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USL Squads Dominate U.S. Open Cup Third Round as Dream Runs End for Nearly All Amateur Clubs

CHICAGO (May 27, 2015) – As Division II North American Soccer League sides entered the Third Round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the league matched up in seven battles with Division III United Soccer League counter parts. But the already tested USL sides went 6-0-1 in those matches, with Third Division Saint Louis FC also dispatching Minnesota United FC on penalties.

The Third Round wasn’t kind to Amateur Division teams, as the dream runs for Jersey Express, Chattanooga FC, Ventura County Fusion and Chula Vista FC all ended, but California side PSA Elite (USASA) became the tournament’s furthest advancing amateur team for the second year in a row, garnering the $15,000 cash prize awarded for the achievement.

Winners from Wednesday’s matches will face 15 different U.S.-based Major League Soccer sides in Fourth Round play on June 16-17. The draw to determine Fifth Round match-ups will be held at the conclusion of Fourth Round play on June 18. The Fifth Round is scheduled to be played June 30-July 1.

Third Round Results - Match Center





May 27

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)

1-1, 2-1 AET

Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.

May 27

Charlotte Independence (USL) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)


WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

May 27

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at Charleston Battery (USL)


Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

May 27

Louisville City FC (USL) at Indy Eleven (NASL)

0-0, 2-0 AET

Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.

May 27

Jersey Express (PDL) at New York Cosmos (NASL)


Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Queens, N.Y.

May 27

Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)

0-0, 3-1 AET

Skyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.

May 27

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Real Monarchs SLC (USL)


Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

May 27^

Portland Timbers 2 (USL) at Seattle Sounders 2 (USL)

1-1, 1-2 AET

Starfire Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.

May 27

Jacksonville Armada (NASL) at Richmond Kickers (USL)


Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

May 27

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)


Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

May 27

Minnesota United FC (NASL) at Saint Louis FC (USL)

1-1, (1-3 PK’s)

St. Louis Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.

May 27

Austin Aztex (USL) at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)


Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas.

May 27

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)


ONEOK Field; Tulsa, Okla.

May 27

Chula Vista FC (USASA) at Sacramento Republic FC (USL)


Bonney Field; Sacramento, Calif.

May 27

PSA Elite (USASA) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)


Ventura College Sportsplex; Ventura, Calif.

^Time Change May 19

Fourth Round Matchups





June 16

Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

PPL Park; Chester, Pa.

June 16

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at New York Red Bulls (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

June 16

Saint Louis FC (USL) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

June 16

Louisville FC (USL) at Chicago Fire (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

June 16

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at FC Dallas (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

TCU Soccer Stadium; Ft. Worth, Texas

June 16

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Colorado Rapids (MLS)

7 p.m. MT

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.

June 16*

Seattle Sounders 2 (USL) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)

8 p.m. MT

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

June 16

Sacramento Republic FC (USL) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

June 16

Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.

June 17

Columbus Crew SC (MLS) at Richmond Kickers (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

June 17

D.C. United (MLS) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

June 17*

New York City FC (MLS) at New York Cosmos (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Shuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y.

June 17

Orlando City (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

June 17

Charlotte Independence (USL) at New England Revolution (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Soldiers Field (Harvard Univ.); Boston, Mass.

June 17*

Austin Aztex (USL) at Houston Dynamo (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas

June 17

PSA Elite (USASA) at LA Galaxy (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

*Date Change Announced May 27

Game #1: Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL) 2, Portland Timbers FC 2 (USL) 1 (a.e.t.)
It was a scoreless first half between the two rivals’ second teams, but not without chances. In the eighth minute, Portland Timbers 2’s ‘keeper Justin Luthy made a point-blank save off an effort from Seattle’s Victor Mansaray, and also managed to save a shot by the Sounders’ Andy Craven later in the half. Seattle’s ‘keeper Saif Kerawala was also called into action in the 23rd minute when he made a fantastic save on a low shot by Rundell Winchester, who had broken behind the Sounders 2 back line. The second half was more attacking, and in the 54th minute Rennico Clarke headed home a Blair Gavin corner kick to make it 1-0 for Timbers 2. Then in the 66th minute, Mansaray played Craven through for the second time in the half and the striker dribbled past Luthy before slotting it home to tie the game. In injury time, Qudus Lawal found himself in on goal, but Luthy made a great save to send the match to extra time. Seattle’s Pablo Rossi would find the game-winner in the 104th minute when Sam Garza played him through Portland’s defense as Rossi curled it to the back post to set up Sounders 2 with a Fourth Round date at Real Salt Lake.

Game #2: Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 1, Rochester Rhinos (USL) 3 (a.e.t.)
For a game that spent the vast majority of time locked in a stalemate, the Third Round match between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Rochester Rhinos rewarded those who stuck around until the end with an extremely eventful finish. It was a scrappy game, with many cards, and in the 38th minute, Rochester’s Steevan Dos Santos received his second caution and was sent off. However, the 10-man Rhinos held on at 0-0 through regular time. In the second period of extra time, the game’s first goal finally came from the Islanders’ Brett Jankouskas, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brandon Miller off an Eric Bird assist. The floodgates opened, but not in the direction anyone expected. A minute later, Rochester struck back, with Kenardo Forbes capitalizing on a defensive lapse. Then, in the 115th minute, a bouncing ball in the box was slotted home by Rochester’s Asani Samuels. Just five minutes later, Samuels bagged a brace to push his side to a Fourth Round matchup at the Philadelphia Union.

Game #3: Richmond Kickers (USL) 3, Jacksonville Armada (NASL) 0
Hosting Jacksonville for the Florida club’s first-ever U.S. Open Cup match, the Richmond Kickers ran out to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute as Fred Owusu Sekyere picked out the head of Brian Ownby, who nodded inside the far post. Richmond would extend their lead just before halftime as Jason Yeisley broke through the back line before finishing past Armada ‘keeper Miguel Gallardo in the 38th minute, tallying the club’s 100th goal in U.S. Open Cup play. Whistled for a penalty kick early into the second half, Jacksonville fell further behind when George Davis IV easily placed his effort to the right of Gallardo to give the Kickers a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute. The padded lead helped Richmond see out the match, pushing the USL side to a Fourth Round home date against the Columbus Crew.

Game #4: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) 1, Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) 0
After 90 minutes of high pressing and numerous attempts, it seemed like the Pittsburgh Riverhounds just couldn’t get one over on their NASL competition the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The ‘Hounds had the lion’s share of the possession, much of which was in the Rowdies’ half, but they had nothing to show for it.  A low save by former MLS keeper Matt Pickens from Kevin Kerr’s vicious half-volley kept the Rowdies in the game in the 79th minute. Then, just as the fourth official was announcing stoppage time, Rob Vincent picked the ball up, strode up field, and unleashed a 25-yard bullet into the bottom-left corner, giving Pickens no chance and the Riverhounds a 1-0 victory.  Pittsburgh advances to the Fourth Round where it’ll host MLS side D.C. United.

Game #5: Chattanooga FC (NPSL) 1 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) 2 (a.e.t.)
The dream is over for underdog darlings Chattanooga FC after their 2-1 extra time defeat to the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. After 87 scoreless minutes, Chattanooga looked likely to pull the “Cupset”  when Luke Winter, put home a Jon Finlay cross.  However, just two minutes later the Silverbacks bounced back, winning a penalty and a chance to take the game to extra time, which Shaka Bangura converted with style. In the 109th minute, Atlanta’s Jaime Chavez broke Chattanooga’s hearts with a super strike to give his team the 2-1 lead. Despite Chattanooga’s best efforts, the Division II Silverbacks held on, setting up a Fourth Round match away to the New York Red Bulls.

Game #6: Charlotte Independence (USL) 1, Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 0
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides from the Tar Heel state, neither team could find a firm footing in attack and instead traded possession through much of the first hour. In the 71st minute, an Independence forward seemed to be taken down in the box, but the referee waived played on. Ten minutes later though, Ryan Finley came good, finding the back of the net to take Charlotte to a 1-0 victory over their NASL counterparts. The win pushes the first-year USL side to a Fourth Round clash with the New England Revolution.

