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US Soccer

First-Year Legion Long on Open Cup Glory

When Jay Heaps was playing for the Miami Fusion and Tom Soehn for the Chicago Fire in the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, they could not have predicted they would be teaming up to prepare for the tournament in Birmingham, Alabama 19 years later.

Now, Heaps is president of the Birmingham Legion and Soehn the team’s head coach. And they are hoping their first-year team can continue their winning start in one of sport’s longest-running tournaments, after beating lively amateurs West Chester United Predators 4-1 in the Second Round of the U.S. Open Cup last week.


(Heaps was an Open Cup winner as a player before losing a Final as coach of the NE Revolution)

“We talk about the history of it,” Heaps said of the Open Cup. “You love the fact that if you win, you know you’ll be there forever.”

Heaps won the 2007 Cup as a starting defender for the New England Revolution (current Legion assistant coach Khano Smith played in midfield), a 3-2 decision over FC Dallas. As a coach, Heaps guided the Revolution to the 2016 finals, with Soehn as his top assistant, but this time, FC Dallas exacted revenge with a 4-2 win.

Winner as Player & Coach
Soehn can go Heaps one or two better, though, as he is among the few who have won the event as a player and coach: he was a member of title teams with the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) in 1997 and the Fire in 2000, and guided D.C. United to the ’09 title.

“I mean, to be honest, Jay was quite the competitor, he was one of those guys you loved to beat,” Soehn recalled. “So, if you asked me if we would be working together I would have said ‘no chance’. But when you meet him off the field, he is a great guy. We formed a bond and we see the game through the same lens, what we liked in a team, what makes a team. We clicked from the get-go and we’ve worked together for quite some time.”


(Heaps & Soehn have put together a Legion team with a number of former MLS players)

Soehn’s history with the Open Cup dates to when his father, Joseph, born in Romania of German descent, competed for the Chicago Kickers. “When I was growing up, the Chicago area had unbelievable teams and I’d be watching great soccer on the weekends,” Soehn said. “I grew up playing for the Kickers and the soccer club was my home. Their clubhouse was full of trophies back in the day.”

Soehn was a starting defender for the Dallas Burn team that won the U.S. Open Cup the first year MLS teams entered the competition, taking a penalty shootout victory over D.C. United. “It was a big deal for us,” Soehn said. “We were a league-owned team and we played D.C. United in the final, and at that point they were a perennial champion. And to be able to beat them in the final, which was played after the MLS Cup, so it was kind of the final game of the year, it was really cool.”

In 2000, Soehn came on as an 86th-minute substitute in a 2-1 victory over the Fusion at Soldier Field in Chicago. Hristo Stoitchkov’s 44th-minute goal opened the scoring and an 88th-minute Tyrone Marshall own-goal gave the Fire a 2-0 advantage before Welton cut the deficit in the 90th minute. Heaps was at right-back and current Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando started for then-coach Ray Hudson’s Fusion.

Cup Ups & Downs
The next year, Heaps was part of a mid-season trade to the Revolution, who were on the way to early elimination from MLS playoff contention. But the Revs proved to be a Cup contender, defeating the Columbus Crew in the quarterfinals and D.C. United in the semifinals on the way to a title date with the Galaxy. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks caused MLS to cancel games, and by the time the playoffs concluded with the Galaxy as MLS Cup champions, it was late October. The Revolution had not played a meaningful game since late August, so they were plenty rested and hoped to catch the Galaxy off guard in the Open Cup final on Oct. 27, 2001. But the Revolution lacked sharpness in the second half, squandered the lead, and lost, 2-1, on Danny Califf’s 92nd-minute golden goal at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.

By 2008, Soehn was coaching D.C. United, and he guided the Red & Black to a 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery in the Cup final at RFK Stadium. “There are different rewards when you’re playing,” Soehn said. “Obviously, you get the feeling of enjoyment because you’re on the field participating. As a coach, so much more work goes into it, you don’t realize it when you’re a player. I had been assistant coach in Chicago when we won it [in 2003] and it is a totally different reward for winning [as a coach].


(Heaps - standing, in white - in the 2007 Open Cup Final against FC Dallas)

“Bringing it up makes me reflect on it a little bit,” Soehn went on. “I’ve had really good experiences in the game, some you take for granted. But being with my peers and all the conversation, all the good times, I’m just thankful the game’s been really good to me.”

United’s ’08 campaign included a 3-1 Semifinal victory over a Revolution team that included Heaps. But Heaps was not in the lineup – he went out a winner, his final Open Cup match a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the 2007 final in Frisco, Texas.

“That was one of the strangest things because we had lost in that very stadium,” Heaps said of Revolution defeats in the 2005 and ’06 MLS Cup. “I had missed a penalty kick the year before and we were so close so many times. And with the U.S. Open Cup we got over the hump. We had lost two finals and there was no way we were going to lose this game.”

A Different Approach
Though the Legion leaders have plenty of experience in Cup play, they are approaching the competition differently this time. They started out as favorites, survived, and should now be considered underdogs on the road in the Third Round up against back-to-back and reigning USL Championship toppers Louisville City.  

“This is the first time we are entering this early,” Heaps said. “So you’re playing different types of teams. This is a difficult time for us because of injuries and also loan players are going back to their clubs, plus we can’t cup-tie our loan guys. So, we’re a little thin.” 

Thick or thin, the Legion — mid-table in USL league play for most of the season, so far — have an opportunity to build some crucial support, momentum and excitement via the Open Cup. A good long Cup run can paper over a lot of cracks, and make history – even for a first-year club.  

