US Open Cup Unveiled: A Look Back at the Inaugural Matches

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - MAY 20: Inter Miami players pose for a photo prior to a game against the Orlando City at DRV PNK Stadium on May 20, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - MAY 20: Inter Miami players pose for a photo prior to a game against the Orlando City at DRV PNK Stadium on May 20, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

The highly anticipated matches between Inter Miami CF, Nashville SC, Houston Dynamo, Minnesota United, New York Red Bull, Cincinnati, L.A Galaxy, and LAFC set the stage for an exciting start in the U.S. Open Cup. With lineups full of stars, these powerhouse teams brought their A-game to the tournament’s opening round, leaving fans eager for the rest of the round of 16 matchups.


In a thrilling encounter, Inter Miami CF emerged victorious with a hard-fought 2-1 over Nashville SC. The clash between these two MLS powerhouses had fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish.


Goals came  from the Argentinian’s duo Franco Negri and substitute Nicolas Stefanelli propelled them to the win. Inter Miami dominated possession and showcased solid defense throughout the match. In the 36th minute, goalkeeper Drake Callender made a crucial save, followed by a goal-saving block from DeAndre Yedlin to keep the score level at halftime. Early in the second half, Inter Miami capitalized on their control of the game, as Robert Taylor assisted Negri, who chipped the ball into the net to give them the 1-0 lead. However, Nashville equalized in the 66th minute through Alex Muyl header. Just moments later, Stefanelli would find the next in the 73rd minute to give the win to Miami.


"“I thought the guys enjoyed the cup atmosphere…What we’re really focusing on trying to create with this football club, is to get a trophy. That’s the challenge for us,” said head coach Phil Neville. “I don’t think anyone can question the character, the belief, and spirit of this team and this football club.”"

"“We are three games away from being champions of a tournament. That is what we want, that’s what we put on our heads.” said Nicolas Stefanelli"


Unfortunately Nashville SC journey came to an end, while Inter Miami quest continues. Miami’s next challenged in the tournament awaits on June 6 or 7 against the winner of the matchup between Birmingham Legion FC and Charlotte FC.

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L.A Galaxy

Crosstown rivals, LAFC AND L.A Galaxy met at BMO stadium in the round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup. Galaxy secure the win by an overall score of 2-0.


The game kicked off with both teams displaying an attacking intent, but it was Galaxy who found the net in the 49th minute. Tyler Boyd scored the opening goal. The momentum continued in their favor as Riqui Puig doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute, Piug received a yellow card for removing his shirt in a celebration. Despite an earlier penalty opportunity for the Galaxy in the 34th minute, Piug’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper, but it wouldn’t matter too much as L.A Galaxy would end the match with a 2-0 win over LAFC


"“I was very proud of the players on the field tonight. They had a spirited, professional, and disciplined performance.” said Steve Cherundolo"

"“We fought hard, it just didn’t go the way we wanted it to.” said Daniel Crisostomo"


L.A Galaxy advances to the quarterfinals and will wait eagerly wait for the winner between Colorado and Real Salt Lake.

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FC Cincinnati and Houston Dynamo

FC Cincinnati secured their spot in the Quarterfinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after a hard-fought Round of 16 clash against the New York Red Bulls. The match ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time, with FC Cincinnati ultimately prevailing in a penalty shootout, winning 5-3.

Houston Dynamo FC delivered a dominant performance to defeat Minnesota United FC 4-0 at Shell Energy Stadium.


FC Cincinnati

Yuya Kubo’s goal in the 42nd minute gave Cincinnati the lead, but a late equalizer from Dante Vanzeir sent the game into extra time. Goalkeeper Alec Kann emerged as the hero, making seven saves and crucially stopping Vanzeir’s penalty in the shootout.

Houston Dynamo

Corey Baird stole the show with a remarkable hat trick, securing his first three goals of the season. Baird opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute, before adding two more goals in the 68th and 89th minutes. Aliyu Ibrahim also got on the scoresheet, scoring his first goal for the Dynamo in the 79th minute.


"“The game was certainly a test of character, and all I could say is, I’m beyond proud of this group to come out on top, under the circumstances. On a night where you could tell the legs weren’t there, and we were up against it and just found a way. It was really impressive. And the credit is solely with them.” said Pat Noonan"

"“When you lose in penalties, it’s not a great feeling,” Head Coach Troy Lesesne said. “Obviously, we did so much to invest in that match to come away and progress to the next round. But not one single player or any staff member should hang their head after that performance. It’s a great performance against a very good team. Even though they’re missing players, they still have a lot of quality on the field. And again, I think you saw some incredible moments from us to get the second goal during the 120 minutes, obviously didn’t come. If we keep getting in those positions, I feel really good about the direction we’re going in.”"


FC Cincinnati will now host the Quarterfinal match against the winner of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs Columbus Crew fixture.

Houston’s victory marked their largest margin of victory over an MLS opponent in the U.S. Open Cup and set up a Quarterfinal clash against the winner of the Austin FC vs Chicago Fire FC match.

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Upcoming fixtures include Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Columbus Crew at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham Legion FC vs. Charlotte FC at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, Austin FC vs. Chicago Fire FC at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, and Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.