Game #7: Charleston Battery 3, Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) 2
In one of seven NASL vs. USL matches on the night, the Division II Fort Lauderdale Strikers drew first blood early when Dani Sanchez slipped Bruno Nunes through to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. After working out the early jitters, Charleston would find the equalizer when Dane Kelly laid a ball back for Ricky Garbanzo, who smashed a half-volley into the roof of the net in the 30th minute. Fort Lauderdale would go back into the lead just before halftime when Sanchez fired home a strong toe poke from the top of the area in the 40th minute. Trailing in the second half, the hosting Battery side began to put the pedal down and found the equalizer in the 77th minute when a Fort Lauderdale giveaway in the back was pounced on by Dane Kelly. The Jamaican played a quick pass across the box for Zach Prince, who first-timed his effort inside the right post. Catching the Strikers out in transition, the Battery would find their first lead of the match two minutes later as Garbanzo moved up the right before picking out Kelly at the back post where he finished the game-winner from close range in the 79th minute. With the victory, Charleston will host Orlando City SC in Fourth Round action.

Game #8: Indy Eleven (NASL) 0, Louisville City FC (USL) 2 (a.e.t.)
In a game that was delayed because of severe weather in central Indiana, I-65 rivals Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC played a physical first half before trading blows in the second frame, but neither side could find a goal to settle the match in regulation. Just as it seemed the match would head to extra time, the visitors from Louisville broke through as Nate Polak’s effort from outside the box beat Indy ‘keeper Kristian Nicht in the 115th minute. With Indy pushing everything forward in search of the equalizer, Louisville struck again just before time when Matt Fondy’s shot was saved by Nicht but Sidney Rivera was there to sweep in the rebound, sending the USL side home with a 2-0 win. Louisville will get their first crack at an MLS team when they visit the Chicago Fire in the Fourth Round.  

Game #9: New York Cosmos (NASL) 3, vs. Jersey Express (PDL) 0
Fourteen minutes into the match, the Cosmos’ Leo Fernandes hit a nice free kick over the Express wall to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Then, in the 40th minute, Cosmos’ Sebastian Guenzatti beat multiple Express defenders before finishing to make it 2-0. For much of the second half the Cosmos continued to force their will on the match and found the third and final goal in the 79th minute when Haji Wright made a run into the box and passed to Fernandes, who was brought down for a penalty kick. Mads Stokelien converted the penalty to give the Cosmos a 3-0 lead in the 81st minute. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the Cosmos, though, as Sam Caceres received a straight red for a nasty foul in the 90th minute. Still, the NASL side eased to victory over the Express, setting up a Fourth Round matchup with nascent neighbors New York City FC.

Game #10: Saint Louis FC 1 (USL), vs. Minnesota United FC (NASL) 1 (3-1 PKs)
Following a scoreless first half, Minnesota United was rewarded for early second half pressure when Geison Moura’s shot clanged off the cross bar before falling for JC Banks who finished from close range in the 53rd minute. Their backs against the wall, Saint Louis were relentless in attack and found their equalizing opportunity when United defender Tyler Polak chopped down Saint Louis’s Charles Renken in the penalty area, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Bryan Gaul calmly stepped up and placed his effort past United ‘keeper Mitch Hildebrandt to send the match to extra time. While both teams traded blows in the extra period, a goal couldn’t be found and the match went to a shootout. In the tie breaker, only U.S. international Miguel Ibarra could convert out of four attempts for Minnesota, while Saint Louis bagged all three of their spot kicks to down United 3-1 in the shootout. With the win, Saint Louis FC will visit Sporting Kansas City in Fourth Round play.

Game #11: Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) 0, Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL) 1
The Third Round match between the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Oklahoma City Energy was short on goals, but not on shots. Nearing the final minutes, the match looked destined for extra time, when, seemingly out of nowhere, Energy FC substitute Peter Toth blasted a shot from distance which squeezed into the top-left corner. Heartbreak for the Roughnecks, as Oklahoma City Energy advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup where they’ll pay a visit to FC Dallas.

Game #12: San Antonio Scorpions 0 (NASL), Austin Aztex (USL) 2
USL continued its advantage over the NASL in Texas when the Austin Aztex downed the San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 Wednesday night. Playing away from home, the Aztex played a high energy, pressing game the Scorpions had no answer for. In the 51st minute, the Aztex’s Michael Ambrose scored off a beautiful strike from about 30 yards out. Then, on a counter-attack in the 78th minute, the Aztex’s Trevin Caesar latched on to a through ball before slamming the insurance marker home to earn a 2-0 away win. With the victory, Austin advanced to the competition’s Fourth Round where they’ll visit Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

Game #13: Real Monarchs SLC 0 (USL), Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) 1
Real Monarchs welcomed their neighbors to the east to Rio Tinto Stadium Wednesday night, but it was the side from Colorado that had the early ideas as Josh Phillips chipped Aaron King in alone before the striker beat Real ‘keeper Eric Osswald in the fifth minute. The home side nearly pulled level when Emery Welshman was picked out in the box, but his header went just wide of the post in the 33rd minute. As the teams tried to return from halftime, a bout of severe weather forced the match to be delayed. Once the game continued, Real continued on looking for tying goal, but saw their best chances come in second half stoppage time. First Max Rauhoffer’s half volley came back off the cross bar, before Maikon Orellana put his effort just wide left of the post moments before the referee whistled for time. With the victory, the Switchbacks move on to an in-state Fourth Round match as they visit the Colorado Rapids.

Game #14: Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 1, PSA Elite (USASA) 2
In the only Third Round battle between two Amateur Division teams, PSA Elite looked good to return to the Fourth Round for the second straight year when Mats Bjurman scored his third goal of the tournament from the penalty spot in the 39th minute. With the opportunity to face defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy hanging over both teams heads, the home side responded in the 72nd minute when Jinho Kim’s curling free kick was flicked on by Sola Abolaji before Abdullah Adam slammed the equalizer home. Both sides looked for the odd goal late but it was the visiting USASA side that found it when Justin Dhillon slammed home in the 80th minute. The victory combined with other results Wednesday hands PSA Elite a $15,000 prize as the furthest advancing amateur team and a Fourth Round date away to the LA Galaxy.

Game #15: Sacramento Republic FC  (USL) 7, Chula Vista FC (USASA) 3
Following a high-flying entrance into Open Cup play, Sacramento started where they left off last week when Octavio Guzmano was played towards box and flicked his effort home for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Though Republic FC dictated much of the play, the young side from Chula Vista evened things up when Francisco Ramirez converted a spot kick in the 39th minute. The amateurs were no doubt looking to take that score into halftime, but Sacramento had other ideas as Adnon Gabeljic restored a 2-1 lead in the 43rd. On the other side of the break, Sacramento’s Tommy Stewart found some space on the right side of the box before turning to bury his effort inside the far left post for his tournament leading fourth goal in the 52nd minute. Just seven minutes later Gabljic popped up again to make it 4-1 and earned a penalty minutes later, but Sebastian Ortiz saved Rodrigo Lopez’s 63rd minute attempt. The fifth would eventually come from Zev Taublieb in the 73rd minute, but Chula Vista responded with a small comeback as Joey Estrada got on the end of a loose ball and chipped to the left post in the 74th minute. Eight minutes later, Mario Rubio popped up to pull Chula Vista back to within two goals, but Sacramento Republic put the hammer back down as Lopez fired home in the 85th minute before Gabeljic completed his hat trick and the 7-3 score line in the 89th minute. With the win, Sacramento Republic advances to a Fourth Round match at San Jose Earthquakes.

U-23 MNT Falls to Host France in Toulon Tournament Opener

TOULON, France (May 27, 2015) – Despite a strong second half, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team fell to host-France 3-1 on Wednesday in their opening group match of the 2015 Toulon Tournament.

France came out on the attack and a pair of U.S. mistakes resulted in two goals for the tournament hosts in the game’s first 11 minutes. In the 21st minute France extended its lead to three off of a Stephane Sparagna free kick.

