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PREVIEW: @TartanDevilsFC #USOC2017 Quest Begins In Louisville #PghSoccer

Tartan Devils Oak Avalon FC (Amateur) vs Derby City Rovers (Premier Development League) 

download-2Wednesday, May 10
Woehrle Athletic Complex – Jeffersonville, IN
Kickoff – 7:30 p.m.
Game Updates: Follow on Twitter: @PghSoccerScribe


It’s a classic Open Cup match featuring two very different soccer teams and organizations with varying missions and purposes — but each represent the fabric of the cities that they represent.

And that’s what Open Cup competition is all about — isn’t it?

To add to the intrigue of this first round match-up — each team is seeking its first-ever win in the Open Cup.

This is the second ever appearance in the Open Cup for the Rovers (who lost in the first round in 2013, 3-0 to then USL side Dayton Dutch Lions), while it’s the first ever time that the Tartan Devils enter the tournament’s first round.

The rewards for winning this first round match would be pretty sweet for each team — another home game against a pro side, one of the best teams in second division United Soccer League – Louisville City FC.

For the Tartan Devils Oak Avalon, it would mean an opportunity to host a second round match at Highmark Stadium, and for the Derby City Rovers — it would be an incredible chance to host cross-town third-year franchise that’s been playing home games at Slugger Field.

The Derby City Rovers organization is a developmental program first and foremost while the Tartan Devils Oak Avalon are devoted to providing adult soccer playing opportunities.

Tartan Devils Oak Avalon feature some quality players who have had a taste of professional and top-level collegiate soccer successes — namely the MacKenzie brothers — Travis and Derek who played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds by way of Duquesne University and Chartiers Valley.   The team includes a number of local players who’ve played at WPIAL schools and top local programs.  For complete roster — see bottom of this page.

This group includes players in their mid-to-late 20s and even a few now in their 30s who have bonded through the success in local club competition in the past few years.  For some, it could be their last chance to play in the National spotlight, after they once played in College for local programs like Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris.

“It’s definitely special because all the guys are pretty much from here in Pittsburgh,” said MacKenzie.

“But a chance to go against a pro team — we wanted to play the Riverhounds, but Louisville is a good side — that’s definitely a big motivation to go get a win.”

On the flip side will be a typical developmental side in the Rovers filled with young players — many who still are playing in college or have recently finished college careers.

Thunderstorms are in the forecast in the Louisville area on Wednesday night, so hopefully there won’t be too many delays in action.

I am traveling with the Devils and will be in Jeffersonville, IN, to cover the game.  I will have updates throughout the game through my Twitter feed @pghsoccerscribe and will file  a post-game story here on Pittsburgh Soccer Report.


Here’s my feature story – “HARD NOSED TARTAN DEVILS OAK AVALON PRIMED FOR US OPEN CUP – about the local amateur team that was formed three years ago as an alliance of two clubs that competed in the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League.
After winning the GPSL title a couple of times, they had their first crack at U.S. Open Cup qualifying, but fell short in a road loss to Aromas Cafe F.C. in Fall 2015.   A year later in a rematch with Aromas Cafe F.C., the Pittsburgh crew found redemption in 3-1 win that punched their ticket to the U.S. Open Cup first round.
On Sunday, Tartan Devils Oak Avalon used a warm-up in GPSL action, beating local rivals, Plum, 4-0.
They have plenty of motivation, they’re confident and believe they can win.

“It’s exciting to have this opportunity,” said team vice captain, E.J. McCormick.  “We know it only takes one game, and we have goal in mind — to win and have a chance to host a game against a pro team right here in Pittsburgh,” said McCormick, eluding to a possible second round date against USL’s Louisville City FC on May 17 at Highmark Stadium.


The club was founded in the winter of 2010 to provide a platform for elite players from the Louisville area who sought to advance from the youth game to the professional ranks.
The club played its first match in the USL Premier Development League, in May 2011.  The PDL is a fourth division in the U.S. Soccer Pyramid.
The Tartan Devils Oak Avalon may have to watch a number of young, talented players including Kenny Doublette.
Doublette had an impressive collegiate career as he netted an impressive 23 goals and 13 assists, including 15 goals in his final 20 games for Southern New Hampshire who he helped to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship.
The Rovers have not played a game yet and have only begun to train together in the past week — and will begin its PDL schedule of games on Saturday.


This year, the winner will receive $250,000, a berth in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions’ League and have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in U.S. team sports. The runner-up will earn $60,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will take home a $15,000 cash prize.
An American champion has been crowned for 103 consecutive years dating back to 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.

First  Last   Pos HS (if WPIAL)   College Pro 
Daniel Braun Midfield 5 Thomas Jefferson  Robert Morris   
Andrew Kalas Defense 6  Norwin Pitt  
Erin McCormick Forward 8  Fox Chapel Pitt  
Samuel Luffy  Midfield 19  Central Catholic Pitt  
Zachary Varga Goal 1   Duquesne  
Derek MacKenzie Midfield 7  Char Valley Duquesne Riverhounds
Travis MacKenzie Forward 3  Char Valley Duquesne Riverhounds
Greg Annan Midfield 15   Duquesne  
Rob Heuler  Midfield 16 ?  Bethel Park Johns Hopkins   
Matt Fonagy  Defense 2  Cannon Mac  Robert Morris  
Justin Turnley  Defense 22  Beaver Robert Morris   
Ryan Brode  Defense 10    Pitt  
Tyler Vukoder Defense 11   College of Charleston  
Tyler Solis Forward 18    Robert Morris


John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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