OK, this is no offense at all to the Ventura Fusion or the Dearborn Stars or any of the other smaller clubs that clawed their way into Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s 68-team field this year. After all, those clubs make the U.S. Open Cup the gem that it is.
But when the big boys get involved, creating the possibility of storybook upsets, that’s when this tournament really gets a good, frothy head on it. Ahhhh!
Following first-round play earlier this week, the third-round matchups are now set for the tournament’s milestone 100th edition; MLS teams enter in the third round.
The best of the best in Open Cup greatness – think about ice cream with Oreo and hot fudge greatness in the toppings department – happens when MLS teams visit the smaller sides.
For instance, in the matchups set for May 28 or 29 include:
- Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union will travel to play with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds or the Ocean City Nor’Easters. No offense, Ocean City, but we want to see a Pennsylvania derby play out at that fantastic little stadium that just opened across the river from downtown Pittsburgh. Yes. Please that.
- Houston Dynamo at the San Antonio Scorpions’ swell new home? Yep. (Houston could also host FC Tucson.)
- D.C. United at the Richmond Kickers of USL is a regional rivalry deserving of mention. (Or, similar to Houston and others, they could travel or play at home, depending on second-round outcomes next week.)
- How cool would be be to see the San Jose Earthquakes at Charleston Battery’s darling home ground, Blackbaud Stadium (pictured above)?
You get the picture.
More information and the entire third-round rundown for the 100-year old tournament’s third round can be found here. (Actually, about everything you could possible want to know about the U.S. Open Cup can be found at that site, a fantastic labor-of-love resource for all things U.S. Open Cup.)