All four quarterfinals will be decided tonight in what remains one of our country’s best kept sports secrets, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Three of tonight’s foursome are of the “MLS vs. lower tier sides” variety, a.k.a. the very games that make this 99-year-old tournament such a hoot.
Much, much more is here at TheCup.US; pretty much anything you’d like to know about the tournament officially named for late, great soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt. Well done, you Cup.US fellows.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick cram session ahead of tonight’s four matches in this little gem of a competition. It’s like that great, rising indie band you know about; you’d love to see them land a spot on Letterman and rise to larger acclaim – but you kind of like having it more to yourself, too:
Harrisburg City Islanders at Philadelphia Union
PPL Park, Philadelphia, (7:30 ET)
The basics: the USL-Pro side from Harrisburg has already put two MLS notches on his belt, New England in the third round and the New York Red Bulls in Round Four. In fact, the Islanders have dispatched MLS sides five of the last six times they’ve been in the field. With the Union already stretched to make the MLS playoffs this year, interim coach John Hackworth could be tempted to put a little extra emphasis on this competition.
Read more: Union brace for the Islanders
Dayton Dutch Lions at Sporting Kansas City
Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. (7:30 ET)
The basics: Dayton has struggled this year in the USL-Pro table, currently 10th among 11 teams with a 1-7-5 mark and a scant nine goals scored. But they somehow get it right in Open Cup, so far anyway, masters of the 2-1 result. That was the margin as Dayton dispatched the Chicago Fire reserves, the Columbus Crew and the PDL’s Michigan Bucks in prior rounds. Sporting Kansas City will be in no mood for kindness, coming off a 4-0 spanking in last weekend’s MLS action.
Seattle Sounders at San Jose Earthquakes
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco (10:30 ET)
The basics: Ordinarily, I’m the one writing “no excuses” and “stop complaining” and such. But you do have to feel just a bit for Seattle, the latest victim of quirky domestic soccer scheduling. There are no conspiracies … just some thoughtless scheduling from bodies who just can’t (or won’t) get their calendars in order. Bottom line, the Sounders played on the road Sunday and now play on the road somewhere else 48 hours later. That’s ridiculous. Period. (Oh, and they play a very good San Jose side, one that just had a seriously kick-ass week in MLS.)
Charlotte Eagles at Chivas USA
Titan Stadium, Fullerton, Calif. ( 10:30 ET)
The basics: The Eagles have been hell on Texas, eliminating the El Paso Patriots from PDL, FC Dallas of Major League Soccer (in suburban Dallas, no less) and San Antonio of NASL, the country’s second tier league. Now we’ll see how they do against California and Chivas USA, which relocated tonight’s contest to a smaller venue, away from its usual Home Depot Center grounds.
Read more: “Air of destiny” around the Charlotte club?