In any case, the Legion’s leaders are about to write another chapter in the long and storied history of the Open Cup. “It’s crazy,” Soehn said. “My father played in [the Open Cup] back then. A bunch of immigrants came over, some of them had played professional soccer in Germany, but there was nothing here so they played on amateur teams. I love to see what it’s turned into and it’s kept growing.”

[Lead Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe]

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U.S. Open Cup May 18, 2019
US Soccer

Mike Anhaeuser: It Can Be Done

Mike Anhaeuser’s been with the Charleston Battery for all 25 years of the club’s life – and he’s forgotten more about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup than most will ever know. ussoccer.com had the pleasure of sitting down for an animated, all-encompassing chat with the last coach to lead a non-Major League Soccer (MLS) team to the tournament Final. Among the topics open for discussion were that glorious run of 2008 and why it was “amazing and great and disappointing”, what the Open Cup means in Charleston, why hunger matters and why he thinks the time is right for a winner to come from below the top-tier for the first time in 20 years.

    ussoccer.com: Reaching the Final once, the semis twice and the quarters three times, the Charleston Battery seem to have a special bond with the Open Cup.
    Michael Anhaeuser: From back when I was playing [he was a midfielder with the club for three seasons before taking over as coach in 1999], from the beginning of the Charleston Battery 26 years ago in 1993, the Open Cup was something really high on the list. We wanted to compete for the title, not just make runs. It was our goal from the beginning to really go on and win it.


    (Anhaeuser was intense in his playing days for the Battery after earning All-American honors at Indiana)

    You can’t talk about the Battery and the Open Cup without talking about 2008, when you guys went all the way to the Final.
    MA: That year showcased and enforced the Cup as something really important at the club. We put a lot of onus on winning it. We had Lazo Alavanja [a former collegiate star at Indiana University, like Anhaeuser], Osvaldo Alonso [who went on to become a ten-year MLS vet with Seattle Sounders], Ian Fuller [Minnesota United assistant coach], Marco Reda [Canada international] and Randy Patterson [of New York Red Bulls and Trinidad & Tobago]. We had experienced guys. We had about five or six guys in the team that just had that pure winning mentality. You can’t overestimate what that means. It didn’t matter who we played against, they had the quality to compete and to win on the day. But we had the quality back then too. Oh yes we did.

    Is it harder these days for a non-MLS team to make a deep run in the Cup?
    MA: It was easier back then because you were probably only going to have to get past two, or maybe three, MLS teams. But now it’s more like four or five. It keeps getting harder and harder. We try to keep it at the same level here at the Battery and strive for success. I play a lot of my starters in the early rounds; not everyone does that. In the old days, MLS teams didn’t want a home game, so we got to play a lot at home. But it’s not like that any more. It’s another edge lost; it makes it that much harder

    Is it tough to find a balance between league play and Cup play with a USL Championship team?
    MA: Is it hard to find a balance? Yeah, definitely. When you have a smaller roster like we do it’s not ever easy to find the balance [laughs]. You’ve got games coming at you all the time. Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. You’re burning all the time. It’s nice to get a break, but it doesn’t always come and you have to find the balance between using some young guys and really pushing, really leaning, on your experienced players. If you pick up an injury – which happens when you’re playing a lot of games – then you’re scrambling. Then you have to shuffle your pack and improvise.

     
    (Anhaeuser's been with the Battery for 25 years - that's as long as there's been a Battery)

    Was there much scrambling and shuffling in 2008?
    MA:
    I was playing starters in the Cup from the beginning, putting a focus on it. I’d bring in new guys for the league games sometimes, rookies and guys without too much experience. You needed them, and you might lose some of those league games, but you have to prioritize in years like that. Those are special times and you have to recognize it. We had a lot of home games in 2008 [Just two of their six games were on the road that year]. That helps


    Does succeeding in the Open Cup require a special intensity?
    MA:
    I compare it to the NCAA [basketball] tournament. I think it’s like that in a lot of ways. It has the same feeling and the same intensity. It’s one-and-done. I’m a big fan of this. That format brings out something special. You need luck, sure, and a bit of quality on the day. We won many games on penalties in 2008. We beat Seattle in a shootout. You need all those things to fall into place, but it’s no different than Loyola-Chicago in the NCAA tournament a couple years ago. You have those guys people don’t know about and that’s important – you need those hungry guys trying to go higher.


    (Charleston's run to the 2008 Open Cup Final was the last time a non-MLS team went that far)

    Do your players today understand the meaning of those successes ten years ago?
    MA:
    It’s helped us here that we’ve had success in the Cup. It gets in their belly. I can show them what it’s like and that it can be done. They know it when they’re here. But all of that just helps a little – what’s really important is that we have to go out there and win now. That’s what really matters. The past and the tradition, that just helps us a little before the opening whistle.

    It’s obvious that the Open Cup has special meaning for you.
    MA:
    It’s not just me. For our club, the Open Cup is huge. I say that before the first game to my guys, “If you win this, you’re playing an MLS team.” It’s the first statement I make and I make sure my players know what I’m saying. I believed it as a player and I believe it as a coach: all players want to play the best. That’s a given. And MLS aren’t just throwing out reserve teams in the Cup. It’s changing and evolving. The Open Cup has taken two steps forward. The prize money is up – it’s 300,000 now to the winner and that’s a bump. One more sponsor here or there and it could be huge in American sports.

