The big boys are about to make some noise in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
As is customary, all U.S. teams from Major League Soccer will enter the USOC at the fourth round stage with plenty of regional rivalries taking center stage across Tuesday and Wednesday in the 102nd edition of America’s oldest knockout competition.
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With teams from the NASL and USL aiming to make a name for themselves by taking an MLS scalp, there are some extremely tasty games coming up with regional rivalries set up by the organizers through to the semifinal rounds.
Defending champions Seattle Sounders (who have won four of the last seven Open Cup titles in case you haven’t bumped into a Sounders fan lately…) host Cascadia rivals the Portland Timbers at the always boisterous Starfire Sports Complex on Tuesday in the only all-MLS tie of the last 32.
Elsewhere everyone else is on upset alert as the pick of Tuesday’s games sees Sporting Kansas City host USL new-boys Saint Louis FC, while the San Jose Earthquakes host Sacramento Republic and the Chicago Fire welcome Louisville City FC to Toyota Park.
On Wednesday there are some beauties to look forward to as New York City FC head out to Long Island to take on the New York Cosmos of the NASL. Other standout games on Wednesday include 2013 champs D.C. United head to the Steel City to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL, Orlando City head up to South Carolina to play Charleston Battery and 2014 MLS champions LA Galaxy host surprise package PSA Elite.
Below is the full schedule for the USOC fourth round with links to watch or listen to the games live.
U.S. Open Cup – Fourth round
Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL) – 7:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) – 7:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. Saint Louis FC (USL) – 8:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Chicago Fire (MLS) vs. Louisville City FC (USL) – 8:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
FC Dallas (MLS) at Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL) – 9 p.m. ET – updates on FC Dallas’ Twitter feed
Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL) – 9 p.m. ET – live audio, ColoradoRapids.com
Real Salt Lake (MLS) vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL)- 10 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. Sacramento Republic FC (USL) – 10:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers FC (MLS) – 10:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Richmond Kickers (USL) vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS) – 7 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) vs. D.C. United (MLS) – 7:08 p.m. ET- live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. New York City FC (MLS) – 7:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Charleston Battery (USL) vs. Orlando City SC (MLS) – 7:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL) – 7:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Houston Dynamo (MLS) vs. Austin Aztex (USL) – 9 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
LA Galaxy (MLS) vs. PSA Elite (USASA) – 10:30 p.m. ET – live on U.S. Soccer YouTube
Sacramento’s “State of the City” address proved to feature a bit of the theatrical, as mayor Kevin Johnson announced further investment into USL PRO club Sacramento Republic.
The club is making a bid for entry into Major League Soccer, and has now added influential San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York as well as owners of the National Football League club. The Republic has also received vocal support from Sacramento’s NBA team, the Kings.
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At worst, it’s a savvy marketing move by the 49ers brass. At best, it’s something huge for Sacramento’s soccer dreams. This article said York and his partners should Sacramento over San Jose because of the “chance to get in on the ground floor,” which is a bit alarming for the long-standing Quakes.
From The Sacramento Bee:
York said the investment was prompted, in part, by the importance of Sacramento to the 49ers. “We have more 49ers season ticket holders in Sacramento than we do in San Francisco,” he said as he headed to the airport for a flight to Arizona for the Super Bowl.
Citing Republic FC’s lead investors, he said, “You’ve got a great group of people” and said he was confident Sacramento will win its bid for an MLS expansion team.
The 49ers as an organization aren’t investing; it’s York and six partners and family members. The 49ers group and the Kings will have roughly the same minority stake in Republic FC, said Warren Smith, president and founder of the soccer club. Financial details weren’t disclosed.
That’ll be an eyebrow raiser around the country, though big wigs investing in their local team isn’t anything too new. The sport continues to grow at a rapid pace in the United States.
Following the tragic death of police officer Neil Doyle in Liverpool last Friday, a professional soccer coach in the U.S. has been charged with murder and assault.
On Monday Christopher Spendlove was fired as the assistant coach of Oklahoma City Energy, which plays in the USL PRO, and the 30-year-old has appeared in an English court on Tuesday in his home city of Liverpool.
Spendlove and 28-year-old Andrew Taylor are accused of murdering off-duty officer Doyle in the city center of Liverpool, as it is alleged he was attacked in the early hours of Friday morning and a post-mortem examination found that Doyle died from a fatal bleed around the brain.
In a statement Oklahoma Energy FC said that Spendlove was dismissed “given the seriousness of the charges” as the former student at Oklahoma City University will await trial in the early summer and a preliminary hearing will be held on January 6, 2015 into the murder charges and also charges of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Michael Stephenson and Robert Marshall during the same incident.
Here’s is the statement from the Energy’s GM, Jason Hawkins, in full.
“We are stunned by the news today of murder charges being filed against OKC Energy FC assistant coach Chris Spendlove in England stemming from an altercation involving several individuals on Friday, December 19. The incident resulted in the death of an off-duty law enforcement officer. Details of the incident will be forthcoming as the matter winds its way through England’s legal system including the extent in which Chris was involved. Given the seriousness of the charges, we have made the decision to dismiss Chris from the organization. That said, we are deeply saddened by the news of the incident and our hearts go out to the family of the police officer who lost his life. We are also disheartened for Chris. As an assistant coach, he was always professional and conducted himself in a proper and respectful manner. Our thoughts are also with him and his family during this difficult time.”