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Steel City FC to host Michigan Stars in First Round of 2024 US Open Cup on March 21

Photo courtesy NPSL

Only hours after US Soccer announced the format and field of teams for the 2024 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Pittsburgh’s National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) club, Steel City FC, who will be making their debut in the National Tournament, learned and announced via social media outlets, they will be hosting Michigan Stars of National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) on Thursday, March 21, at Ambrose Urbanic Field (7 p.m. kickoff).

Since the end of its unprecedented 2023 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) campaign, when they captured its first-ever Great Lakes Division championship and made a run to the Midwest Region Final, Steel City FC senior men’s squad has been preparing for another first — competing in the proper edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament.

Steel City are one of eight NPSL clubs who earned an automatic bid to the Nation’s longest running ‘Open’ knockout competition.

“We’re buzzing and ready to go,” Nicky Kolarac, one of the club’s true veterans, and one of the few who have competed in the Open Cup before, with teams like the Michigan Bucks and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

“We’re getting out at least three times a week, with coach (Dan) Brower and the boys, getting ready for the tournament. Obviously, it’s a big step forward for the club. We’re excited to be in it.  And for me, individually, this will be my third or fourth time in it, and I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get to do it. It’s awesome and we’re looking forward to it.”

Previously a NPSL club, the Michigan Stars have been competing in NISA since 2019, capturing the NISA Cup in 2022.  The Stars competed in the last two Open Cup tournaments, losing to USL Championship’s Indy Eleven, 3-1, in 2023 and Detroit City FC, 3-0, in 2022.

Though Steel City FC were hoping to advance to potentially face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, that scenario would require the Fourth Division amateur club to win three matches, as the Hounds, an Open Cup quarterfinalist and USL Championship’s Player Shield winners in 2023, will not enter the tournament until the Round of 32.

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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