First Round of 2024 U.S. Open Cup Kicks Off With Night of Thrilling Comebacks and Upsets

Vermont Green FC Wins Seven-goal Thriller in First Open Cup Game Contested in the Green Mountain State; Fellow Amateur Sides Miami United FC, FORO SC, and El Farolito FC Upset MLS NEXT Pro Sides; First Round Continues with 23 Contests Across Wednesday & Thursday, All Streamed Live at

CHICAGO (March 19, 2024) – The 109th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicked off with its unique flair for drama and history, highlighted by a long-awaited first in New England, a quartet of amateur teams scoring upsets, and six road sides advancing from the opening nine contests.

The dramatic first night ended with strong showings from Div. III pro teams in USL League 1 which went 3-1-0 and NISA which combined to go 2-0-0. Their fellow Div. III pros from MLS NEXT Pro went a combined 0-2-1 on the night with Portland Timbers 2, which earned the draw, still exiting the tournament after losing in penalty kicks.

Teams from the open divisions had mixed success with the lone UPSL squad in action securing the league a 1-0-0 start. Amateur sides from USL League 2 and USSSA split at 1-1-0, while NPSL clubs had a rough outing with only one club advacing out of the four that were in action. 

It didn’t take long for the Open Cup to burst to life, as a stunning free kick from nearly 30 yards by Miami United FC’s Jhon Pajoy just 12 minutes into the tournament’s opening affair set the tone not just for the visitors in their 1-0 upset win at Chattanooga FC of MLS NEXT Pro, but for a nine-game slate that saw 27 combined goals.

Vermont Green FC joined Miami on the early upset path via a dramatic 4-3 win over Lexington SC in the night’s only USL League One (Div. III) vs. USL League Two (Open Division) match-up. The amateur Bhoys of Green ensured the first-ever U.S. Open Cup match played in Vermont was one to remember, going up 4-1 early in the second half before holding off the hard-charging visitors at a jam-packed Virtue Field in Burlington.

That merely whetted the appetite for late-match drama, as Dallas-based FORO SC of the UPSL scored while down a man in the 123rd minute to level MLS NEXT Pro’s Austin FC II at 2-2 before emerging from penalty kicks by a 4-3 margin. Meanwhile, the lone West Coast kickoff was worth the wait, as San Francisco’s El Farolito (NPSL) evened its match against Timbers2 at 1-1 early in the second half before taking advantage of a Portland red card and scoring the eventual game-winner in the 68th minute to become the sixth road team to emerge victorious on opening night.

A trio of pro squads recorded 2-0 scorelines to advance in businesslike fashion, including USL League One’s Forward Madison FC home victory over the NPSL’s Duluth FC and road wins by NISA squads Savannah Clovers FC and Maryland Bobcats FC over Brave SC (USL League Two) and West Chester United FC (NPSL), respectively.

Another USL League One outfit, South Georgia Tormenta FC, had a tougher time at home, staving off FC America CFL Spurs from Orlando 1-0. What appeared to be the easiest result of opening night, a 4-1 away win by USL League One’s Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC at Tulsa Athletic, took some doing, with the home side keeping NoCo off the board until just before halftime.

The First Round continues Wednesday with 12 matches from coast to coast before coming to a close with another ten contests on Thursday. The 16 victors from the First Round will square off against each other in the Second Round from April 2-3, the draw for which will be held this Friday.

Every match of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be broadcast for fans to watch across the country. Fans can catch every thrilling moment of the First and Second Rounds via streaming broadcasts from U.S. Soccer (, USL (, and MLS ( Check for the full First Round schedule.

