Precious few TV viewers watched D.C. United lift its third Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy Tuesday night in Sandy, Utah.

Juicy US Open Cup ties await Major League Soccer teams

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The fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is upon us and this is where the big boys enter the fray.

Teams from Major League Soccer will now compete in the USA’s oldest knockout tournament, as teams from the lower tiers have been slugging it through three previous rounds to get to this stage. The full draw has been announced with some juicy ties set up for MLS sides to negotiate.

The pick of the bunch is a Big Apple battle between the New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos, as the two biggest soccer brands in NYC will square off on June 14 at the Cosmos’ home, Shuart Stadium in Hempstead NY. The NASL club beat the Brooklyn Italians 2-0 to advance to play the Red Bulls and a chance for bragging rights. The Cosmos won the NASL last season and RBNY won the MLS Supporters’ Shield, plus ex Metrostars teammates Giovanni Savarese and Mike Petke will square off in the dugout. No shortage of storylines heading into this one. Who will rule New York?

Other MLS teams facing tricky away trips are Chivas USA who travel to the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, while Real Salt Lake make the trip to Atlanta, Georgia to face the Silverbacks for the second-straight season. RSL needed extra time last year to knock off ATL.

The defending champions D.C. United travel up to Rochester to play the USL Pro Rhinos in what should be a tough test for Ben Olsen’s side, while LA travel to Arizona and New England head to Richmond.

Elsewhere the Colorado Rapids get a chance for revenge as they host Orlando City after the Lions beat the Rapids 3-1 in last seasons competition. There are also plenty of regional rivalries set up as Columbus take on the newly formed NASL outfit Indy Eleven and Sporting KC travel up to Minneapolis to face Minnesota United in a Midwest battle.

Below is the full slate of games for the fourth round of the Open Cup, with the games to be played from June 11-18

Wednesday, June 11

10 pm ET, Houston Dynamo vs. Laredo Heat (PDL) -BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

10:30 pm ET, San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sacramento Republic (USL PRO)- Kezar Stadium, San Francisco CA

Saturday, June 14

8:30 pm ET, New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. New York Red Bulls – Shuart Stadium, Hofstra University, Hempstead NY

8 pm ET, Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Chivas USA – WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary NC

7:30 pm ET, Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) vs. Real Salt Lake – Silverbacks Park, Atlanta

Tuesday, June 17

7 pm ET, Philadelphia Union vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO) – PPL Park, Chester PA

7:05pm ET, Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) vs. D.C. United – Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester NY

7:30pm ET, Columbus Crew vs. Indy Eleven (NASL) – FirstEnergy Stadium, University of Akron, Akron OH

9 pm ET, FC Dallas vs. San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) – Toyota Stadium, Frisco TX

9 pm ET, Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City (USL PRO) – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City CO

10:30 pm ET, Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City U23s (PDL) – Providence Park, Portland OR

Wednesday, June 18

7 pm ET, Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) vs. New England Revolution – City Stadium, Richmond V

8:30 pm ET, Chicago Fire vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO) – Toyota Park, Bridgeview IL

8:30 pm ET, Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United (NASL) – Sporting Park, Kansas City KS

10 pm ET, Seattle Sounders vs. PSA Elite (USASA) – Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila WA

10:30 pm ET, Arizona United (USL PRO) vs. LA Galaxy – Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria AZ

EFL Cup Final preview: Saints aim to deny Manchester United, Mourinho

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Vincent Kompany of Manchester City and team mate Pablo Zabaleta celebrate victory with the trophy after the Capital One Cup Final match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 28, 2016 in London, England. Manchester City win 3-1 on penalties.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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With the Community Shield in tow, Jose Mourinho aims for his first full tournament trophy as Manchester United boss when his Red Devils meet Southampton at 11:30 a.m. EDT Sunday.

Wembley Stadium is the venue for the EFL Cup Final, a trophy United has claimed four times. The last one came in 2010, as the Red Devils clinched their third League Cup in five seasons.

[ JPW: Southampton comes full circle ]

Sunday marks Southampton’s first final since 1979, when Saints fell 3-2 to Nottingham Forest.

