Connecticut & El Paso Secure Spots in Open Cup Field as A-League & D3 Pro League Qualifying Nears Conclusion
El Paso clinched Group 8 without playing a match in qualifying over the weekend, as a 1-1 draw between the Tucson Fireballs and Arizona Sahuaros on Saturday allowed the Patriots to advance to the Open Cup's field of 36 teams.
The Rochester Raging Rhinos clinched first place in Group 2 with a 3-0 win over the Western Mass Pioneers on Saturday, though Rochester had already advanced by virtue of their A-League championship from last season. Likewise, the defending regular season champion New Jersey Stallions will represent the D3 Pro League in the field of 36 as the league's highest finishing team from 2000, though the Stallions went 0-5-1 in Group 3 qualifying.
In Group 6 action, the Atlanta Silverbacks failed to clinch a spot, falling 2-0 to the Richmond Kickers on Friday. The Nashville Metros now control that group's destiny - a win over the Greenville Lions on June 1 in the final match of Group 6 play will allow the Metros to advance, while a loss or draw would hand the group to Atlanta.
Group 5 will also conclude this week with four matches - each team playing twice. The Charleston Battery have the edge going into the weekend's matches, but the Charlotte Eagles are just three points back from their A-League colleagues. The Eagles host the Battery on Saturday in the final match of Group 5 qualifying.