    You mentioned being hungry. How important is that in the Cup, as a team and as individuals?
    MA: You won’t get anything out of that unless you're hungry. Having guys who are hungry to show what they can do and to take the next step is huge. You’re putting yourself in the shop window in a big way as a player. It makes a big difference if a coach sees you first-hand instead of on tape – a massive difference.


    (A well of enthusiasm and soccer knowledge, Anhaeuser still gets involved in the nitty-gritty of training)

    That’s what happened with Osvaldo Sanchez, who was so impressive with Charleston and ended up signing with Seattle after you beat them in 2008.
    MA:
    Yeah, exactly. Our 2008 run was just the start for him and look what he’s gone on to achieve. We played in Seattle and we pushed them and beat them, and they signed him up just like that. You get seen in the Open Cup. It gives those guys a chance, so you have to be hungry because you don’t want to miss a chance.

    The Battery has been around for 25 years – first in the USISL, then the USISL Pro League and now in the United Soccer League (USL). How has the club changed in those years?
    MA:
    I treat the club the same way I did in my first year here. We were the Battery then and we’re the Battery now. We’re the same as we ever were as far as I’m concerned. We have the club and the history and things are expected of us here. People didn’t know us back then and then we had a little success and people wondered if we could carry it on. But now we have a lot of years behind us and we have a tradition.

    How much of that tradition is connected to the Open Cup?
    MA:
    A lot of it is connected to the Open Cup. It’s something special for us and for our players. Whether they’re rookies, or guys on loan from MLS, or our veterans. We’ve been there as a club. We have a chance to win it. I truly believe this and I try to pass it on every year. You have to believe it. You win and you move on. We have that always on our minds. Five games or something like that and you’re in the Final. Not in front of 4,000 people like it was in the past, but now you’re in front of 40,000 people maybe. That’s a big difference. We’re carrying on a tradition here and we don’t want to lose sight of that. We’re here and we’ve been here. But look what the Cup did for a club like FC Cincinnati in 2017 [the Ohio side went to the Semifinal and and are now a Major League Soccer franchise]. The same thing could happen for us. We want to be the best we can be as a club – and the Open Cup is an opportunity, every year, to win something.


    (The Battery have been crowned league champs - USISL & USL - Four times, with Anhaeuser as player or coach) 

    In the Open Cup, you go from being favorites to underdogs in weeks. Which do you prefer to be?
    MA:
    You try not to prepare the team differently no matter who you play. That’s what you try, anyway. But it’s difficult not to be aware of it when you’re playing an MLS team – when you’re up against a top-flight team you know it. You play in the first games against amateur teams and a few guys are getting their first starts. I’m nervous in those games when I put a new guy out there – because you’re expected to win. You lose, and it’s not a good feeling. It’s happened to us and, trust me, you don’t want it. It’s going to happen – it’s just the nature of the beast, but you want to do all you can to avoid it happening to you.

    With the tradition, the preparation and the hunger right, do you think something like what happened in 2008 could happen again?
    MA: We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but I do use that 2008 Final run as a motivation. We were a few bounces away from winning the Open Cup. We were in the Final at RFK against DC United – with all their tradition and talent – but we tied them up at 1-1. Then we went ahead, but the goal was called back for offside. It was only my third year as a head coach. It was a huge thing. We were right there.


    (Anhaeuser in action in one of his animated team talks)

    Is it the kind of thing you look back with disappointment or pride – or both?
    MA: It was very disappointing to lose, because you build up an expectation when you make it that far. When you compete so well and go so far, you‘re not happy just to make it there – we were unhappy that we lost. But we were there for a reason. It was amazing and great and disappointing. It’s easy for me to pass this feeling on to the players now because I still have that feeling in my belly. I’d love to get Charleston back there for the players of today. They’d never forget it. People out there might forget that we made it to the Final – but we won’t forget. Not here at the Battery. What we did was what is amazing about the Cup – we were a lower division team and we had a chance to win it. This is a for-real opportunity. It just takes one or two upsets here or there and you’re a champion.

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    U.S. Open Cup May 17, 2019
    US Soccer

    The Great Eight: Rd. 2: Soccer Soldiers, Old Ghosts & Lessons Learned

    Fans of the 106-year-old Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup live by its magic moments. And the Second Round of the 2019 competition tossed up a good few of those on May 14 and 15. Join ussoccer.com for a look back at eight moments of note from the 19 games, in which Florida’s Soccer Soldiers dreamed huge, teachers and students shared the Open Cup’s magic and Eric Wynalda battled his own past.

    The Old Ghosts of San Francisco
    Without Boxer Stadium, there’d be no Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. No Allianz Field in St. Paul. You’d have none of your gleaming, glittering tributes to the strides soccer’s made in America without this old ground. It was built in 1953 and it ain’t pretty. The grass is long and patched with dandelions. Weeds grow through the cracks in the concrete grandstand. It’s the oldest soccer-specific stadium in the country. A West Coast version of New York City’s Metropolitan Oval, it’s where the ghosts of American soccer’s past – its brawls and all slender glories – whisper and mingle with the here and now. Sure, the wind whips through Boxer and you’d better bundle up. But oh how she looks out over the rooftops of the City by the Bay. Sixty-three years after her opening, Boxer’s still hosting U.S. Open Cup games.

    Most recently on Boxer’s bumpy pitch, El Farolito, semi-pro strivers with history and pedigree, stretched the visiting pros from Fresno. The tackles were vicious. The play was slow, deliberate on that long grass. Skillful. One mistake was always going to decide it. In the end, El Farolito’s goalkeeper Luis Castro dropped the ball. It fell to the wrong foot. And that was that. Boxer Stadium doesn’t play favorites. She’s just a witness to what the game was, is and might become still.

