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It’s official: Steel City FC enter 2024 U.S. Open Cup proper tournament for first time in club history

The 32 Open Division underdogs will kick off the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup First Round between March 19 and 21 have been confirmed by U.S. Soccer this week — and one of those clubs is from the Pittsburgh area, as Steel City FC, coming off an impressive 2023 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) campaign, have qualified and accepted their bid to participate in the 109th U.S. Open Cup, the oldest soccer event in the country.

Steel City FC, the Midwest Region runner-up and Rust Belt Division Champions, will be part of a 32 team group that includes 11 victorious Open Division Local Qualifiers – who survived four Qualifying Rounds between September and November of this year – are joined by 2023 USASA National Amateur Cup winner SC MesoAmerica, AS Frenzi (the 2023 Spring champions of the United Premier Soccer League), even other teams from the National Premier Soccer League and 11 more from USL League 2.

The opponent and date of their match — most likely in the first round of the tournament — has not been finalized, as U.S. Soccer will announce after completing the draw for the first round along with second round allocations in the near future. The First Round matches are slated to be played between March 19-21, 2024.  It’s very likely that Steel City FC’s opponent will come from a region draw, but will likely not include another NPSL side, as some of the other nearby clubs entered into the tournament include:   Christos FC (Maryland), Vereinigung Erzgebirge (West Chester, PA), West Chester United (West Chester, PA)

The second round, scheduled to be played Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4, will likely see the addition of eligible clubs from Division II and III leagues (MLS Next Pro, NISA, USL League One and USL Championship), as that’s when it’s anticipated that the Pittsburgh Riverhounds will enter the tournament.

Last season, the Riverhounds made one of their most remarkable runs in the Open Cup in club history, advancing to the Quarterfinal Round on the strength of two victories vs MLS opponents: New England and eventual MLS Cup winners, Columbus.

There is a possibility that the Riverhounds and Steel City FC could meet in a second round match, but we’ll have to wait to see if we’ll see a first-ever all-Pittsburgh match-up in the Open Cup in the modern era can come to fruition.


USASA National Amateur Cup Winner (1)
SC MesoAmerica (California / Liga Deportiva Morazan / USASA)

UPSL (Spring Champion) (1)
AS Frenzi (Florida / UPSL)

Open Division Local Qualifiers (11)
Azteca FC (Colorado / Colorado Premier League / USSSA-Soccer)
Chicago House AC (Illinois / Midwest Premier League / USASA)
Christos FC (Maryland / Maryland Super Soccer League/ USASA)
FC America CFL Spurs (Florida / United States Soccer League / USSSA-Soccer)
FORO SC (Texas / UPSL)
SCU Heat (South Carolina / UPSL)
Brockton FC United (Massachusetts / UPSL)
Vereinigung Erzgebirge (Pennsylvania / United Soccer League of Pa. / USASA)
Miami United FC (Florida / United States Soccer League / USSSA-Soccer)
FC Folsom (California / UPSL)
Irvine Zeta FC (California / UPSL)

NPSL (8)
Tulsa Athletic (Oklahoma / USASA)
Apotheos FC (Georgia / USASA)
West Chester United SC (Pennsylvania / USASA)
El Farolito (California / USASA)
Steel City FC (Pennsylvania / / USASA)
FC Motown (New Jersey / USASA)
Lubbock Matadors (Texas / USASA)
Duluth FC (Minnesota / USASA)

USL League 2 (11)
Ballard FC (Washington)
Chicago City (Illinois)
Asheville City (North Carolina)
Salem City (Formerly NC Fusion, North Carolina)
Brave SC (Formerly The Villages SC, Florida)
Redlands SC (California)
South Carolina United (South Carolina)
Des Moines Menace (Iowa)
Western Mass Pioneers (Massachusetts)
Vermont Green FC (Vermont)
Hudson Valley Hammers (New York)


First Round                 Tuesday, March 19 – Thursday, March 21
Second Round            Tuesday, April 2 – Wednesday, April 3
Third Round                Tuesday, April 16 – Wednesday, April 17
Round of 32                 Tuesday, May 7 – Wednesday, May 8
Round of 16                 Tuesday, May 21 – Wednesday, May 22
Quarterfinal                Tuesday, July 9 – Wednesday, July 10
Semifinal                     Tuesday, Aug. 27 – Wednesday, Aug. 28
Final                              Wednesday, Sept. 25

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).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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