US Open Cup 2017

Cincinnati boost MLS hopes with incredible crowd, victory

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32,287 fans packed into Nippert Stadium on Wednesday to see USL side FC Cincinnati beat the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.

It was the second-largest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history.

Second-tier FC Cincinnati is the hottest story in American soccer right now.

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On Wednesday Cincinnati won on penalty kicks to embarrass Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co. as the red-hot MLS side came unstuck in front of Cincy’s incredible supporters, with Mitch Hildebrandt saving three penalties to send Cincinnati’s fans wild.

Since their USL debut in 2016 (that’s right, just over 12 months ago) the progress FC Cincinnati has made is startling, first under USMNT legend John Harkes as coach and now under Alan Koch.

With an average crowd of 17,296 for league games in 2016, Cincinnati had crowds of 35,061 for a preseason visit of Crystal Palace last July, 24,376 to watch them play Orlando City B in the USL in September and then 30,187 for a USL playoff defeat to Charleston Battery in October. Palace were blown away by Cincinnati’s support and ProSoccerTalk understands plenty of other Premier League clubs have been interested in including the Ohio city as a stop-off on U.S. tours of their own.

The old saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t ring true in Cincinnati. They’re already there.

These attendance numbers are unprecedented at this level, with Sacramento Republic and Orlando City the only two he can come close to the USL records Cincinnati has set over the past 22 months as a club.

With the Ohio city on a shortlist of 12 for the next round of MLS expansion for a $150 million fee, Don Garber and his expansion committee have to sit up and take notice of the incredible progress Cincinnati has made in such a short space of time.

Yes, other cities like Sacramento and San Antonio have now had a strong franchise for many years and the steady attendance figures suggest so, but Cincinnati is blowing all of their expansion competitors out of the water with the scenes witnessed at Nippert time and time again over the past 12 months.

Adding Cincy to MLS makes sense geographically too, as it will help link up Columbus Crew, Sporting KC and Chicago Fire in a mid-west square. Everything about having FC Cincinnati in MLS adds up.

However, the new stadium deal is a must and FC Cincinnati released those plans for a soccer-specific venue earlier this month. However, just like we’ve seen in Atlanta and in Seattle in the past, having an MLS team based at a larger stadium sometimes works. Why couldn’t FC Cincinnati stay at Nippert if they’re packing it out?

All of that remains to be seen but what we do know is that Cincinnati is backing soccer and FCC in a big way. With NASL and USL expanding, lower-league soccer in the U.S. has never been stronger than it is right now.

US Open Cup: Amateurs Christos FC set up MLS clash; 4th round draw

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This really is David vs. Goliath.

Minnows Christos FC upset Chicago FC United in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night to advance to the fourth round where they’ll meet D.C. United of Major League Soccer.

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The amateur team from Baltimore traveled to fellow amateurs and won 1-0 thanks to Levi Houpeau’s early goal. Christos FC were also awarded the $15,000 prize given to the amateur team to go the farthest in the tournament and will now face a huge game at the Maryland SoccerPlex on June 13.

Elsewhere in the third round USL teams also put on a show with nine advancing, plus three NASL teams made it through to face MLS opponents.

Below is the full fourth round schedule via U.S. Soccer, where there are only three all-MLS ties.

The fourth round games played on June 13 and 14.


ate Game Time Venue
June 13# D.C. United (MLS) vs. Christos FC (Md.) 7:30 p.m. ET Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.
June 13* Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS) 7:30 p.m. PT Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
June 14 FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS) 7 p.m. ET Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati); Cincinnati, Ohio
June 14 North Carolina FC (NASL) vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
June 14 New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Anderson Stadium (Providence College); Providence, R.I.
June 14 Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
June 14 Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Charleston Battery (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.); Kennesaw, Ga.
June 14& Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. Miami FC (NASL) 7:30 p.m. ET Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
June 14 Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS) 7 p.m. CT Toyota Stadium (WWT Soccer Park); Fenton, Mo.
June 14^ New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. New York City FC (MLS) 8 p.m. ET Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
June 14 FC Dallas (MLS) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL) 7 p.m. CT Westcott Field (Southern Methodist Univ.); Dallas, Texas
June 14 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS) 7:30 p.m. CT Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.
June 13& Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. OKC Energy FC (USL) 7 p.m. MT Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
June 14 Sacramento Republic FC (USL) vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS) 7:30 p.m. PT Papa Murphy’s Park; Sacramento, Calif.
June 14 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) vs. Orange County SC (USL) 7:30 p.m. PT StubHub Center Track Stadium; Carson, Calif.
June 14 San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. San Francisco Deltas (NASL) 7:30 p.m. PT Avaya Stadium; S