2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup First Round Results – Tuesday, March 19

Chattanooga Football Club (MLSNP)  0 : 1  Miami United FC (USSSA)
Brave SC (USLL2) 0 : 2  Savannah Clovers Football Club (NISA)
Forward Madison FC (USLL1) 2 : 0  Duluth FC (NPSL)
Vermont Green FC (USLL2) 4 : 3  Lexington Sporting Club (USLL1)
West Chester United SC (NPSL)  0 : 2  Maryland Bobcats FC (NISA)
South Georgia Tormenta FC (USLL1) 1 : 0  FC America CFL Spurs USSSA)
Tulsa Athletic (NPSL) 1 : 4  Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (USLL1)
Austin FC II (MLSNP)  2 : 2 (aet) FORO SC (UPSL) (FORO advances 4-3 in penalties)
Timbers2 (MLSNP) 1 : 2  El Farolito (NPSL)

2024 U.S. Open Cup First Round Match Capsules

Chattanooga Football Club (MLS NEXT Pro)  0 : 1  Miami United FC (Open/USSSA-Soccer)

The colorful amateurs out of South Florida – playing in their fifth Open Cup – wasted no time signaling their intentions on the road in Tennessee at a raucous Finley Stadium. The MLS NEXT Pro side hardly knew what hit them when, in only the 12th minute, Jhon Pajoy lined up a free-kick from 27 yards out and sent the ball sailing and dipping past goalkeeper Jonathan Burke. The Miamians, having silenced the crowd, then went on to control possession and dictate the patterns of play for the rest of the game. The closing minutes of the second half required some hanging on by the visitors, but in the end they signified the unpredictable nature of the tournament by starting the 2024 competition off with the first win by an amateur side against pro opposition.

Brave SC (USL League Two)  0 : 2  Savannah Clovers Football Club (NISA)

After suffering a defeat in its Open Cup debut last year, Savannah Clovers FC notched their first victory in the competition via a comprehensive road win in Central Florida. The sole game among the night’s early matches that didn’t feature a goal inside 15 minutes still yielded two first half finishes, starting in the 29th minute when Brave FC goalkeeper Yago Darub’s poor pass out of the back did him in. The ball was quickly recycled to the aptly named Roddy Green for a finish from the six that put Clovers FC in control. The home side would have been lucky to get into the break down just one, but Savannah midfielder Vladimir Jokic’s shot from 20 yards snuck just inside the right post three minutes deep into first half stoppage to provide cushion for a lead never under serious threat in the second half.

Forward Madison FC (USL League One)  2 : 0   Duluth FC (NPSL)

It was a breezy night for the home side at Breese Stevens Field, as a Christian Chaney brace paced a Forward Madison  FC squad on the front foot from the first whistle. The Flamingos’ opener came just nine minutes in as Chaney ran onto Jake Fuderer’s 60-yard ball and chipped stranded Duluth ‘keeper Ezekiel Foltz from just inside the area for a deserved early advantage. Madison’s big #9 doubled the lead in the 53th minute with his first-time short-hop finish of Panzani Sousa’s cross; and he came mere inches from finishing off a hat trick four minutes later only to miss just over the crossbar. With the win, Forward Madison moved its all-time Open Cup ledger to 4-3-0 dating back to their 2019 debut in the tournament, while Duluth was left wanting its first win in four tries (0W-2L-2D).

Vermont Green FC (USL League Two)  4 : 3  Lexington Sporting Club (USL League One)

If you're going to wait 109 years for your Open Cup debut – like the Green Mountain State of Vermont – this is the kind of first you want. It took Vermont Green FC’s Zach Barrett just five minutes to score when he was left alone at the back post to head home from the first corner kick of the game. And for a team that hasn’t trained much this year, Vermont Green FC of the all-amateur USL League Two made the most of their set pieces. Nick Lockermann headed home from another corner in the 10th minute before Lexington’s Issac Cano cut the deficit in half with an opportunistic finish in the 20th minute. Jacob Labovitz made it 3-1 for the home side right before the half with a goal from open play before Jake Ashford scored right after the break, to get Vermont Green back to scoring-from-corners ways (it was their third goal from three corner kicks) to make it 4-1. But Lexington Sporting Club – the USL League One pros from Kentucky – weren’t going down without a fight. Veteran striker Cameron Lancaster scored twice, once from a free kick (60’) and once from the run of play (78’), to make a nervy finish for the packed house of fans at Burlington’s Virtue Field. In the end, though, the lively Bhoys in Green wouldn’t be denied an historic 4-3 Open Cup victory – and a place in the Second Round. 

