U.S. Soccer’s decision to allow various clubs into this season’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has created the opportunity for more matches to be played.
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On Monday, the USSF announced that Miami FC 2, New York Cosmos B and Jacksonville Armada will each be eligible to participate in this season’s tournament, but must compete in play-in matches in order to reach the final competition.
The matches will be played over May 5/6 weekend, although the times and locations of the fixtures are yet to be determined.
Both Jacksonville and Miami will take on PDL opposition in their play-in matches, facing The Villages SC and FC Miami City, respectively, while Cosmos B will take on NPSL side Brooklyn Italians.
NASL’s decision to cancel the 2018 regular season has caused significant ramifications, with the latest forcing several clubs to be excluded from the U.S. Open Cup.
The New York Cosmos and Miami FC — both of whom participated in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup have not been named among the eligible teams for the 2018 edition following NASL’s cancellation of the league season.
Now, the two teams have petitioned to U.S. Soccer and its new president, Carlos Cordeiro, to rethink its decision and allow the clubs to play despite not belonging to a professional league.
Both clubs do boast reserve teams though — New York Cosmos B and Miami 2 — which is the lead argument from each organization as to why U.S. Soccer should grant the teams an exemption and a spot in the tournament.
Cosmos B and Miami FC 2 will both play in the NPSL once again in 2018, with both rosters largely comprised of senior team players.
As it stands, 94 teams have been placed in the 2018 Open Cup field, as announced by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.
Both open letters from the respective clubs can be found below.
NASL’s future remains heavily in doubt, and two more clubs are seeking temporary shelter in the meantime.
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On Saturday, reports began to surface stating that both Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada will be moving to the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) ahead of the 2018 season.
The NPSL is currently considered a fourth-tier division in the U.S. soccer pyramid.
Pro Soccer Talk has since been able to the confirm these developments.
Soc Takes has also reported that Miami is likely to use a “variant of their name” so that the club will still be eligible to play in NASL when/if the league resumes play.
At the moment, NASL has four teams ahead of any potential 2018 season, with California United FC, 1904 FC, the New York Cosmos and Puerto Rico FC involved. Cal United and 1904 FC — both expansion sides — have never played a match before.
Miami FC quickly put itself on the U.S. soccer map in two short seasons, and much of the club’s success can be attributed to manager Alessandro Nesta.
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The former Serie A defender has managed the club in its first two years of existence, but Nesta’s time in South Beach is coming to an end.
Nesta revealed on Friday that he won’t be returning to the NASL club in 2018, as he prepares to fnd a “new challenge” in his managerial career.
With NASL’s future as a league very much up in the air, Nesta could be seeking a more stable position entering 2018, especially given that his name has been thrown around with several MLS jobs over the last few months.
Weather meant the NASL-USL showdown in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was played well after the other three semifinalists had been decided on the pitch.
The NASL’s Miami FC was at home for Wednesday’s quarterfinal against the USL’s FC Cincinnati, but that didn’t help the outcome as FCC did its job as visitors in the first half before finding a winner in the second.
Senegalese striker Djiby Fall kept up his rampant season with a close-range goal as FCC advances to host MLS side New York Red Bulls on Aug. 15.
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Fall has 14 goals in 18 appearances for FCC.
The other semi features Sporting KC and the San Jose Earthquakes, and will be played on Aug. 9.