Local rivalries add extra heat to MLS clubs' entry as Fourth Round begins | US Open Cup Match Preview
The Fourth Round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup kicks off with nine games on Tuesday. This stage of the United States' longest-running soccer competition will see all 17 US-based MLS teams enter the fray over the course of the next two days. Also in the mix are Sounders 2, Seattle's USL team, as well as numerous USL affiliates of other MLS teams.
Highlighting the Tuesday night games is a Cascadia clash between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Union will host the only non-MLS team to win the cup since the league's inception and the San Jose Earthquakes will need to be on their toes in an all-NorCal showdown.
WATCH U.S. OPEN CUP ON YOUTUBE
U.S. Soccer owns the broadcast rights to U.S Open Cup matches - including matches involving MLS teams. Tonight's games are not part of the MLS LIVE or Direct Kick packages. U.S. Soccer is offering selected matches on on YouTube. See the schedule below how to watch U.S. Open Cup matches.
Philadelphia Union vs.
Tuesday, June 16, 7 pm ET
PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
CHESTER, Pa. –The last time the Philadelphia Union played a US Open Cup game, they were inches away from capturing the franchise’s first trophy as Vincent Nogueira hit the post at the end of regulation of the 2014 championship before the Seattle Sounders scored twice in extra time to win it.
That’s certainly remained fresh in their minds ever since, especially now as they begin another quest for a USOC title – starting with a tough game against a Rochester Rhinos squad that’s undefeated and has only given up four goals in 12 USL games this year.
“You can see there’s a bounce in the guys’ step,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “We brought up the term 'unfinished business.'”
Many of the players from last year’s USOC finalist team return, but it will be rookie John McCarthy who will make the start in net against the USL team that he starred on last season. Brian Sylvestre, who’s started the last six games for the Union, is ineligible because he already played a 2015 Open Cup game for the Carolina Railhawks, the team that sent him to Philly on loan.
“He’s a guy who’s been on both sides,” Curtin said of McCarthy. “He can speak to how good of a team this Rochester group is.”
New York Red Bulls vs.
Tuesday, June 16, 7:30 pm ET
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
HANOVER, N.J. – They may not be able to end their regular-season losing streak, but Tuesday night’s US Open Cup fixture provides a chance for the New York Red Bulls to regain some of their early-season swagger.
Returning home for the first time in over three weeks, New York will be looking to earn a win for the first time in over a month as they take on the cellar dwellers of the NASL, the Atlanta Silverbacks.
“This game comes at a good time because there are no ties in the Open Cup,” midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. “It’s a win or a loss. We want to go out there and get a win and that’ll help us get back on track in league play as well.”
Sporting Kansas City vs.
Saint Louis FC
Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 pm ET
Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Right back Chance Myers could see his first competitive action in more than a year when Sporting Kansas City host the USL's Saint Louis FC in Tuesday night's I-70 matchup at Sporting Park.
“We're still debating whether or not we're going to do it,” manager Peter Vermes told reporters on Monday. “We're contemplating it. But he's at a point where he can get some minutes, I think.”
Myers, coming off a long rehab from the Achilles tendon rupture that ended his 2014 season early, was an unused substitute in Sporting's 1-0 home victory over Seattle in league play on June 6.
Chicago Fire vs.
Louisville City FC
Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 pm ET
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Frank Yallop has only one goal going into this year's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, and that is to win it all.
Still reeling from last year's 6-0 semifinal thrashing at the hands of eventual winners Seattle Sounders, Yallop's Chicago Fire host USL side Louisville City FC in an intriguing encounter that sees former player Matt Fondy return to Toyota Park for the first time since leaving the club at the end of 2014.
Yallop admitted Monday that Chicago got their "asses handed to them" last year, and he is keen to address that this year in a tournament that means so much to the four-time winners and their fans.
"We want to win the tournament, for sure," Yallop told MLSsoccer.com. "Starting from the first game we've got to put out a strong side that's capable of winning the match."
Yallop will be without key players in David Accam and Joevin Jones as they are still on international duty, although Shaun Maloney has returned from his stint with Scotland and could play some part. However, Mike Magee is still nursing a hamstring injury, while the game will come too soon for Patrick Nyarko, who is almost set to return after recovering from his right ACL injury.
FC Dallas vs.