    Wynalda’s Past, Present & Future
    Eric Wynalda knocked Cal FC out of the Open Cup. It was almost Biblical. He built that team of unknowns and left-behinds from greater LA into a unit, and on one given night in 2012, they took down the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. But before you tar and feather the man, Wynalda’s no sell-out. Not a chance. He’s still that same old avowed evangelist of the Open Cup, its underdogs and opportunities, the warm hand it puts on the shoulder of those who believe in impossible things. His current side, the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship, have something of the Bad News Bears about them. From Sammy Ochoa, still wily but paunchy and nearing the end, to fiery winger Pablo Cruz, one of six players Wynalda brought with him from Cal FC. The Lights wear garish neon and keep a pair of lovely llamas, Dolly and Dotty, as mascots. Hoopla aside, the Open Cup Second Round game played at Cashman Field in downtown Vegas, between Cal FC and Las Vegas Lights, was about as devoted to attack and style and fire, as any you’re likely to see.


    (Eric Wynalda fits right in with the eccentric Las Vegas Lights)

    When Eric Wynalda’s past and present met, we all hit the jackpot. What of his future, you ask? A date at that same old baseball stadium off the Strip against another amateur side, Orange County FC. They’re led by Wynalda’s old USA teammate Paul Caligiuri. Will we never escape the past?  

    Live By the Shootout…
    Des Moines Menace goalkeeper Jordan Bell rescued his team in the First Round. His psych-out head games upset Duluth FC. He leapt on the line and rattled the crossbar during that shootout last week. And it worked. But he ran out of mojo this time. He pressed his luck in front of that same goal where he tripped up the brittle Minnesotans. Against Saint Louis FC’s pros, Bell’s antics went stale. He had the air of a one-hit wonder playing that same old tune for old time’s sake. Was there anything at all written on the crib sheet he kept in his sock and consulted before every kick? Was it just an elaborate scam? If so, how delicious. The yellow card Bell earned may not be the first-ever shown in an Open Cup shootout, but you don’t see its ilk every day. He spent so much time and energy trying to get in the kickers’ heads, he forgot to make his saves. Bell got his hands to the first shot and should have kept it out. But on this night, he saved none while his counterpart – 18 year-old Patrick Schulte – was the one with the hot hands. The skinny youngster saved three of four before earning a big hug from his mom and grandma, who came out to watch their boy’s first pro start. 

    Teachers, Students & Open Cup Lessons
    Chas Wilson, a social studies teacher at West Chester Henderson High School in suburban PA, put his hand up in the air in celebration. He’d scored again for his West Chester Predators; this time against pros Birmingham Legion. It was only consolation, but it was a salute to all those landscapers, laborers and nine-to-fivers out there who still play the game because they love it. Because of the sheer joy of it. His hand went up in salute to his students, who he teaches from beyond the classroom in this 106-year-old soccer tournament. They’re simple, enduring lessons. Chase your dreams, his hand in the air seemed to say. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give up. Not all victories are wins.

    Elsewhere, in Nashville, Kobe Perez of South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 missed his high school graduation to play in an Open Cup game. He lost, 2-3 to pro side Nashville SC. And he missed out on those caps and gowns – that special, bittersweet day of hugs and endings and new beginnings. Let’s not worry, though, for what’s won and lost isn’t always tallied on the scoreboard.

    Cup Dreams & Soccer Soldiers
    It wasn’t possible. It must have been a dream. The whole thing. It was a nightmare back-pass for Charlotte Independence defender Hassan Ndam, who laid the ball into the loose space between himself and his keeper. It was a dream-come-true for Valentin Sabella, who raced onto the gift, around the ‘keeper and slotted home. There were just two minutes left in extra-time. The score was 2-2 now and penalties loomed. “What is happening?!” ESPN+ analyst Bobby Warshaw shouted in wonder and despair and disbelief. What was happening was the essence of the Open Cup. Florida’s amateur Soccer Soldiers, down a man for many minutes, were on their way to beating their second pro team in the 2019 tournament and capturing our imagination with their cheek and style and guts. “This makes no sense!” Warshaw, who knew the Open Cup as a player, screamed as the Soccer Soldiers moved on against all logic and heavy odds. He sounded almost resigned by the end. “This is the Open Cup,” he conceded, his voice withered from the excitement. It is indeed. More, please.  

     

    Soccer in a Baseball World
    You can still see the shadow of the pitcher’s mound. It stains the grass like a shipwreck under the water. A vestigial infield cuts through the pitch’s flank like a wound. There’s something awkward about these abandoned baseball stadiums – Cashman in Vegas, the one in El Paso, Memphis and Al Lang Stadium in Tampa Bay. But these old ghosts have something to say. Something mournful about where we’ve been as a country and where we’re heading. Like the train whistles that sounded from passing engines in Pittsburgh, on the Monongahela River, beside the magnificent soccer specific home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. And in Little Rock in Arkansas, which saw its first Open Cup game since the tournament began in 1914. These are the sounds and sights of the last century, one where the Open Cup survived, awkwardly at times. Is it also a glimpse of soccer’s bright future in these United States?