The U.S. battled for the remaining minutes of the first half and controlled the ball on France’s side of the pitch, but could not turn possession into any chances. The U-23s carried the momentum from the end of the first half into the second and got on the board in the 65th minute when Marco Pelosi fed Jordan Morris for the USA’S first goal of the tournament.

The U-23s applied the pressure for the remaining minutes, but were unable to earn a result.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
FRA- Fares Bahlouli, 10th minute: 
Cody Cropper made a diving save and parried the ball away, but the deflected ball was not cleared. Fares Bahlouli picked it up for France and promptly smashed it past a still-recovering Cropper and into the bottom right corner. USA 0, FRA 1

FRA- Enzo Cervelli, 11th minute: After intercepting off the kickoff following the first goal, France got the ball out to Lemar Thomas, who brought it down and got forward with pace on the left side. Thomas sent a hard shot at Cropper who dove and knocked it away. Off the rebound Enzo Cervelli jumped and headed it in to give France an early 2-0 lead. USA 0, FRA 2

FRA- Stephane Sparagna, 21st minute: A USA foul set up France with a free kick from 20 yards out, above the top corner of the box. The France captain Sparagna sent in a low, hard ball that threaded a number of players and ended in the lower right corner of the goal. USA 0, FRA 3

USA- Jordan Morris (Marc Pelosi) 65th Minute: Marc Pelosi played a square ball to Jordan Morris in the center of the park 45 yards from goal. Morris spun and burst past a pair of French defenders. With just the ‘keeper to beat, the U.S. forward calmly slipped a shot past and into the lower right corner. USA 1, FRA 3 (FINAL)

Milestone Watch:

  • Jordan Morris has now scored in back-to-back games with the U-23s and three straight for the U.S. overall counting his goal with the senior team in their 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
  • Marc Pelosi made his first appearance in a U.S. uniform in more than two years, having recovered from a series of injuries. He earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT and tallied an assist.
  • Sam Strong earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT

Next on the Schedule:
The U-23 MNT faces the Netherlands on May 29 at Stade Perruc in Hyeres, France
Broadcast information: 11 a.m. ET BeIN SPORTS 
Social: Twitter @ussoccer

Additional Notes:

  • This match was the first between France and the USA at the U-23 age level.
  • Benji Joya, who scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the match against France in the 2013 Toulon Tournament (when the teams met as U-20 opponents), made the start tonight as the captain.
  • Joya and Shane O’Neill are the only players on the roster that have started in all four games this year for the U-23s.
  • Jordan Morris, who earned Man of the Match honors, recorded his third goal in 2015 with the U-23s and the fourth of his five-game career with the team.

- U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team vs. France
Date: May 27, 2015
Competition: 2015 Toulon Tournament
Venue: Stade Leo Lagrange; Toulon, France
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 812
Weather: 70 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:           1              2              F
USA                                   0              1              1
FRA                                   3              0              3

FRA – Fares Bahlouli                                 10th minute
FRA- Enzo Crivelli                                     11
FRA- Stephane Sparagna                            21
USA- Jordan Morris (Marc Pelosi)             65 

USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 3-Boyd Okwuonu,  5-Will Packwood (6-Sam Strong, 73), 4-Shane O’Neill, 2-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (7-Dillon Serna, 62); 8-Benji Joya (capt.), 16-Daniel Metzger, 10-Marc Pelosi; 17-Jerome Keisewetter (11-Alonso Hernandez ,73), 9-Jordan Morris, 16-Julian Green (15-Alfred Koroma Shams, 62)
Subs Not Used:, 12-Charlie Horton, 13-Fatai Alashe, 18-Jalen Robinson, 20-Tyler Turner, 22-Tyler Miller
Head coach: Andreas Herzog

FRA: 1-Thomas Didillon; 15 Raphael Diarra, 5-Stephane Sparagna, 4-Presnel Kimpembe, 2-Damien Dussau, 13-Baptiste Santamaria (8-Adrien Hunou, 61), 6-Yann Bodiger, 11-Lemar Thomas, 20-Romain Habran (19- Aristote Madiani, 51), 9-Enzo Crivelli (14-Ulrich Nnomo, 65), 18-Fares Bahlouli (10-Younes Kaabouni, 61)
Subs Not Used: 3-Louis Nganinoni,  7-Jean-Luc Diarra-Dompe, 12-Marco Ilamaharita, 16-Louis Souchad, 17-Jordan Diakiese
Head coach: Francis Smerecki 

Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 5 / 9
Shots on Goal: 4 /5
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 8
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jerome Kiesewetter (caution)                      19th minute
FRA- Presnel Kimpembe (caution)                          38
FRA- Stephane Sparagn (caution)                            49
FRA- Yann Badiger (caution)                                  54

Referee: Adi Zourak (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Hacham  Ait Abbou (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahya Nouali (MAR)
4th Official: Romo Macias (MEX) Man of the Match: Jordan Morris 

U.S. Soccer Federation Statement

The United States Soccer Federation firmly believes there is no higher priority, and nothing more important, than protecting the integrity of our game. We are committed to the highest ethical standards and business practices, and we will continue to encourage CONCACAF and FIFA to promote the same values. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, we will not speculate or comment further on this matter at this time. 

Chula Vista FC Aiming to Continue Upstart Beginning to 2015 USOC

As 2015 U.S. Open Cup Cinderella side Harpo’s FC was in Colorado Springs trying to extend an unthinkable run to the Third Round last Wednesday night, USASA side Chula Vista FC looked ready to take the glass slipper.

As the final whistle blew on Harpo’s 2-1 defeat at the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Chula Vista FC was in the midst of a 3-0 shellacking of USL side Arizona United SC. The Second Round win came on the heels of a 2-1 extra time victory over PDL side FC Tucson in First Round play a week before, and anointed the tournament debutantes as the new amateur darlings heading into round three on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t say we’re surprised with our success,” said Chula Vista FC head coach Hector Diaz. “It’s a little overwhelming that it happened in our first U.S. Open Cup trip but a lot of these guys have had pressure before and been successful under that pressure. I think we rise to the challenge -- there aren’t any egos, they’re trying to take advantage of the opportunity they’ve been afforded and I like that. Hopefully we continue with the same attitude.”

Perhaps what’s most amazing about the team’s run is that the side is made up entirely of players 23 years old and under. Half the team that started the match against the pros at Arizona United were under the age of 21. Even Diaz, a former airman in the Air National Guard, is one of the youngest coaches in the tournament at just 28.

Chula Vista FC
Chula Vista FC celebrates earning a berth in the Third Round of the 2015 U.S. Open Cup after defeating Arizona United on May 20.

The holder of a USSF “B” Coaching License, Diaz began his managerial career at the age of 15, working with his father, Hector, Sr. as coach of his brother Alberto’s youth squad. Keeping the core of the team together over the past 13 years, Hector has taken over the reins, culminating in their first Open Cup qualification earlier this year.

Alberto, a slight but technical former U.S. youth international and 2010 Cal South Player of the Year, shined in the team’s Second Round match against Arizona United, scoring the first and third goals and setting up teammate Angel Pinal for the second in the 3-0 rout.

“I had a big smile when he scored the first goal,” said Alberto’s big brother Hector. “I watched and saw Francisco Ramirez, who started on this team with ‘Berto when they were both six or seven years old, set him up for the goal. They’ve always been the top two players in whatever league they’ve played in and now they’re big things against a pro team in the U.S. Open Cup – it’s incredible.”

The win sets the club up for its biggest match yet, a visit north to reigning USL champions Sacramento Republic who beat Sonoma County Sol 4-2 in Second Round play last week, a team Diaz says he’s followed closely since they began last year.

“It’s hard not to notice the buzz they’ve generated,” he said. “We have a great group of guys and the same night we beat Arizona, our captain Luis Alvarado watched their game against Sonoma Sol and took notes, three hours after our game, our captain had already analyzed our opponent. He said, ‘I did half the job for you, I’m going to give you these notes. They’re real good, real dangerous on the attack. I think we can counterattack them this way, go at them that way.”