Saints continue to make due without Virgil Van Dijk and Charlie Austin, but newcomers Manolo Gabbiadini, Sofiane Boufal, and Martin Caceres could all feature on Friday.

Gabbiadini almost certainly will, and he’s been a difference maker for Saints since arriving from Napoli. The 25-year-old has three goals in two Premier League matches.

[ MORE: Projected lineups for EFL Cup final ] 

United will not have Henrikh Mkhitaryan back after the Armenian midfielder limped off the pitch midweek, but fellow walking wounded star Michael Carrick will be back for the Red Devils. Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera, and Eric Bailly will be available.

The Red Devils won the FA Cup last season and the league in 2012-13. Mourinho has three League Cups from his time at Chelsea.

But Antonio Valencia says that United has to act like this is a chance for a new era. From ManUtd.com:

“We have to forget about the fact that we might have won there three, four or five times,” he added. “We have to put that to one side. This is another final, and a totally different story. We cannot afford to make one single mistake, this is a final and we cannot lose our concentration for even one minute.”

Saints will be underdogs for this one, but this trophy isn’t alien to avoiding the hands of the big boys as we’ve seen with Birmingham City, Middlesbrough, and Swansea City since the turn of the century.

Claudio Ranieri issues classy goodbye to Leicester City

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Claudio Ranieri has issued a statement on his somewhat surprising firing from Leicester City, less than 10 months after winning the Premier League title.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Swans preview ]

The Italian manager with a knack of word play pulls on the heart-strings in discussing his exit from Leicester, a club he did not plan to leave any time soon.

From the Leicester Mercury:

Yesterday my dream died.

After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamed of was staying with Leicester city, the club I love, for always.

Sadly, this was not to be.

He went on to thank his family, Leicester City, saving the kindest words for the Foxes’ supporters.

No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.

It has been a pleasure and an honour to be a champion with all of you.

No surprise to read class from Claudio. Read the full statement here.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 11:  Chelsea manager Antonio Conte battles to get the ball back with Cesar Apilicueta (r) from Swansea forward Modou Barrow during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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  • Chelsea leads all-time 14W-11D-7L
  • Sides drew 2-2 in September
  • Swans unbeaten vs Blues since Jan ’15

Premier League leaders Chelsea face a resurgent Swansea City side which has given it fits (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues have dropped points in two of their last three Premier League matches, and also have two draws and a loss to Swans in the past three match-ups.

Swansea has won three of four in Premier League play, the lone setback a 2-1 loss to Manchester City. New manager Paul Clement has led Swans from deep in the relegation zone to four points clear of the drop zone.

To succeed, Swans will have to avoid conceding often and early. According to Chelsea’s club statistician:

Conte’s players have scored the opening goal more times than any other Premier League team this season (19) and have yet to lose (16 wins, three draws).

What they’re saying

Antonio Conte on former Chelsea assistant Clement“He has had a great impact on the team. Also, with the transfer window, they reinforced the team, and we must pay great attention. If you watch their games against Liverpool, against Man City, you understand the difficulty of the game. I am sure my players understand this. They have worked very well to face them in the right way.”

Clement on staring down Chelsea“I have said to the players that yes we have put ourselves in a good position, but how hard are we willing to work to make sure we continue to improve? How much do we want to avoid suffering at the end of the season? Because unless we keep winning games and progressing up the table, we are going to find ourselves in a position where we need, say, four points from the last two games of the season.”

Prediction

Stamford Bridge will be the difference here, as Chelsea keeps it tight against Swans. 2-0.

PREVIEW: Tottenham Hotspur’s “To Dare Is To Do”

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The latest Premier League Download makes its debut on Sunday, as we dive deep into Tottenham Hotspur.

With a brand new stadium under construction and a solid look at perennial top-end pushes, Spurs are among the more intriguing stories in the Premier League.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Picks ]

Spurs host Stoke City on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN, and “Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare Is To Do” debuts at 11 a.m. EDT, right after the match.