    Too Close to Call
    It was just too close in Orange County. Literally. When you say Orange County SC and Orange County FC out loud on TV, the two names sound exactly the same. So the ESPN+ commentators came up with a system: Orange County Blues and Orange County Blacks. An elegant workaround and one suited to the Open Cup’s spirit of improvisation. These two teams, one amateur and one pro, could not be separated. After 90 minutes, they were too close, tangled at 2-2. After 120 minutes, still they were tied. It seemed fitting, in the end, for the fate of two teams separated by just one single letter of the alphabet, who share the same stadium every weekend, to be decided by a shootout. And the amateurs won.

    A Fond Farewell
    In among the upsets and the dreams, we’d be wrong not to spare a thought for those clubs who took their leave. With every rise, a fall – this is the Open Cup after all. There’s no winner without a loser. No draws here. Nothing to share. You NTX Rayados, we’re sad you’re gone. You showed us your style and class, and even cancelled flights and flat tires couldn’t stop you. West Chester’s Predators, you ruled the road and are closer for it. The Villages, the Buffalo from Central Florida, we’re sure we’ll see you again too. Cal FC’s Richie Menjivar and Danny Barrera – those heroes of 2012 – you remind us that anything is possible in the Open Cup. For those we’ve lost, know you’ve all done your part.

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    U.S. Open Cup May 16, 2019
    US Soccer

    Pair of Cupsets Highlight Final Night of 2019 U.S. Open Cup Second Round

    CHICAGO (May 15, 2019) – Two Cupsets by Forward Madison FC (USL League One) and Orange County FC (NPSL) highlighted the night as Division II (USL Championship) professional teams largely took care of business in the Second Round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s national championship.

    With the completion of the Second Round, 22 teams (19 from USL Championship, one from USL League One, and two Open Division amateurs) move on to face one another in the Third Round on May 28-29. There they will vie for the right to face Division I (Major League Soccer) competition in the Fourth Round scheduled for June 12. All the Third and Fourth Round games will be available to watch on ESPN+.

    After the Third Round concludes, U.S. Soccer will conduct the Fourth Round Draw on Thursday, May 30 to determine the pairings with MLS clubs.

    While USL Championship teams went 15-1-3 (1-2 in PKs) in their 19 games against lower opposition in the Second Round, amateurs Florida Soccer Soldiers and Orange County FC slipped past the pros on PKs. Soccer Soldiers defeated Miami FC on Tuesday night, while OCFC ousted similarly named neighbors Orange County SC this evening. Now the two amateur sides will hope one more cupset carries not just the reward of facing an MLS side in the Fourth Round but the $25,000 prize awarded to the team to advance furthest from each lower division.

    With their cupset of El Paso Locomotive, Forward Madison FC claimed the $25k prize as the Division III (USL League One) team to advance furthest in the competition as well as the distinction of being the only lower league team to beat a higher division opponent in regulation. 

    SECOND ROUND RECAPS:
    Indy Eleven (USL Championship) 1, Lansing Ignite FC (USL League One) 0
    Despite playing the final 73 minutes with 10 men, Indy Eleven managed to squeak past Lansing Ignite FC, 1-0, to win its first Open Cup match since 2016, at Sellick Bowl at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. Thomas Enevoldsen scored the game-winner on his only opportunity of the game in the 57th minute. Tyler Gibson initiated the scoring sequence by sending a long ball to Patrick Barrett on the right wing. Barrett flicked the ball to Enevoldsen, who headed a powerful shot off goalkeeper Kyle Ihn’s hands and into the net. 

    Indy Eleven played down a man after goalkeeper Evan Newton was red carded for a foul during a collision with an onrushing Elma Nfor in the 17th minute. Newton originally was awarded a yellow card, but then was given his marching orders. Steeve Saint-Duc replaced NFor, who needed medical treatment before he was taken off on a stretcher. Jordan Farr took over for Indy in goal, acquitting himself well to seal the clean sheet. Indy Eleven will meet Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in a Third Round affair at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. on May 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

    North Carolina FC (USL Championship) 4, Richmond Kickers 1 (USL League One)
    North Carolina FC snapped a 1-1 deadlock with a three-goal barrage in the second half en route to a 4-1 triumph over the Richmond Kickers as forward Robert Kristo secured a brace at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Andre Fortune gave the hosts the lead in the 16th minute as he powered a shot from atop the penalty area into the right corner. Richmond, however, equalized behind a 34th-minute score from Wahab Ackwei. The final 45 minutes was all North Carolina FC, which struck for three goals during an 18-minute span. Kristo lifted North Carolina into a 2-1 lead, heading in Caleb Duvernay's left-wing cross from seven yards in the 52nd minute before converting a penalty kick nine minutes later. Malawi international Yamikani Chester, who is on loan from MFK Vyškov (Czech Republic) tallied off a Manny Perez feed to give North Carolina FC the 4-1 win. North Carolina FC will host the upstart amateur-side Florida Soccer Soldiers (Fla.), who produced a cupset of the Charlotte Independence on Tuesday night, in the Third Round at Koka Booth Field 2 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on May 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

    Louisville City FC (USL Championship) 3, Reading United AC (USL League Two) 0
    Louisville City FC made fast work of Reading United AC, striking twice inside of 20 minutes as the USL Championship team recorded a 3-0 win at Lynn Stadium on the University of Louisville campus in Louisville, Ken. Abdou Thiam struck for the first goal in the 12th minute as he tapped in Niall McCabe's pin-point feed from the right flank from point-blank range for a 1-0 Louisville City advantage. After some nifty passing, George Davis IV found himself with loads of space on the left side and took the ball toward the net before tucking it home in the 19th minute. Sunny Jane, a graduate of Trinity High School in Louisville, put a bow on the game with a 22-yard free kick to the near left corner in the 88th minute. Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard registered the shutout. In a clash of two USL Championship sides, Louisville City FC will welcome Birmingham Legion FC to Lynn Stadium in a Third Round match-up on May 29 at 7 p.m. ET