“They’re very good offensively,” Diaz continued. “The good thing is our defense I think has been the strongest. Both first halves against Tucson and Arizona were unbelievably difficult. They both pressed us and our defense was able to hold in both cases. In the second half of both games we were more offensive and released a little pressure.”

Chula Vista FC
Chula Vista FC's next challenge comes in the Open Cup Third Round against reigning USL champs Sacramento Republic FC.

With just five amateur teams left in the tournament, Chula Vista FC know that if they can get past Sacramento on Wednesday, they’ll have a good chance at the tournament’s $15,000 prize for the Amateur Division team that advances the furthest.

And while Diaz admits he didn’t think his team would get this far in its first appearance, he’s also sure to point out that, despite two wins, they haven’t reached their goal in the tournament just yet.

“I keep telling the guys that we have nothing to lose and everything to win. They’re responding and starting to believe a little more and as we go the confidence is growing. We always saw the goal as being able to go up against an MLS team. I thought it would take a couple more tries to have a chance at that we’re not at our goal yet, but were hoping to get there on Wednesday.”

The winner of the match will advance to a Fourth Round date away to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on June 16.

FIFA U-20 World Cup a Chance for Redemption

For several members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup represents another chance. Many have been part of the U.S. Soccer national team programs for various cycles, but only three have ever been part of a youth World Cup, and only two have played in one. Nine others came close and are now getting their opportunity on the world stage.

Jeff Caldwell, Joel Sonora, Conor Donovan, Rubio Rubin, John Requejo and Shaq Moore were all on the 2013 team that was upset by Honduras at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and missed out of that U-17 World Cup. Bradford Jamieson IV was left off that roster altogether after spending four semesters in Residency.

“Obviously that was a tough moment, not only for me but the rest of the team who experienced that,” said Moore, who was captain of the 2013 U-17 World Cup qualifying team. “I think having another chance – not even here at the World Cup, but at Qualifying in January with this group - was a big hurdle that I crossed to finally qualify for a World Cup.”

It wasn’t easy qualifying this time around, either. After tying the first and losing the second match, the U-20s won the final four matches in Jamaica – all by shutout – in order to qualify for New Zealand. One player who had to sit out was Sonora, who was injured weeks before. Thankful that the group qualified, he’s now looking forward for his chance at redemption.

“It was a big disappointment at the time because we were all expecting to qualify,” said Sonora of the 2013 team. “We didn’t see it as too difficult, and maybe we let our guard down. It was a very hard hit to take because it was the first time a U-17 team didn’t qualify for a World Cup. We were crushed. So we’re excited that we’ve now given ourselves another chance to show what we can do and what this group of players and this team is about in New Zealand.”

Two years earlier, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola were the youngest members of the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup team in Mexico that bowed out in the Round of 16 with a loss to Germany. Acosta played in all four matches and Arriola in three. During that cycle, Marky Delgado did not make the qualifying roster, and while Jordan Allen was on the team that qualified, he was left off the final World Cup squad.

“There was disappointment, but at the time I hadn’t been playing well, so it was kind of expected,” Allen said. “I made sure once that happened, that the next time I had a chance to make a World Cup team I would have been doing everything I could to be in good form and put myself in the right position. So I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that this time.”

Allen and Delgado were also returning from injuries in January and not fit to go to Jamaica. But Allen seemed to be a longer shot. He suffered a knee injury last year that kept him out the picture for months. The Real Salt Lake forward made his first appearance with the U-20s in a camp in Austria in April, and got the call that he made the World Cup team a few weeks later.

“This means a lot,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work in - being out of close to 10 months with my knee injury. As soon as I got healthy I circled when the World Cup was going to be and I made sure that by that time I was getting close to my best form. I put a lot of work in, and luckily it worked out.”

Arriola doesn’t take the opportunity to play in a second youth World Cup for granted.

“I know it’s unique, and I know I’m very blessed to be able to do this again,” he said. “Obviously when I started the cycle, this was my goal – to have us qualify for the World Cup and to make the team. But you never know what can happen, so I’m thankful to be here and looking to do whatever I can to help us win.”

Zack Steffen is the other player on this roster to have been on a World Cup team. The Freiburg goalkeeper, along with Acosta, returns from the 2013 U-20 World Cup team, although neither played in the tournament.

It’s obviously not easy making it to a World Cup, and it’s with that in mind that this group relishes the experience in New Zealand.

“We’ve had a very sour taste in our mouth,” Moore said. “We’ve just wanted to work hard and give ourselves another shot. We wanted to get rid of that taste and we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re excited to be here now, but we also want to make the most of this opportunity.”

U-23 MNT Begins Toulon Journey against France

TOULON, France (May 27, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will participate in the 2015 Toulon Tournament from May 27 to June 7 in six venues in the south of France.

The USA has been drawn into Group A with host France, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Qatar. The U.S. opens against France (May 27, 1 p.m. ET), followed by Netherlands (May 29, 11 a.m. ET), Costa Rica (May 31, 11 a.m. ET), and Qatar (June 2, 12 p.m. ET). The top team from the group will advance to the final, while the second-place finisher will move on to play for third. The advancing pair from Group A will match up with the top two finishers from Group B, which includes China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The placement matches will be played on June 7.

All of the U.S.’s group-stage tournament games will be broadcast on BeIN SPORTS. Fans can also follow the U.S. games on Twitter @ussoccer.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Unattached; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Unattached; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (8): Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Catonsville, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Tyler Turner, (Orlando City SC; West Haven, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool; Sunnyvale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.); Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Tex.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Unattached; Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.)

Roster Notes:

  • A total of 17 players gathered in the countryside outside of Toulon on May 24. San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe and goalkeeper Cody Cropper arrived on May 25, while Orlando City SC defender Tyler Turner arrived shortly before tournament kickoff May 27.
  • Eight players from this roster were a part of the U-20 MNT that competed in the 2013 Toulon Tournament: Cropper, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Benji Joya, Dillon Serna, Alonso Hernandez, Alfred Koroma Shams, and Jordan Morris.
  • Eleven players from this roster were a part of the group that most recently defeated Mexico 3-0 in Carson.Cropper made seven saves to earn the shutout in that game, while Morris scored a goal, and Serna and O’Neill both recorded assists.
  • Five players were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cropper, Hernandez, Joya, Ocegueda and O’Neill.
  • Ocegueda, Hernandez, and Joya are the most experienced players at the U-23 level, each having earned five caps.
  • Six players on this roster come from MLS, four from European clubs, three are from Mexico-based clubs, one plays in the USL, three are unattached and two compete at the collegiate level.
  • Cropper, Green, Morris, O’Neill and Serna have all been part of a U.S. MNT senior camp this year.
  • Morris is the leading goalscorer on this roster. In two matches in 2015, he has scored two goals, and overall in his four-game career with the U-23’s he has scored three times.
  • Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
  • Julian Green, Marc Pelosi, Jalen Robinson and Turner are the only four players making their first appearance on a U-23 roster.
  • Green played in the U.S. MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and scored a goal, becoming the youngest player to score in a World Cup game since 2006. 

EYES ON RIO: The Toulon Tournament serves as a part of the U-23s’ continued preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, where the team will seek  to earn a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where it posted a 1-1-1 record but could not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team advanced past Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event. The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13.

MOVING ON FROM TOULON: Over the years the Toulon Tournament has proven to be a springboard for success for a host of young players, as some of the biggest names in world soccer having made a name for themselves at le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born. Over the years, the Toulon Tournament has proven to be a springboard for success for a host of young players, as some of the biggest names in world soccer having made a name for themselves at  le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born.  Luminaries like Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Javier Mascherano, and James Rodriguez have their names recorded in the record books here, along with others close to home. In 1997, Josh Wolff earned honors as the tournament’s top goal scorer alongside France’s Thierry Henry and Colombia’s Gustavo Victoria. Wolff went on to play in a pair of World Cups for the United States, assisting on the game-winning goal against Mexico in the Round of 16 in Korea. The French legend Henry also earned Player of the Tournament honors that year, going to on to be France’s all-time leading goalscorer and a legendary figure at Arsenal and Barcelona before heading state side to play for New York Red Bulls from 2010-2014.