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Tuesday, June 16, 9 pm ET
Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
On the tail end of a five-game road trip that has yielded less-than-favorable results, FC Dallas are looking to re-establish what propelled them to a hot MLS start in their 2015 US Open Cup debut against USL side OKC Energy FC.
“Hopefully we can come and score some goals and get the result that certainly would push us up toward the next stretch,” head coach Oscar Pareja said of FCD’s offense, which has scored only one goal over the last five games. “But the team is confident.”
-- SCOTT SIDWAY
Colorado Rapids vs.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Tuesday, June 16, 9 pm ET
Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
Broadcast: ColoradoRapids.com (audio only)
COMMERCE City, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids will look to regain confidence at home Tuesday night when they face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks of the USL in the first meeting between the two clubs.
“It’s an opportunity to continue to build the group,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We want to bring the right mentality and win this game.”
While there’s no official affiliation between the two clubs, there’s plenty of familiarity. Switchbacks head coach Steve Trittschuh spent four years with the Rapids as a player, and later as an assistant with the club. The game will also mark the return of former Rapids homegrown Davy Armstrong, who joined Colorado Springs this offseason. Additionally, current Rapids defenders James Riley and Bobby Burling are native to the Colorado Springs area.
“I think it’s pretty unique,” Mastroeni added. “It’s two teams that want to go out and perform well. You have two coaches that played for the Rapids. It will be an exciting match to watch.”
Real Salt Lake vs.
Seattle Sounders 2
Tuesday, June 16, 10 pm ET
Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
SANDY, Utah – Injuries, international selection and other roster deficiencies have struck Real Salt Lake harder than most clubs this season. But Tuesday evening, RSL have the chance to recreate their memorable run to the US Open Cup final from two years ago when they welcome Seattle Sounders 2 to Utah.
RSL will be without three of their preferred starters in central defense with Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler out due to injury. Elias Vasquez will also be absent as he is away on international duty with the Guatemalan national team.
When asked whether or not he and his staff had had a chance to scout Sounders 2, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar spoke highly of the USL side.
“They’ve got a healthy rotation of players that they use,” Cassar said. “It’s a good team. They’ve got good size, good technical ability. They’re in first place. But it’s a game that we need to make sure they’re playing at our speed.”
-- TYLER GRAY
San Jose Earthquakes vs.
Sacramento Republic FC
Tuesday, June 16, 10:30 pm ET
Avaya Stadium, San Jose, Calif.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose dusted Sacramento, their USL affiliate, 2-1 in the fourth round last year. Is there a budding competition between the Quakes and the MLS hopefuls?
“Every game we play against them is heated, intense,” said San Jose forward Adam Jahn, who spent much of 2014 on loan with Sacramento. “Both teams want to win. They want bragging rights. So I think that’s the start of a rivalry.”
Forward Mark Sherrod and midfielder J.J. Koval, both suspended for San Jose’s trip to Seattle next weekend, are likely to feature. Goalkeeper David Bingham, the only Quake to play every minute in 2015, could get a rest.
-- GEOFF LEPPER
Seattle Sounders vs.
Tuesday, June 16, 10:30 pm ET
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, Wash.
Seattle, Wa. – After bagging their fourth US Open Cup trophy in franchise history last season, the Seattle Sounders launch their defense Tuesday night against their Cascadia Cup rivals the Portland Timbers at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Historically, the Sounders have been virtually unbeatable in the friendly confines of Starfire, sporting a blistering 19-0-1 record in competitive matches at the facility since 2005. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a victory in tomorrow’s contest should be considered a foregone conclusion. The Sounders were pushed to the limit by Portland in the USOC quarterfinals last year, needing extra time before goals from Kenny Cooper and Marco Pappa gave Seattle the nail-biting 3-1 victory.
BEAVERTON, Ore. – The Fourth Round of the US Open Cup is generally an easing-in period for MLS teams.
Not this year for the Portland Timbers.
Not only will Portland be playing an MLS team to kick off their 2015 tournament on Tuesday, but they’ll also be facing the defending champion Seattle Sounders, their hated Cascadia rivals.
“We got the toughest draw of anybody, but in some ways we like it because we have a chance to knock off the team that won it last year, which would mean we have a really good chance of winning it if that happens,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said at the team’s training facility last week before his team had their first off weekend of the season. “But we certainly have the toughest game of any team.”
-- DAN ITEL