    Memphis 901 FC (USL Championship) 3, New York Red Red Bulls U23 (USL League Two) 1
    Right back Josh Morton made the most of his first start of the season, recording a brace for Memphis 901 FC, which won its first Open Cup game. Memphis recorded a 3-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls U23 squad at AutoZone Park. The visitors gave Memphis a scare by drawing first blood in the fifth minute on a goal by JP Marin. Memphis, however, got back on track as Cam Lindley found the range only three minutes later on a 22-yard free kick to the near left post. Morton's first goal of the evening snapped the tie in the 26th minute when he overlapped and forced the goalkeeper to come out of the net before tucking the ball home. He added an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, cashing in on a Lindley corner kick with a header from four yards. Memphis 901 FC will welcome Hartford Athletic (USL Championship) in a Third Round encounter at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis, Tenn. on May 29 at 8 p.m. ET.

    Birmingham Legion FC 4 (USL Championship), West Chester Predators (Pa.) 1
    Eddie Opoku enjoyed a dream performance for Birmingham Legion FC, scoring a goal, assisting on two others and being fouled in the box to set up a penalty kick in Birmingham Legion FC's 4-1 triumph over the amateur West Chester Predators at BBVA Compass Field in Birmingham, Ala. Chandler Hoffman gave the host side the lead in the 21st minute after Opoku was taken down in the box. Hoffman converted a penalty, firing his attempt to the lower right corner. In the 36th minute, it was Femi Hollinger-Janzen's turn to celebrate as he headed home an Opoku corner kick for a two-goal margin. 

    Three minutes into the second half Birmingham goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg made sure that lead stood up as he made two saves on bang-bang plays only seconds apart, denying a free kick and then a rebound. Spangenberg's teammates came back to reward him as Prosper Kasim found the net in the 51st minute for a 3-0 advantage off an Opoku feed from the left wing. Opoku got his deserved goal in the 89th minute. After a fine run down the right side, he entered the penalty area, danced around the penalty area to find the right slot before scoring from seven goals in the 89th minute. Birmingham will visit Louisville City FC in the third round at Lynn Stadium in Louisville, Ken. on May 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

    Greenville Triumph SC (USL League One) 1, Charleston Battery (USL Championship) 2
    There was little doubt that Ian Svantesson was the man of the hour for the Charleston Battery. Actually, make the one of the 12 minutes as he performed some goal-scoring heroics during the final 12 minutes of the match to lift the Battery to a dramatic 2-1 victory over Greenville Triumph SC at Legacy Early College Field in Greenville, S.C. Coached by former U.S. international captain and MLS standout John Harkes, Greenville Triumph SC was thinking of pulling off a cupset after Max Hemmings had given the hosts the lead with his first goal in a Triumph SC uniform on the half hour, putting in an Aaron Walker corner kick. Svantesson, however, had other plans, making the most of his opportunities in the waning moments. First, he tallied from close range in the 79th minute off a right-wing feed. A minute into stoppage time, he topped himself. Running down the ball on the right flank, Svantesson beat his man and fired a shot just as he got to the end line and it deflected off goalkeeper Dallas Jaye into the net for the game-winner. The Battery moved on to meet fellow USL Championship side Nashville SC in the third round at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on May 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

    Des Moines Menace (USL League Two) 1, Saint Louis FC (USL Championship) 1 (1-3 PKs)
    Eighteen-year-old goalkeeper Patrick Schulte made his first professional start for Saint Louis FC, but it was what he accomplished at the end of the match against the Des Moines Menace that turned heads. Schulte made three saves in the shootout to boost the Missouri side to a 3-1 penalty-kick tie-breaker win after the teams played to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes in a game that saw three players red carded at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines, Iowa. Schulte dove to his left to deny Joshua Coan and Nick Perea on the Menace's first and third attempts, respectively, before sprawling to his right to stop Gaoussou Bayakoyo for his final save. Russell Cericone converted the game-winning penalty. All the goal-scoring occurred in the first half as Kyle Greig headed in an Austin Jepson corner kick for the visiting side in the 13th minute before Perea knotted things up on a penalty kick in the 38th minute. The match was punctuated by cards, lots of cards. Besides the reds, dozen yellow cards were awarded, including one to Des Moines keeper Jordan Bell during the shootout. Des Moines went down to 10 men when Koray Easterling picked up his second yellow of the match during regulation stoppage time. The sides were evened up in the second extratime when Saint Louis' Albert Dikwa was given the heave-ho for his second yellow in the 114th minute. The Menace, however, went down to nine men when it lost one of his best penalty takers, Gerber Chavez, for his second yellow on an ill-advised challenge on Schulte at midfield four minutes into injury time in the second extratime. Saint Louis plays Forward Madison FC at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in the third round on May 29 at 8 p.m. ET.

    Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL Championship) 1, FC Denver (Colo.) 0
    Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC needed only one goal to dispatch FC Denver at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, Colo. Kwasi Donsu drilled a 30-yard shot into the bottom left corner late in the first half and the hosts made sure that goal stood up. Switchbacks FC snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-5-2), dating back to a 1-0 home win over San Antonio FC on March 23. Head coach Steve Trittschuh, a former U.S. international who played in the 1990 World Cup, hoped that the victory will bolster his team to success in league play at New Mexico United on Saturday. "Let's hope we can carry that confidence into this weekend," he said. "These games aren't easy. You look at the scores of the teams that played a lower division team, it's hard. It's hard to play teams like that. They were very direct and so we had to battle tonight. A win's a win, so hopefully we take that into this next weekend." The Switchbacks will either travel to Phoenix Rising FC or host New Mexico United in the ThirdRround on May 29, pending the result of their second-round match.

    El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship) 0, Forward Madison FC (USL League One) 3
    During a seven-minute span in the opening half, Forward Madison FC (USL League One) took control of the game by finding the net twice en route to a surprising 3-0 victory over El Paso Locomotive FC at Southwest University Ballpark in El Paso, Texas. Jiro Barriga Toyama, off an assist by Paulo Jr., gave the visitors all the scoring they needed in the 19th minute. Toyama also set up Christian Diaz's score in the 26th minute. Jeff Michaud completed the rout with Madison's third goal in the 76th minute. Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre was credited with the clean sheet. Forward Madison will play Saint Louis FC, shootout winners over the Des Moines Menace on Wednesday night, at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo. on May 29 at 8 p.m. ET.

    Phoenix Rising FC (USLC) 1, New Mexico United (USLC) 1, 2-2 AET (3-4 PKs)
    New Mexico United won its first U.S. Open Cup game as a club by downing desert rivals Phoenix Rising 4-3 on PKs in a back-and-fourth game that featured a top class display from both goalkeepers. Ultimately, it was United ‘keeper Cody Mizell who made the crucial stop on Rising’s AJ Cochran in the final round of the penalty shoot out to put New Mexico through to the Third Round. Junior Flemmings had given Phoenix the lead from the penalty mark in the 65th minute but a pair of goals from Devon Sandoval in the 79 and 95th minutes looked to have secured the comeback for United. But befitting the hotly contested match in which both teams refused to give an inch, Adam Jahn came off the bench to notch the equalizer for Phoenix in the 101st minute. With both ‘keepers standing tall to force the game into penalties, it was Mizell who came up with one more save than his counterpart Carl Woszczynski to send New Mexico to a Third Round date with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on May 29 in the Centennial State.

    El Farlolito (NPSL) 0, Fresno FC (USL) 1
    Second-half substitute Qudus Lawal took advantage of a mistake by goalkeeper Luis Castro to score the only goal of the match in the 75th minute to boost Fresno FC to a 1-0 win over El Farolito at historic Boxer Stadium in downtown San Francisco, Calif. Lawal, a forward, slipped the ball into the net from close range after Castro dropped a right-wing feed in front of the net. El Farlolito, which defeated Academica SC (Calif.), 2-1, last week, could not conjure up the magic to pull off a cupset this time around. Fresno goalkeeper Sam Howard preserved the shutout by tipping Carlos Montes' 84th-minute blast just over the crossbar. Jemal Johnson almost gave the visitors the lead in the 35th minute, but his 10-yard shot bounded off the crossbar. El Farolito's Starting XI included former Panama national team midfielder Aramis Haywood, 34, who made five international appearances and participated in the 2011 Concacaf Gold Cup. The game kicked off at 2:30 p.m. PT instead of at night because the stadium did not have lights. Fresno FC will meet another USL Championship side, Sacramento Republic FC, in the Third Round at Papa Murphy's Park in Sacramento, Calif. on May 29 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

    Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) 1, Reno 1868 FC (USLC) 0
    After taking a 4-1 loss to their easterly neighbors at the weekend in league play, Sacramento Republic exacted some revenge with a 1-0 U.S. Open Cup win against Reno 1868 at Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento. An evenly played affair saw the teams nearly split possession while accumulating close to the same number of passes, tackles and total shots. But the one stat firmly in Sacramento’s favor was shots on goal, which ultimately told in such a close match when Sam Werner grabbed the late winner in the 82nd minute to send the California club to Third Round for a date with Fresno FC on May 29 in Sacramento.

    Orange County SC (USLC) 2, Orange County FC (NPSL) 2, (3-5 PKs)
    The opening exchanges were even between these two teams who play out of the same stadium and whose names are separated by just one letter. Orange County SC, the full pros from the USL Championship, only took a lead in the 13th minute because of a blunder in the OCFC rearguard – when Joshua Davis headed an Aodhan Quinn cross from the left into his own net from an awkward position. From that set-back, Orange County FC grew into the game and went on the hunt for an equalizer. They got it after 27 minutes, when Dakota Collins slotted home a rebound from a Joshua Bynoe shot to cap off a magnificent lightning counter-attack. Orange County SC put heavy pressure on the NPSL amateurs for virtually the whole of the second half and when Darwin Jones put OCSC up with a header in the 87th minute, it looked like they’d sealed the deal. But Ryan Holland, OCFC’s English-born center-back, had other ideas. He scored two minutes into stoppage time to force an extra-time session that threatened a winner at both ends. However, this game – one destined to become a classic derby – needed a penalty shootout to decide a winner. In the end, OCFC won the night scoring five to OCSC’s three from the spot and they now move on to face Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights in the Third Round.

    Second Round Results

    Northeast Region

    Date

    Game (home team listed first)

    Result

    Venue

    May 14

    Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USLC) vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (USLL2)

    3-0

    Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

    May 14

    Hartford Athletic (USLC) vs. New York Cosmos B (NPSL)

    2-1

    Al-Marzook Field (Univ. of Hartford); Hartford, Conn.