USA VS. FRANCE (May 27, 1 p.m. ET; Stade Léo Lagrange; Toulon, France)

  • The U-23 MNT has not competed against France since Olympic soccer was designated as an Under-23 competition (1992).
  • Eight players on this roster were a part of the U.S. U-20 team that faced off with France in the 2013 Toulon Tournament: Cropper, Ocegueda, O’Neill, Joya, Serna, Hernandez, Koroma Shams, and Morris. France, which was playing with a roster of U-23 players, won that matchup 4-1.
  •  Five players were part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cropper, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda and O’Neill. That team tied France in 1-1 in group play. France went on to win the World Cup that year.
  • Benji Joya was the lone goalscorer for the U.S. in the 2013 matchup with France
  • France and the U.S. have been grouped together in four Toulon Tournaments. The U.S. is 0-0-4 in those matches.

Building a Soccer Culture in the South's Scenic City

“Soccer hotbed” may not be the first thought that comes to your mind when someone says Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Yet NPSL side Chattanooga FC is helping the city known for a song about a train, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, and birthplace of the “moonpie” become a substantial soccer hub in the southeastern United States.

Having begun play in 2009, the club has been one of the most consistent sides in the NPSL, going to the league’s championship match in 2010, 2012 and 2014 while appearing in its fourth U.S. Open Cup this year. Playing its home games at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium, CFC’s success on the field has also spurred interest in the stands. The club averaged 3,600 fans per game last season and also holds the NPSL’s attendance record, drawing 8,878 for a playoff match with Sacramento Gold in 2014.

When my partners and I started this thing seven years ago, the intention was to make Chattanooga a focal point for all things soccer,” said General Manager Sean McDaniel. “The word ‘grassroots’ is spot on and we did it in steps. First it was to get our local community behind us -- that included having a great relationship with our stadium and youth organizations. It built into a regional following -- within our NPSL conference, in the past seven years, we’ve certainly had success on the field and we’ve worked hard not to just promote soccer in the city, but the city itself. We wanted to make Chattanooga a destination point for people all over the country. Soccer was the catalyst and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

In turn, the atmosphere that the club’s supporters, aptly named “The Chattahooligans,” provide at Finley Stadium helps give Chattanooga FC a leg up on attracting top collegiate talent to fill out its roster each year.

Goalkeeper Gregory Hartley made two penalty saves before converting the winning kick in the team’s First Round shootout victory over Ocala Stampede.
Photo Credit: Madonna Kemp

“We’ve been able to show these guys what type of city, environment and fan base they’ll be playing in front of,” McDaniel continued. “For all of them, they’re playing at some type of collegiate level or have just ended their collegiate career and have never played for a fan base or a following like this one in their life. When they get here and experience the tremendous support we have, it does get easier to recruit the type of talent we get.

“Honestly, we still have to fight amongst other teams -- there are some tremendous organizations across the country that are fighting for the same top quality guys.  We try to put our best face in front of them as we can – that’s the crowd support and the environment in the city. It’s becoming easier and easier to sell every year.”

Some of the players that Chattanooga has attracted include goalkeeper Gregory Hartley, who made two penalty saves before converting the winning kick in the team’s First Round shootout victory over Ocala Stampede. Forward Chris Ocheing set up Luke Winter’s late equalizer to send that match to extra time, and last Wednesday Ochieng did it again with a late tying goal against the Wilmington Hammerheads to send the match to extra time and the eventual shootout win.

Though it goes down in the books as a draw, the penalty kick victory marked the second year in a row Chattanooga dispatched the professional USL side in the Second Round of the Open Cup. The win sets up a match against another familiar opponent as the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks will return to Finley Stadium for Wednesday’s third-round encounter.

Though not traditionally known for its Open Cup exploits, the Second Division side from Atlanta made easy work of Chattanooga in that match, casting them out of the 2014 tournament with a 5-0 drubbing.

While the Fourth Division outfit remains realistic about their chances against a fully professional Silverbacks side, McDaniel says the team is better prepared for the match than they were last year and hopes that the expected 4,000-plus supporters in Finley Stadium will help the effort.

“The difference between last year and this year is it was the first real run for everybody and first time we’ve gone that deep,” he said. “This year, it’s a businesslike mentality from the players and the coaching staff. It’s very exciting, very honoring, but very practical to us as well as far as what job needs to be done. The biggest change is that last year we were just happy to be there. This year, we just feel this sense that we deserve to be here and let’s play like we deserve to be here. I expect the Silverbacks will be very strong like last year but mentally and emotionally this will be more business.”

Last Wednesday, forward Chris Ocheing had a late tying goal against the Wilmington Hammerheads to send the match to extra time and the eventual shootout win.
Photo Credit: Tracey Pattarozzi Stiegler

The winner of the match would advance to a Fourth Round date away to the New York Red Bulls on June 16. If it’s Chattanooga that is victorious, it would set up a historic week for soccer in the city as the club will also host the Hank Steinbrecher Cup on Friday and Saturday at Finley Stadium.

Despite finishing as NPSL runners-up in 2014, Chattanooga FC gained entry to the tournament, which is named for the U.S. Soccer Federation’s former Secretary General, after the champion New York Red Bulls U-23 side moved to the PDL this season. The tournament brings the reigning PDL champion Michigan Bucks, USASA Open champion Maryland Bays and Amateur champion New York Greek American SC together to determine the nation’s Amateur National Champion.

With success in the U.S. Open Cup and events like the Steinbrecher Cup helping Chattanooga continue to make waves in the national soccer conversation, the thought of higher aspirations for the club is something that is under careful evaluation according to McDaniel.

“I think we’d be short sighted if we were content with where we are right now. We’re very happy with the NPSL and the support we get within our community. We also know we want to continue growing the sport and whether that’s jumping up a level or just being hosts to great hosts to big events like the Steinbrecher Cup here in Chattanooga, it’s ‘on the white board’ as they say. Right now we get through the season with what we’re doing and at the end of the year we sit down as a board if we want to go to the next step. We’re always looking to grow and make this thing better.”

15 Games Highlight Open Cup Third Round as NASL Teams Begin Play

Since the NASL began participating in the competition in 2012, the league as a whole has gone 3-2-0 against USL sides, 4-2-2 against PDL, 5-0-0 vs. the NPSL and 2-0-0 against the USASA.

Fifteen matches in 13 different states will kick off with a Wednesday matinee as Portland Timbers FC 2 visit Seattle Sounders FC 2 at 1 p.m. PT in Tukwila, Wash.

Check out notes on each match below, stay tuned to Wednesday for live links to matches and follow all the Third Round action via the competition’s official Twitter account @OpenCup.

Game #1: Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL) vs. Portland Timbers FC 2 (USL)
1 p.m. PT; Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Seattle Sounders FC 2 Overall Record: 1-0-0
Portland Timbers FC 2 Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Portland Timbers FC 2 Overall Record:

  • Two first half goals from Victor Mansaray and Pablo Rossi seemed to see Seattle cruising in their Second Round match with Kitsap Pumas, but Trevor Jensen’s 65th minute marker and Mike Ramos’ stoppage time equalizer sent the match to extra time. Three minutes into the extra frame, Rossi’s free kick restored Seattle’s lead and Andy Craven put the game on ice just before time, giving Sounders 2 a 4-2 extra time win in their first-ever U.S. Open Cup match.
  • Though scoreless through the first 45 with the Michigan Bucks, things were less dramatic in Timbers 2’s Open Cup debut as Seth Casiple set up Kharlton Belmar in the 52nd minute before dishing to Safiu Fatawu in second half stoppage time to ease Portland to a 2-0 victory.
  • The match will mark the third meeting between Sounders 2 and Timbers 2 this season and will be the second consecutive match between the two sides after Seattle downed Portland 2-0 on Friday, May 22 at Merlo Field. Seattle also defeated Portland 2-1 on April 11 at Starfire Stadium.
  • Seattle remains top of the USL’s Western Conference with a 6-3-1 record (19 points) while Portland are ninth with a 3-4-2 record (11 points).
  • The game should stoke some flames ahead of the two rival clubs’ first teams facing off in the tournament’s Fourth Round at the same stadium on June 16.
  • The winner will visit Real Salt Lake in Fourth Round play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on June 17.

