The quest to become the first North American Soccer League team to capture the historic Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continues as the four remaining NASL sides aim to knock off their Major League Soccer opponents at the Third Round stage this week.
The NASL action at the centennial edition of the U.S. Open Cup begins on Tuesday when FC Dallas visits the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30 pm ET, with the winner facing the FC Tuscon (PDL) – Houston Dynamo (MLS) victor in the Fourth Round. The games will be available via Ustream, regional broadcasts or live radio (see schedule below for details).
“Our goal is to win the game,” said Strikers’ head coach Daryl Shore. “This is the U.S. Open Cup and you have to throw out the levels of the teams and everything else about the game. We have to be prepared for a tough game, but at the same time so do they. We are going to throw everything we have at them and we fully plan on coming into this game, getting a result and moving on to the fourth round.”
Fort Lauderdale, which is coming off a 7-6 victory on penalties over the PDL’s Laredo Heat in the Second Round, last faced Dallas at the 2008 tournament, while dropping a 2-1 decision at Pizza Hut Park.
Also on Tuesday, the Atlanta Silverbacks take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 pm MT in their first meeting between the two in the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the country.
“It’s going to conjure up some emotions for me and some of the players that went on that great run last year,” said Silverbacks Technical Director Wynald, whose Cal FC side tore a giant-killing run through the tournament in 2012. “The Cup is a competition that is very near and dear to my heart, and I’m 100% sure that our guys, especially the former Cal FC players, will take on this game with the utmost desire.
“Our team is not going to enter the game with a defensive mindset, but we also know that we’re going up against a great team that is never afraid to impose their will on opponents.”
Atlanta eliminated the NPSL Georgia Revolution in the Second Round last week and currently holds a 2-1-0 record at the Open Cup since joining the NASL in 2011. Meanwhile, Salt Lake has a 5-8-0 ledger and is 2-2-0 against non-MLS sides. If victorious the current NASL leaders Silverbacks will face the winner of the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – Charleston Battery (USL PRO) in the next round.
Wednesday’s action is highlighted by the re-match of a year ago between the Los Angeles Galaxy and host Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7:15 pm ET.
The RailHawks, who are coming off a 3-1 Second Round victory over the Carolina Dynamo (PDL), will be looking to repeat history as they eliminated the four-time MLS Cup winners with a 2-1 triumph in the 2012 Third Round at WakeMed Soccer Park.
“I think it’s the unpredictability – there are always upsets - as well as the unique match-ups that appeal to fans and seeing the Galaxy come to the triangle area,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson. “These things are huge for the tournament. I expect upsets, as usual, and a lot of fun.”
The RailHawks are also aiming to become the first NASL side to reach the Open Cup Fourth Round for a second consecutive year and if successful they will square off against the CD Chivas USA (MLS) – Los Angeles Blues (USL PRO) winner.
To round out the NASL’s Third Round also on Wednesday the Tampa Bay Rowdies host Seattle Sounders FC at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 pm ET.
Former opponents from the previous NASL era, the Rowdies are taking on the three-time Open Cup champions for the first time in the annual event. The Rowdies will be aiming for their trip to the Fourth Round and would meet the winner of the Portland Timbers (MLS) – Wilmington Hammerheads (USL PRO) match-up.
"We are aware of Seattle’s recent form, but on the pitch it is 11 versus 11,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “I have been fortunate myself to be part of upsets in the FA Cup in England and there is no reason why we can’t do that this Wednesday.”
The Open Cup’s Fourth Round is set for June 12 and the eventual tournament winner in October will be one of the four U.S. representatives at the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League.
Did You Know?
This is only the second year the NASL teams are competing at the U.S. Open Cup however so far they have outscored their opposition 40 to 27 in 21 games … Former U.S. Men’s National Team Forward and current FOX Soccer Analyist Eric Wynalda will join the Atlanta Silverbacks coaching staff on the bench at Tuesday’s Open Cup encounter against Real Salt Lake … Also the Silverbacks Technical Director, Wynalda was the head coach of the amateur side Cal FC which upset the MLS’ Portland Timbers to reach the Open Cup Third Round … Carolina RailHawks, Minnesota Stars (now Minnesota United FC) and San Antonio Scorpions all reached the fourth round of the 2012 edition.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Third Round Games Featuring NASL teams
FC Dallas (MLS) at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
Lockhart Stadium; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live stream: www.FCDallas.com
Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy Utah
Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m. MT
Live webstream: sfan.tv
Live Radio: ESPN 700 / La Gran D FM 102.3 (Spanish language)
Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Wednesday, May 29, 7:15 p.m. ET
Live Ustream: www.CarolinaRailHawks.com
Live TV: WRAL2
Live Radio: The Ticket 99.9 HD3
Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) at Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)
Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla.
Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Ustream: www.SoundersFC.com
Second Round Results
Carolina RailHawks 3 Carolina Dynamo 1
VSI Tampa Bay 1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 2
Georgia Revolution 2 Atlanta Silverbacks 3
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1 Laredo Heat 1 (Strikers won 7-6 PK)
San Antonio Scorpions 2 FC Tucson 2 (FC Tucson won 4-3 PK)
Minnesota United FC 0 Des Moines Menace 1
|New York Cosmos||31||14||9||4||1||10|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||20||14||5||5||4||3|
|Minnesota United FC||20||14||6||2||6||2|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||18||14||5||3||6||-2|
|San Antonio Scorpions||10||14||3||1||10||-9|
|San Antonio Scorpions||20||12||6||2||4||4|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||18||12||5||3||4||5|
|Minnesota United FC||14||12||4||2||6||-5|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||12||2||2||8||-14|