    May 15

    Indy Eleven (USLC) vs. Lansing Ignite FC (USLL1)

    1-0

    Sellick Bowl (Butler Univ.); Indianapolis, Ind.

    May 15

    North Carolina FC (USLC) vs. Richmond Kickers (USLL1)

    4-1

    Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

    May 15

    Louisville City FC (USLC) vs. Reading United AC (USLL2)

    3-0

    Lynn Stadium (Univ. of Louisville); Louisville, Ky.

    May 15

    Memphis 901 FC (USLC) vs. New York Red Bulls U23 (USLL2)

    3-1

    AutoZone Park; Memphis, Tenn.

    May 15

    Birmingham Legion FC (USLC) vs. West Chester United (Pa.)

    4-1

    BBVA Compass Field; Birmingham, Ala.

    Southeast Region

    Date

    Game (home team listed first)

    Result

    Venue

    May 14

    Charlotte Independence (USLC) vs. Florida Soccer Soldiers (Fla.)

    1-1, 2-2 AET (4-5 PKs)

    Mecklenburg County Sportsplex; Matthews, N.C.

    May 14

    Tampa Bay Rowdies (USLC) vs. The Villages SC (USLL2)

    4-1

    Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla.

    May 14

    Nashville SC (USLC) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 (USLL2)

    3-2

    Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium (Middle Tennessee State Univ.); Murfreesboro, Tenn.

    May 15

    Greenville Triumph SC (USLL1) vs. Charleston Battery (USLC)

    1-2

    Legacy Early College Field; Greenville, S.C.

    Central Region

    Date

    Game (home team listed first)

    Result

    Venue

    May 14

    OKC Energy FC (USLC) vs. NTX Rayados (Texas)

    3-1

    John Crain Field (Univ. of Oklahoma); Norman, Okla.

    May 14

    Austin Bold FC (USLC) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks (USLC)

    2-0

    Bold Stadium; Del Valle, Texas

    May 14

    San Antonio FC (USLC) vs. Laredo Heat SC (NPSL)

    2-0

    Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas

    May 15

    Des Moines Menace (USLL2) vs. Saint Louis FC (USLC)

    1-1, 1-1 AET (1-3 PKs)

    Cownie Soccer Park; Des Moines, Iowa

    May 15

    Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USLC) vs. FC Denver (Colo.)

    1-0

    Weidner Field; Colorado Springs, Colo.

    May 15

    El Paso Locomotive FC (USLC) vs. Forward Madison FC (USLL1)

    0-3

    Southwest University Ballpark; El Paso, Texas

    May 15

    Phoenix Rising FC (USLC) vs. New Mexico United (USLC)

    1-1, 2-2 AET (3-4 PKs)

    Casino Arizona Field; Tempe, Ariz.

    West Region

    Date

    Game (home team listed first)

    Result

    Venue

    May 14

    Las Vegas Lights FC (USLC) vs. Cal FC (Calif.)

    2-0

    Cashman Field; Las Vegas, Nev.

    May 15

    El Farolito (NPSL) vs. Fresno FC (USLC)

    0-1

    Boxer Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.

    May 15

    Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) vs. Reno 1868 FC (USLC)

    1-0

    Papa Murphy's Park; Sacramento, Calif.

    May 15

    Orange County SC (USLC) vs. Orange County FC (NPSL)

    2-2, 2-2 AET (3-5 PKs)

    Orange County Great Park – Championship Soccer Stadium; Irvine, Calif.

    Third Round Schedule

    Date

    Game (home team listed first)

    Time

    Venue

    May 28*

    OKC Energy FC (USLC) vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (USLC)

    7:30 p.m. CT

    John Crain Field (Univ. of Oklahoma); Norman, Okla.

     

    May 29

    North Carolina FC (USLC) vs. Florida Soccer Soldiers (Fla.)

    7 p.m. ET

    Koka Booth (Field 2) at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

     

    May 29

    Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USLC) vs. Indy Eleven (USLC)

    7 p.m. ET

    Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

     

    May 29

    Louisville City FC (USLC) vs. Birmingham Legion FC (USLC)

    7 p.m. ET

    Lynn Stadium (Univ. of Louisville); Louisville, Ky.

     

    May 29

    Saint Louis FC (USLC) vs. Forward Madison FC (USLL1)

    7 p.m. CT

    World Wide Technology Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.

     

    May 29

    Memphis 901 FC (USLC) vs. Hartford Athletic (USLC)

    7 p.m. CT

    Mike Rose Soccer Complex; Memphis, Tenn.

     

    May 29

    Nashville SC (USLC) vs. Charleston Battery (USLC)

    7:30 p.m. CT

    Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium (Middle Tennessee State Univ.); Murfreesboro, Tenn.

     

    May 29

    Austin Bold FC (USLC) vs. San Antonio FC (USLC)

    7:30 p.m. CT

    Bold Stadium; Del Valle, Texas

     

    May 29

    Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USLC) vs. New Mexico United (USLC)

    7 p.m. MDT

    Weidner Field; Colorado Springs, Colo.

     

    May 29

    Las Vegas Lights FC (USLC) vs. Orange County FC (NPSL)

    7:30 p.m. PT

    Cashman Field; Las Vegas, Nev.

     

    May 29

    Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) vs. Fresno FC (USLC)

    7:30 p.m. PT

    Papa Murphy's Park; Sacramento, Calif.

     

    * Date changed 5/15

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