Game #2: Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL)
7 p.m. ET; Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
Harrisburg City Islanders Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 7 (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012; Quarterfinals)
Harrisburg City Islanders Overall Record: 15-7-3
Rochester Rhinos Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 19 (1999; Champions)
Rochester Rhinos Overall Record: 33-15-5

  • Harrisburg City Islanders advanced to the Third Round using goals from Danny DiPrima, Cordel Benbowo and Ken Tribbett to earn a 3-0 win at PDL side Reading United.
  • Kenardo Forbes’s 39th minute strike was all Rochester needed to defeat NPSL side Greater Binghamtom FC Thunder 1-0 in Second Round play on May 20.
  • Wednesday’s match will mark the first game between the two USL sides this season as well as their first-ever meeting in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • Harrisburg’s Neil Shaffer will serve a one-match suspension after being shown a red card in the side’s 3-0 win over Reading on May 20.
  • Following a 0-0 draw with Toronto FC II on May 23, Rochester enter the match with an unbeaten 6-0-4 record  (18 points) in league play and sit first overall in the USL’s Eastern Conference.
  • Harrisburg sat idle this past weekend in USL play and are currently fifth in the USL’S Eastern Conference with a 4-2-1 (19 points).
  • With a win against Harrisburg, Rochester can equal Chicago Fire’s mark for most overall tournament wins in the “Pro Era” with 34.
  • The winner will visit the Philadelphia Union in Fourth Round play at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. on June 16.

Game #3: Richmond Kickers (USL) vs. Jacksonville Armada (NASL)
7 p.m. ET; Richmond City Stadium in Richmond, Va.
Richmond Kickers Previous Appearances/Best Finish:16 (1995; Champions)
Richmond Kickers Overall Record: 27-14-2
Jacksonville Armada Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First Appearance

  • Richmond Kickers got second half goals from Nathan Shiffman (47th) and Jason Yeisley (89th) to earn a 2-0 victory over Virginia Beach City in Second Round play on May 20 at City Stadium.
  • Expansion NASL side Jacksonville Armada will make their U.S. Open Cup debut against Richmond Kickers and are coached by former Boca Juniors midfielder and Argentina international Jose Luis Villareal.
  • Richmond last fell 2-1 at home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, May 23 and are currently in third place in the USL’s Eastern Conference with a 4-2-4 record (16 points).
  • Jacksonville comes into the match off a 3-2 away loss to Minnesota United FC on Saturday, May 23 and sit fourth in the NASL’s Spring Season standings with a 3-3-1 record (12 points).
  • The match will mark the first time Richmond has met an NASL club in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • The winner of the match will host Columbus Crew SC on June 17.

Game #4: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)
7 p.m. ET; Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 12 (2014; Quarterfinals)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds Overall Record: 8-10-3
Tampa Bay Rowdies Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 4 (2013; Fourth Round)
Tampa Bay Rowdies Overall Record: 4-4-0

  • Early goals from Rob Vincent (9th minute) and Lebo Molobo (10th minute) and a late strike from Kevin Kerr (87th minute) eased Pittsburgh to a 3-0 Second Round win over the West Virginia Chaos on May 20.
  • The Rowdies return to the tournament looking to avenge their 4-1 Third Round upending by USL’s Orlando City in 2014.
  • Pittsburgh enters the match coming off a 2-1 away win over the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, May 23. The victory moved the Riverhounds above the USL Eastern Conference’s red playoff line and into sixth with a 3-3-3 record (12 points).
  • Sitting idle this past weekend, Tampa Bay comes into the match riding a three-game unbeaten streak in NASL play (1-0-2) and sit third in the league’s Spring table with a 3-1-3 record (12 points).
  • Tampa Bay is 1-1-0 all-time vs. USL opponents in the Open Cup while the match will mark Pittsburgh’s first-ever game against an NASL side in the tournament.
  • The match winner will host three-time U.S. Open Cup champions D.C. United on June 17.

Game #5: Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)
7:30 p.m. ET; Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Chattanooga FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 2 (2013; Second Round)
Chattanooga FC Overall Record: 1-2-2
Atlanta Silverbacks Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 11 (2014; Quarterfinals)
Atlanta Silverbacks Overall Record: 10-10-2

  • One of five amateur teams left in the tournament, Chattanooga FC advanced to the Third Round with a 5-3 shootout victory over USL’s Wilmington Hammerheads following a 1-1 draw. The penalty win was the team’s second straight after dispatching Ocala Stampede via shootout in the First Round.
  • The game falls almost a year to the day of last year’s Third Round encounter where Atlanta trounced Chattanooga 5-0 at Finley Stadium.
  • Chattanooga enter the match with a perfect 3-0-0 record in NPSL play, last defeating the New Orleans Jesters 3-1 on Saturday.
  • Atlanta returns to the competition following their best-ever finish in 2014, a quarterfinal run which saw them eventually fall 3-1 to the Chicago Fire.
  • Atlanta come into the game off a 4-2 away loss at FC Edmonton on Sunday, May 24. The Silverbacks sit seventh in the NASL’s Spring table with a 1-2-5 record.
  • The winner will visit New York Red Bulls in a Fourth Round encounter at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on June 16.

Game #6: Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
7:30 p.m. ET; WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Carolina RailHawks Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 7 (2007; Semifinals)
Carolina RailHawks Overall Record: 16-7-1
Charlotte Independence Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Charlotte Independence Overall Record: 1-0-0

  • Charlotte won their debut U.S. Open Cup match, using a hat trick from Tomasz Zahorski and another strike from Enzo Martinez to defeat Upward Stars 4-1 on May 20.
  • Carolina returns to the competition after dispatching Chivas USA on penalty kicks and the LA Galaxy in extra time before falling 5-2 to FC Dallas in the 2014 Quarterfinals.
  • The Independence come off a 1-1 league draw away to the Charleston Battery while Carolina earned a 1-0 away win at Fort Lauderdale. Both matches were played on Saturday, May 23.
  • The RailHawks hold a 5-1-1 all-time record against Division III (USL) sides in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup since the club began participating in 2007.
  • Carolina sits fifth overall in the NASL Spring table with a 2-2-4 record (10 points), while Charlotte is eighth in the USL’s Easter Conference with a 2-3-3 record (9 points).
  • The winner will visit New England Revolution on June 17 at Harvard University’s Soldiers Field in Boston, Mass.

Game #7: Charleston Battery (USL) vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
7:30 p.m. ET; Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
Charleston Battery Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 15 (2008; Finalists)
Charleston Battery Overall Record: 26-13-5
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 8 (2008; 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014; Third Round)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Overall Record: 6-6-2

  • Charleston set up their Third Round home date against Fort Lauderdale thanks to Heviel Cordoves’ 40th minute strike in a 1-0 win over NPSL side Miami United on May 20.
  • The club will be without Cordoves against Fort Lauderdale after the Cuban forward was shown a red card in the 83rd minute of the match.
  • Fort Lauderdale returns to the Open Cup in 2015, after being upset in their first match of 2014, falling 3-2 to the PDL’s Laredo Heat in Third Round play.
  • The two sides have met once before in Open Cup play, with the Charleston Battery downing, then Miami FC 1-0 in Second Round play on June 16, 2009.
  • Charleston enters the match following a 1-1 away draw with the Charlotte Independence on Saturday May 23. With the result, the Battery sit second in the USL’s Easter Conference with a 5-1-4 record (19 points).
  • Fort Lauderdale comes into Wednesday’s encounter following a 1-0 home defeat to the Carolina RailHawks. The Strikers are 9th in the NASL Spring table with a 2-4-1 record (7 points).
  • With 26 all-time Open Cup wins, Charleston are tied for fifth most wins among 2015 Open Cup participants behind only Chicago Fire (34), Rochester Rhinos (33), D.C. United (31) and Richmond Kickers (27).
  • Dating back to their first Open Cup participation in 1999, Charleston is 5-0-1 all-time against Division II (now NASL) sides in the tournament, while this match marks the first time Fort Lauderdale will face a Division III (now USL) opponent in the tournament.
  • If the Battery win, they will host Major League Soccer’s Orlando City on June 17 at Charleston’s Blackbaud Stadium. If Fort Lauderdale wins, they’ll visit City on the same date at The Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Game #8: Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
7:30 p.m. ET; Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Indy Eleven Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2014; Fourth Round)
Indy Eleven Overall Record: 1-1-0
Louisville City FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Louisville City FC Overall Record: 1-0-0

