US Open Cup second round preview: Minnows get first shots at bigger clubs

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Whether you’re in the NPSL or PDL, USASA or USSSA, you’ve gotta avoid the other minnows before taking out a bigger fish at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Twenty-one teams gets their first shots on Tuesday and Wednesday, with professional United Soccer League sides entering the fray. It all starts with Tuesday’s lone match, which pits the Michigan Bucks and Portland Timbers 2 in Michigan.

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Only six minnows get to play at home, with Michigan among them. The Bucks have gone to the third round or further five times, including a fourth-round run in 2012. Five of those six home sides are in the Premier Development League, which has 11 teams left in the tournament.

The Bucks have lucked into a visit from Portland, as usually these pairings are a bit more geographically friendly. Jersey Express vs. Red Bulls II, Sounders 2 vs. Kitsap Pumas, and Richmond vs. Virginia Beach City are among the “derby-like” ties.

Here’s how the leagues fared in the preliminary and first rounds:
NPSL (12 teams): 7-5
PDL (19 teams): 11-8
USASA (11 teams): 3-9
USCS (1 team): 0-1
USSSA (1 team): 2-0

2015 US Open Cup second round
Michigan Bucks (PDL) vs. Portland Timbers 2
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. West Virginia Chaos (PDL)
Wilmington Hammerheads vs. Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
Charlotte Independence vs. Upward Stars (NPSL)
Charleston Battery vs. Miami United (NPSL)
Lansing United (NPSL) vs. Louisville City
Jersey Express (PDL) vs. New York Red Bulls II
Reading United (PDL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
Rochester Rhinos vs. Greater Binghamton FC Thunder (NPSL)
Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) vs. Real Monarchs
Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Harpo’s FC (USSSA)
Seattle Sounders 2 vs. Kitsap Pumas (PDL)
Richmond Kickers vs. Virginia Beach City (NPSL)
Saint Louis FC vs. Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Austin Aztex vs. Laredo Heat (PDL)
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Seacoast United Phantoms (PDL)
Midland/Odessa Sockers (PDL) vs. Oklahoma City Energy
Sacramento Republic vs. Sonoma County Sol (NPSL)
Arizona United vs. Chula Vista (USASA)
LA Galaxy II vs. Ventura County Fusion (PDL)
Orange County Blues vs. PSA Elite (USASA)