U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round: The Rise Of USL


While Wednesday was not a good day for the North American Soccer League, it was certainly a good day for the United Soccer League. With 13 teams in action in the third round of the 2015 U.S. Open Cup, the “third division” league of North American soccer saw 7 sides go through to the fourth round. Not bad considering four of their teams were playing one another.

Perhaps the biggest victory for the fledgling soccer league came out of Texas where the Austin Aztex were able to defeat the defending NASL Soccer Bowl Champions, the San Antonio Scorpions. Goals by Mikey Ambrose and Trevor Caesar lifted the Aztex over the Scorpions and gave them the first win in the Hill Country Derby.

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Just slightly north of Texas, another USL side was about to make history. This time it was St. Louis F.C. who beat the newest team in Major League Soccer, Minnesota United 3-1 in penalty kicks.

San Antonio and Minnesota were not the only NASL sides to suffer defeat on Wednesday evening. The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, Jacksonville Armada, Carolina RailHawks, Indy Eleven, and Tampa Bay Rowdies would all be knocked out of the competition. Only the Atlanta Silverbacks, who beat Chattanooga F.C. in an overtime thriller, and the New York Cosmos, who vanquished NPSL side the Jersey Express, would advance to the fourth round.

Here is the complete list of third round results (courtesy of U.S. Soccer:)

May 27Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)1-1, 2-1 AETFinley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
May 27Charlotte Independence (USL) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)1-0WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
May 27Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at Charleston Battery (USL)2-3Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.
May 27Louisville City FC (USL) at Indy Eleven (NASL)0-0, 2-0 AETCarroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.
May 27Jersey Express (PDL) at New York Cosmos (NASL)0-3Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Queens, N.Y.
May 27Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)0-0, 3-1 AETSkyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.
May 27Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Real Monarchs SLC (USL)1-0Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
May 27^Portland Timbers 2 (USL) at Seattle Sounders 2 (USL)1-1, 1-2 AETStarfire Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.
May 27Jacksonville Armada (NASL) at Richmond Kickers (USL)0-3Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.
May 27Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)0-1Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.
May 27Minnesota United FC (NASL) at Saint Louis FC (USL)1-1, (1-3 PK’s)St. Louis Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.
May 27Austin Aztex (USL) at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)2-0Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas.
May 27Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)1-0ONEOK Field; Tulsa, Okla.
May 27Chula Vista FC (USASA) at Sacramento Republic FC (USL)3-7Bonney Field; Sacramento, Calif.
May 27PSA Elite (USASA) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)2-1Ventura College Sportsplex; Ventura, Calif.

In the fourth round, Major League Soccer joins the fun with all 17 U.S.-based teams having matches. Of particular interest should be the New York derby between the New York Cosmos and NYCFC, a Cascadia derby match between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders, and an affiliate derby between the San Jose Earthquakes and Sacramento Republic FC. Also the lone amateur side still left in the tournament, PSA Elite, taking on the defending MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

Here is the full list of matches for the fourht (again, courtesy of U.S. Soccer🙂

June 16Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)7:30 p.m. ETPPL Park; Chester, Pa.
June 16Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at New York Red Bulls (MLS)7:30 p.m. ETRed Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
June 16Saint Louis FC (USL) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)7:30 p.m. CTSporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
June 16Louisville FC (USL) at Chicago Fire (MLS)7:30 p.m. CTToyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.
June 16Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at FC Dallas (MLS)8 p.m. CTTCU Soccer Stadium; Ft. Worth, Texas
June 16Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Colorado Rapids (MLS)7 p.m. MTDick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
June 16*Seattle Sounders 2 (USL) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)8 p.m. MTRio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
June 16Sacramento Republic FC (USL) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)7:30 p.m. PTAvaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
June 16Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)7:30 p.m. PTStarfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
June 17Columbus Crew SC (MLS) at Richmond Kickers (USL)7 p.m. ETRichmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.
June 17D.C. United (MLS) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)7 p.m. ETHighmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.
June 17*New York City FC (MLS) at New York Cosmos (NASL)7:30 p.m. ETShuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y.
June 17Orlando City (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL)7:30 p.m. ETBlackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.
June 17Charlotte Independence (USL) at New England Revolution (MLS)7:30 p.m. ETSoldiers Field (Harvard Univ.); Boston, Mass.
June 17*Austin Aztex (USL) at Houston Dynamo (MLS)8 p.m. CTBBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
June 17PSA Elite (USASA) at LA Galaxy (MLS)7:30 p.m. PTStubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

Next: 2015 U-20 World Cup Preview: Groups D-F