  • Indy Eleven return to the U.S. Open Cup after defeating the Dayton Dutch Lions 5-2 (Third Round) before falling 2-1 in extra time to the Columbus Crew (Fourth Round) in 2014.
  • Louisville City FC comes off their U.S. Open Cup debut, using an own goal to defeat NPSL side Lansing United 1-0 in Second Round play on May 20.
  • Indy Eleven comes in the match after giving up a late goal in a 1-0 away loss to the Ottawa Fury on May 23. The team sits 11th in the NASL Spring table with a 1-3-3 overall record.
  • Louisville used a brace from Matt Fondy to earn a 3-3 away draw with Saint Louis FC in USL play on May 24. The point keeps the side in third place in the Eastern Conference with a 4-1-4 record.
  • The winner of the match will move on to a Fourth Round date with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. on June 16.

Game #9: New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
7:30 p.m. ET; Belson Stadium in Queens, N.Y.
New York Cosmos Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2014; Fourth Round)
New York Cosmos Overall Record: 2-1-0
Jersey Express Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2014; First Round)
Jersey Express Overall Record: 2-1-0

  • The New York Cosmos return to the U.S. Open Cup following a 2014 run that saw them defeat the Brooklyn Italians 2-0 (Third Round) and upset the New York Red Bulls 3-0 (Fourth Round) before falling to eventual finalists Philadelphia Union 2-1 in extra time in Fifth Round play.
  • One of five amateur teams left in the tournament, Jersey Express advanced to their date with the Cosmos following a 3-1 First Round win over New York Greek American SC and 1-0 Second Round defeat of New York Red Bulls II.
  • Originally scheduled for NJIT Stadium in Newark, N.J., the match was moved to Belson Stadium because of construction at the initial venue.
  • The last unbeaten side in the NASL, the Cosmos sit atop the Spring table with a 5-0-3 record after last defeating the San Antonio Scorpions 3-0 on May 23.
  • Jersey Express are 0-1-0 in PDL play after sitting idle this past weekend.
  • Though he never won the Copa del Rey in his years with Real Madrid, Cosmos striker Raul twice won the competition’s Golden Boot in 2001-02 and 2003-04 and did win the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) with Schalke in 2010-11, scoring the lone goal in the side’s 1-0 semifinal victory away to Bayern Munich.
  • Should the Cosmos defeat Jersey Express, they’ll host New York City FC in Fourth Round play on June 16. Should the Express be victorious, they’ll visit New York City FC on the same day.

Game #10: Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United FC (NASL)
7 p.m. CT; Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.
Saint Louis FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Saint Louis FC Overall Record: 1-0-0
Minnesota United FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 4 (2012, 2014; Fourth Round)
Minnesota United FC Overall Record: 4-3-0

  • Saint Louis FC used goals from Bryan Gaul and Jeremie Lynch to earn a 2-1 extra time win over Des Moines Menace in the club’s Open Cup debut on May 20.
  • Minnesota United FC returns for their fifth tournament appearance after dispatching Des Moines 1-0 in Third Round play before falling to Sporting KC 2-0 in the Fourth Round in 2014.
  • Minnesota United come into the match following a 3-2 home win over Jacksonville Armada on Saturday. The win pushed United into second place in the NASL Spring table where they have a 3-1-3 record (12 points).
  • Saint Louis FC most recently come off a wild 3-3 draw with Louisville City FC on May 24. The result has Saint Louis sitting eighth, one point out of a USL Eastern Conference playoff spot, with a 3-3-2 record (11 points).
  • The winner of the match will pay a Fourth Round visit to Sporting KC on June 16 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Game #11: Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) vs. Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL)
7:05 p.m. CT; ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Okla.
Tulsa Roughnecks Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Tulsa Roughnecks Overall Record: 1-0-0
Oklahoma City Energy FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2014; Third Round)
Oklahoma City Energy FC Overall Record: 2-1-0

  • Tulsa used Chad Bond’s 58th minute goal to defeat Seacoast United 1-0 in Second Round play on May 20.
  • Oklahoma City Energy advanced to the Third Round thanks to a brace from Kyle Greig and another goal from Casey Townsend in a 3-1 away defeat of Midland/Odessa Sockers on May 20.
  • Tulsa comes off of a 1-0 away win over the Austin Aztex on May 24 while Energy FC earned a 2-1 away victory over Sacramento Republic FC on May 23.
  • Both sides sit just below the red playoff line in the USL’s Western Conference with Energy FC seventh (3-2-3; 12 points) and the Roughnecks in 10th (3-4-2; 11 points).
  • The winner of the match will move on to face FC Dallas in Fourth Round play at TCU Soccer Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on June 16.

Game #12: San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) vs. Austin Aztex (USL)
7:30 p.m. CT; Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Scorpions Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 3 (2012, 2014; Fourth Round)
San Antonio Scorpions Overall Record: 3-2-1
Austin Aztex Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2013, 2014; Second Round)
Austin Aztex Overall Record: 2-1-1

  • Austin used goals from Julio Cuero and Brian Fekete to earn a 2-0 victory over the Laredo Heat in Second Round play on May 20.
  • San Antonio makes their fourth U.S. Open Cup appearance following their 2014 run where they defeated USASA side NTX Rayados 4-2 before falling 2-0 to FC Dallas in the Fourth Round.
  • Most recently, Austin fell 1-0 to the Tulsa Roughnecks in USL play on May 24. The result leaves the Aztex in sixth place in the USL’s Western Conference with a 4-5-1 record (13 points).
  • San Antonio comes into the match following a 3-0 away defeat to the New York Cosmos on May 23. The Scorpions sit 10th in the NASL Spring table with a 2-4-1 record (7 points).
  • The winner of the match will move on to a Fourth Round date with the Houston Dynamo on a date to be determined.

Game #13: Real Monarchs SLC (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
7 p.m. MT; Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah
Real Monarchs SLC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Real Monarchs SLC Overall Record: 1-0-0
Colorado Springs Switchbacks Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Colorado Springs Switchbacks Overall Record: 1-0-0

  • Both sides made their U.S. Open Cup debuts on May 20.
  • Real Monarchs SLC used Ricardo Velazco’s 76th minute strike to take a 1-0 away victory at the Long Island Rough Riders.
  • Marty Maybin’s first half brace was enough for Colorado Springs to hold on for a 2-1 home win over USSSA side Harpo’s FC.
  • Colorado Springs will be without the services of Rony Argueta who was shown a red card in the team’s 2-1 win over Harpo’s FC on May 20.
  • Real Monarchs enter the match following a 2-1 away defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps 2 on May 24, leaving them 12th in the USL’s Western Conference with a 1-6-3 record (6 points)
  • Colorado Springs earned the biggest win of their short history, downing Arizona United SC 5-0 on May 23. The win moved the Switchbacks to eighth in the USL’s Western Conference with a 4-4-0 record (12 points).
  • The winner of the match will advance to a Fourth Round match away to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on June 16.

