It may be hard to argue that U.S. Open Cup is the most democratic of team sports events in the United States, and providing as much early round madness as the most famous of all U.S. sports knockout tournaments — NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.
After all, teams at every level from amateur to the pros compete in a single-elimination tournament.
This is a tournament where some teams featuring players who work regular jobs or still go to school have a chance to compete against, and in some cases, beat pro teams.
On Wednesday, U.S. Soccer announced the pairings for the First Round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The First Round will commence after a three-game Play-In Round May 5-6, which was added to accommodate three NASL franchises: Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC 2 and New York Cosmos B. The First Round will consist of one match on May 8 followed by 25 others played May 9 and feature teams from the Premier Development League (PDL), National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), and Open Division local qualifiers in head-to-head, single-elimination competition.
While no Pittsburgh teams will be in the first round, there is an outfit from Western PA in the tournament. Erie Commodores of NPSL will host the Rochester River Dogz at Gannon University on May 9. The River Dogz defeated Tartan Devils Oak Avalon in a qualifier in September.
The Second Round follows on May 16 and introduces 22 Division II professional clubs from the United Soccer League (USL) – including Riverhounds SC.
If you are curious about when, where and who the Riverhounds will be playing, due to the time that was required for arranging the Play-In Round, the announcement of the possible Second Round match-ups will now take place on April 11.
We’ve seen amateur and pro teams from Pittsburgh in recent years — and throughout the long-storied history of the US Open Cup competition. Yes, even Pittsburgh area teams have won the entire thing going back into the early parts of the 20th century.
In current times, we’ve had our share of US Open Cup thrills too. Last year, Tartan Devils Oak Avalon FC, an amateur side that completes in the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League, made it into the proper tournament after qualifying, and won a thrilling 1st round match against Premiere Development League entry Derby City Rovers on penalties.
Pittsburgh teams in recent Open Cup competition:
Tartan Devils FC (amateur)
2018: defeated in qualifying round by Rochester River Dogz.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)
2017 – lost in 2nd round to Chicago FC United (1-3)
2016 – lost in 2nd round to Landsdowne Bhoys FC (0-2)
2015 – advanced to 4th Round — beat WV Chaos (4-0), Tampa Bay Rowdies (1-0) as Rob Vincent hit the winning tally in the 90th minute, and lost to DC United (3-1, 2OT) — all games were played at Highmark Stadium
Fort Pitt Regiment (NWSL)
2015 – lost to WV Chaos (0-1)
Sporting Kansas City is the defending U.S. Open Cup champion, having earned the club’s fourth tournament title thanks to a 2-1 victory against New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20, 2017, at a sold-out Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
2018 U.S. Open Cup – Play-in and First Round Pairings
Here is schedule for the Play-In Round and the First Round of the 2018 US Open Cup:
PLAY-IN ROUND (Home team listed first)
|TBD||The Villages SC (PDL) vs. Jacksonville Armada (NPSL)||TBD||TBD|
|TBD||FC Miami City (PDL) vs. Miami FC 2 (NPSL)||TBD||TBD|
|May 6||Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) vs. New York Cosmos B (NPSL)||8 p.m. ET||Long Island University Brooklyn Athletic Facility; Brooklyn, N.Y.|
FIRST ROUND (Home team listed first)
|May 9||AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL) vs. Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL)||6 p.m. ET||Scicluna Field (Eastern Michigan Univ.); Ypsilanti, Mich.|
|May 9||Western Mass Pioneers (PDL) vs. Elm City Express (NPSL)||7 p.m. ET||Lusitano Stadium; Ludlow, Mass.|
|May 9||Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) vs. Kingston Stockade FC (NPSL)||7 p.m. ET||John Burns Park; Massapequa Park, N.Y.|
|May 9||FC Motown (NPSL) vs. New York Red Bulls U23 (PDL)||7 p.m. ET||Ranger Stadium (Drew University); Madison, N.J.|
|May 9||Reading United AC (PDL) vs. Christos FC (Md.)||7 p.m. ET||Don Thomas Stadium (Exeter Twp. H.S.); Reading, Pa.|
|May 9||Erie Commodores FC (NPSL) vs. Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.)||7 p.m. ET||Gannon University Field; Erie, Pa.|
|May 9||Seacoast United Phantoms (PDL) vs. Kendall Wanderers (Mass.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Seacoast United Sports Park; Amesbury, Mass.|
|May 9||Detroit City FC (NPSL) vs. Michigan Bucks (PDL)||7:30 p.m. ET||Keyworth Stadium; Hamtramck, Mich.|
|May 9||New York Cosmos B (NPSL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Commisso Stadium (Columbia Univ.); New York, N.Y.|
|Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.)||8 p.m. ET||Long Island University Brooklyn Athletic Facility; Brooklyn, N.Y.|
|May 9||SIMA Aguilas (PDL) vs. The Villages SC (PDL)/Jacksonville Armada (NPSL) winner||7 p.m. ET||Montverde Academy; Montverde, Fla.|
|May 9||Charlotte Eagles (PDL) vs. Inter Nashville FC (NPSL)||7 p.m. ET||Mecklenburg County Sportsplex; Matthews, N.C.|
|May 9||Myrtle Beach Mutiny (PDL) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC (PDL)||7:10 p.m. ET||North Myrtle Beach Sports Park (Field 6); Little River, S.C.|
|May 9||Miami United FC (NPSL) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Ted Hendricks Stadium; Hialeah, Fla.|
|May 9||New Orleans Jesters (NPSL) vs. Mississippi Brilla FC (PDL)||7 p.m. CT||Pan American Stadium; New Orleans, La.|
|May 9||Red Force FC (Fla.) vs. FC Miami City (PDL)/Miami FC 2 (NPSL) winner||8:30 p.m. ET||Tropical Park Stadium; Miami, Fla.|
|May 9||FC Wichita (NPSL) vs. OKC Energy U23 (PDL)||7 p.m. CT||Adair-Austin Stadium (Friends Univ.); Wichita, Kan.|
|May 9||Duluth FC (NPSL) vs. Dakota Fusion FC (NPSL)||7 p.m. CT||Public Schools Stadium; Duluth, Minn.|
|May 9||Midland-Odessa Sockers FC (NPSL) vs. Lakeland Tropics (PDL)||7:30 p.m. CT||Grande Communications Stadium; Midland, Texas|
|May 9||NTX Rayados (Texas) vs. Fort Worth Vaqueros (NPSL)||7:30 p.m. CT||Richland Community College (Field 10); Dallas, Texas|
|May 9||FC Denver (Colo.) vs. Azteca FC (Colo.)||7:15 p.m. MT||Five Star Stadium; Thornton, Colo.|
|May 8||Portland Timbers U23 (PDL) vs. Kitsap Soccer Club (NPSL)||7 p.m. PT||McCulloch Stadium; Salem, Ore.|
|May 9||CD Aguiluchos USA (NPSL) vs. San Francisco City FC (PDL)||6 p.m. PT||Raimondi Park; Oakland, Calif.|
|May 9||FC Golden State Force (PDL) vs. L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Rio Hondo College; Whittier, Calif.|
|May 9||Orange County FC (NPSL) vs. Santa Ana Winds FC (Calif.)||7 p.m. PT||Orange County Great Park – Championship Soccer Stadium; Irvine, Calif.|
|May 9||FC Arizona (NPSL) vs. Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.)||7 p.m. MST||John Riggs Stadium; Mesa, Ariz.|
|May 9||FC Tucson (PDL) vs. La Máquina FC (Calif.)||7:30 p.m. MST||Kino North Stadium; Tucson, Ariz.|