifinals.
Orlando City of the USL Pro travel to the Chicago Fire, having already knocked out holders Sporting Kansas City in the last round. While NASL table-toppers Carolina travel to Real Salt Lake, after beating the LA Galaxy on their way to a quarterfinal berth.
But can both sides prosper this evening? Of course they can.
In fact history is actually on their side. The Cup.US released this piece which looks back at the shocks from lower-league teams in past Open Cup quarterfinals and plenty of MLS sides have been ousted at this stage of the competition.
Plenty of people expect Orlando City to go all the way this season, and why not. The USL Pro outfit are top of their league, are consistently drawing huge crowds, they have a plethora of MLS players on loan from Sporting KC and Orlando have shown just how good they are on the pitch.
Although their opponents tonight, Chicago, have finally got their season up and running in recent weeks with Mike Magee leading the charge since his arrival from LA. This evening will be Orlando’s toughest test as they face the Fire away from home.
However the carrot dangling in front of both Orlando and the RailHawks is that id they win they’ll both have home games in the semifinals. So could we have a non-MLS Open Cup final for the first time since Major League Soccer was formed in 1996? That would be something special for the Centennial.
I love this competition, readers of this blog will know that. I love MLS too, but boy, I am hoping for some big upsets tonight. Some say that Orlando City knocking off yet another MLS side won’t be too big of a surprise but I think defeating Chicago on their own patch will take some doing.
Stranger things have happened. Here is the full schedule for tonight’s Open Cup quarterfinals, don’t forget you can check what is happening on Twitter by using the hashtag #USOC100. Enjoy.
OPEN CUP QUARTERFINALS
D.C. UNITED vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (Wednesday, 7 pm ET)
CHICAGO FIRE vs. ORLANDO CITY (Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET)
FC DALLAS vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS (Wednesday, 9 pm ET)
REAL SALT LAKE vs. CAROLINA RAILHAWKS (Wednesday, 9:30 pm ET)