Game #14: Ventura County Fusion (PDL) vs. PSA Elite (USASA)
7 p.m. PT; Ventura College Sportsplex in Ventura, Calif.
Ventura County Fusion Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 5 (2012; Third Round)
Ventura County Fusion Overall Record: 6-4-2
PSA Elite Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 2 (2014; Fourth Round)
PSA Elite Overall Record: 4-3-2

  • Of 15 Third Round games to be played on Wednesday, the only one that pits two amateur teams against each other.
  • Ventura County Fusion used Matt La Grassa’s first half strike and Abu Danladi’s 91st minute winner to down LA Galaxy II 2-1 in Second Round play on May 20. The win helped the Fusion equal their best Open Cup placement, which came in 2012.
  • Prior to that victory, the Fusion played to a 3-3 draw with Cal FC before dispatching the side on penalty kicks in First Round play on May 13.
  • PSA Elite advanced to the Third Round following a 7-1 thrashing of Golden State Misioneros (First Round) before goals from Michael Salazar and Mats Bjurman helped the side to a 2-1 Second Round upset of OC Blues on May 20.
  • PSA Elite will be without the services of Jamel Wallace who was shown a red card in the team’s victory over OC Blues on May 20.
  • Ventura County Fusion enter the match coming off a 1-0 victory over OC Blues U-23, moving the side to 2-2-0 in PDL play.
  • The winner of the match will advance to a Fourth Round game at the LA Galaxy on June 17 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Game #15: Sacramento Republic FC (USL) vs. Chula Vista FC (USASA)
7:30 p.m. PT; Bonney Field in Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento Republic FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: 1 (2014; Fourth Round)
Sacramento Republic FC Overall Record: 3-1-0
Chula Vista FC Previous Appearances/Best Finish: First appearance
Chula Vista FC Overall Record: 2-0-0

  • First-time U.S. Open Cup participant Chula Vista FC have become the new “darlings” of the tournament, following their First Round extra time 2-1 defeat of FC Tucson and 3-0 Second Round win away to USL side Arizona United SC.
  • Sacramento Republic FC returned to the tournament on May 20, using a hat trick from Thomas Stewart and extra goal from Gabe Gonzalez to see off NPSL side Sonoma County Sol 4-2 at Bonney Field.
  • USL (Division III) sides hold an all-time 45-9-3 record over teams representing the USASA in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • USASA teams are 2-0-0 against USL teams in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including Chula Vista’s 3-0 win over Arizona United SC.
  • Sacramento Republic enter Wednesday’s Third Round encounter following a 2-1 away defeat to the Oklahoma City Energy on May 23. Despite the loss, Sacramento sit second in the USL’s Western Conference with a 6-5-0 record (18 points).
  • The winner of the match will pay a Fourth Round visit to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on June 16 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

Sounders 2 vs. Timbers 2: USOC Third Round Match Adds New Layer to Cascadia Rivalry

The rivalry between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders is one of the most intense and historic in American soccer; starting in the days of the ill-fated North American Soccer League, returning to life in the A-League and USL, and carrying on today in Major League Soccer. On Wednesday evening, a new chapter in that rivalry will play out as the two clubs’ new USL sides, Portland Timbers 2 and Seattle Sounders 2, face off in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time.

Seattle Sounders 2 host Portland Timbers 2 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA on Wednesday, May 27th at 4:00 p.m. ET.

In the hearts of Timbers and Sounders fans, the Cup holds a special place. Since the teams’ USL era, the Timbers and Sounders have met in the U.S.’s oldest competition five times. Although the Timbers struck first, winning the 2005 meeting between the two teams, the Sounders would go on to win the next four in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2014.  The Sounders would go on to win the U.S. Open Cup in 2009, 2010, and 2014, as well as once more in 2011 when they did not face the Timbers.

The Timbers' and Sounders’ first teams will face off in the fourth round of the Open Cup in June, adding yet another layer to the clashes between the two clubs at every level. The Seattle Sounders will host the Portland Timbers at Starfire on Tuesday, June 16th at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The intensity of the matches between the two sides has always been evident in the play on the pitch. Few know the feeling of those early cup matches better than Andrew Gregor, one of the few players to have suited up for both clubs and one of even fewer to have played an Open Cup match for both.

“In a cup format, it is a win or go home sort of scenario,” says Gregor. "Usually you don’t have those sort of scenarios until playoffs. And so, earlier in the season, in the middle of the season, you are in this win or go home scenario in the cup, which brings an extra intensity; not to mention the standard rivalry that you have between Sounders and Timbers, so it makes for a very, very exciting game."

USOC 2004 Portland Timbers Cameron Knowles
Gregor, seen here playing for the then Division II Timbers, completed multiple stints with the Timbers in 2004 and 2007-08 as well as the Seattle Sounders in 1999-2000, 2001-02, and 2005-06.

With neither team willing to give an inch in their Cascadia derby matches, it should perhaps come as no surprise that in the five U.S. Open Cup matches between the Timbers and Sounders there have been red cards in four of them.

For Gregor, the possibility of a red card being shown is part and parcel of Open Cup matches. "I think tensions are going to fly either way, but there is that sort of thought of ‘you are not going to be a part of this competition any more if you don’t win.’"

Current Timbers first team assistant coach Cameron Knowles was red carded in the 2007 match between the two sides. Timbers’ starting midfielder Diego Chara was the most recent player to see red, getting sent off in the 2014 edition of the match up. 

Now an assistant coach with Timbers 2, Gregor is helping head coach Jay Vidovich prepare his side for Wednesday’s match. It will not be the first time that T2 and S2 have faced off; the two sides have already met twice in their maiden USL campaigns with S2 winning a narrow 2-1 victory at home in April, then coming to Portland this past Saturday and beating T2 2-0 on the road.

Saturday’s game in particular was a contentious one, with a trio of early yellow cards to T2 failing to keep the hotly contested match under control. As tempers flared after the match, T2 defender Harrison Delbridge was shown a red card of his own for dissent, paving the way for an intense Open Cup reunion.

USOC Timbers 2 assistant coach Andrew Gregor

After calling time on his professional playing career in 2009, Andrew Gregor rejoined the Portland Timbers as an assistant coach with the clubs USL Timbers 2 affiliate.

Looking forward to Wednesday, Gregor talked about T2’s approach to the upcoming match. “You are in a knockout competition; you do whatever you can to win that game. What matters is that we win that game and move on. That is kind of the unique aspect of the knockout competition side of it."

For both T2 and S2, the squads on hand are full of players with potential, being developed as possible future players for their respective first teams. Performances trump points for T2 in league play, according to Gregor, but not in a knockout match like this one.

Finding the balance between points and performance is less of a concern in the Open Cup. "In the knockout competition anything goes. You just want to win and move on,” Gregor says.

To anyone watching the matches between T2 and S2, it is clear that the rivalry between the two franchises is already extending down to the USL sides and both teams will certainly want to move on.

Herzog Adds Orlando City SC Defender Tyler Turner to U-23 MNT roster For Toulon Tournament

CHICAGO (May 26, 2015) - U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Andi Herzog has added Tyler Turner to the roster for the 2015 Toulon Tournament. The Orlando City SC defender will arrive in France on Wednesday, completing the 20-player squad.

The former U.S. U-18 captain and residency product had 20 appearances for the U-17 MNT. The 19-year-old right back has appeared in four matches for Orlando this season.

The United States will open play in the 43rd edition of the tournament against host France on May 27 (1 p.m. ET, beIN SPORT).


Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
February 6, 2013 MNT vs Honduras 1-2 L Estadio Olimpico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras 37,000 Dempsey
March 22, 2013 MNT vs Costa Rica 1-0 W Dick's Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo. 19,374 Dempsey
March 26, 2013 MNT vs Mexico 0-0 D Estadio Azteca; Mexico City, Mexico 85,500 --
June 7, 2013 MNT vs Jamaica 2-1 W National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica 12,130 Altidore, Evans
June 11, 2013 MNT vs Panama 2-0 W CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash. 40,847 Altidore, E. Johnson
June 18, 2013 MNT vs Honduras 1-0 W Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah 20,250 Altidore
September 6, 2013 MNT vs Costa Rica 1-3 L Estadio Nacional; San Jose, Costa Rica 35,000 Dempsey
September 10, 2013 MNT vs Mexico 2-0 W Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio 24,584 E. Johnson, Donovan
October 11, 2013 MNT vs Jamaica 2-0 W Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan. 18,467 Zusi, Altidore
October 15, 2013 MNT vs Panama 3-2 W Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama 18,254 Orozco, Zusi, Johannsson