West Chester United SC (NPSL)  0 : 2  Maryland Bobcats FC (NISA)

Another game, another fast start, this time for a Maryland Bobcats FC side that held the better of play during the first 45 minutes on a chilly evening in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The NISA side went ahead in the 8th minute thanks to defender Elijah Amo doing the heavy lifting, his run down the right flank and subsequent cross rewarded by Darwin Espinal’s first-touch finish from eight yards. The Honduran striker who has made a home in American soccer circles over the last decade captured a brace on quite similar action in the 57th minute, this time Espinal collecting a square ball towards the top of the area before juking and slotting home with a sure left-footed finish. Bobcats FC goalkeeper Trevor Jackson worked hard to keep the clean sheet, his save on Travis Miller’s shot at the death of the first half stymying West Chester United FC’s momentum before several standout stops kept West Chester at bay throughout the second half.

South Georgia Tormenta FC (USL League One)  1 : 0  FC America CFL Spurs (Open/USSSA-Soccer)

Niko Akoto scored in the 5th minute and South Georgia Tormenta FC held on to defeat FC America CFL Spurs at Tormenta Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. FC America CFL Spurs had advanced out of Central Florida after scoring 13 goals across three victories over Florida-based teams during the local qualifying rounds. But, new Tormenta captain Conor Doyle, who represented the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Under-20 and Under-23 levels, made his first start for the club which ultimately found the winner on the night. Set up by a cross to the far post from Ajmeer Spengler, Akoto’s flying header shot into an open goal to give Tormenta an early lead that ultimately sends them to the Second Round.

Tulsa Athletic (NPSL)  1 : 4  Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (USL League One)

It never hurts to have a ‘Lucky’ on your side. Lucky Opara poked in the opening goal near halftime, and Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC poured in three more in the second half to defeat Tulsa Athletic at Hicks Park in Tulsa, Okla.

A high-arching corner kick to the back past by McCain Clark was headed back into the mix in front of goal before Opara – in a cloud of dust from all the thrashing – got his foot to it last to push across the line. Irvin Parra (50’), Marky Hernandez (65’) and Ethan Hoard (85’) all scored in the second half for Hailstorm FC, which defeated two Major League Soccer teams in last year’s tournament. Rio Mello scored from a free kick in the 88th minute for Tulsa Athletic, the reigning National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) champion.

Austin FC II (MLS NEXT Pro) 2 : 2 (aet) (3-4 PKs) FORO SC (Open/UPSL)

Even Cup ties between two amateur sides are a little bit bigger in Texas. Despite Austin FC II, the MLS NEXT Pro champion, scoring first in overtime, Foro SC, the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) champion, found a late equalizer and won the shootout at Parmer Field in Austin, Texas. Foro SC scored in the 39th minute and took a lead into halftime, but Jonathan Santillan pounced on a loose ball in the box to tie the match in the 53rd minute for Austin FC II. Substitute Sebastian Pineau picked up the go-ahead goal for Austin in the 105th minute, but Foro SC’s Kyle Bennett headed home just before the final whistle, drawing the match level and forcing a shootout. In the fifth round of penalties, Irvin Torres Jr. was stopped by Foro SC goalkeeper Gonzalo Martinez, and Bennett delivered for the open division side before peeling off in celebration with his teammates.

Timbers2 (MLS NEXT Pro)  1 : 2  El Farolito (NPSL)

A former Open Cup champ is tasting victory again. Dembor Benson scored the match-winner midway through the second half as El Farolito came from behind to defeat 10-man Timbers FC 2 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

A mistake by El Farolito goalkeeper Johan Lizarralde led to Keesean Ferdinand picking up the opening goal in the 39th minute for Timbers FC 2. The home side held a lead until the 52nd minute when a free kick was chipped back in front of goal for Yhoann Yabur to head down and score his second goal in two matches this season for El Farolito. Harry Neville, son of Portland Timbers FC (MLS) manager Phil Neville, was sent off shortly the restart for receiving a second yellow card, and Timbers FC 2 played short-handed over the final 35 minutes. El Farolito, the 1993 Open Cup champions, did not waste the advantage, and Benson was tidy with his header in the 68th minute to give the NPSL side the upset win.