It’s quarterfinal time in the US Open Cup and the hopes of the Region III area rests upon the shoulder of three of our sides, all hoping to make the next step and into the semi-finals.
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers
Our remaining MLS side, FC Dallas host Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco after defeating fellow Texans Houston Dynamo 3-0 in the last round looking to win the trophy for the first time since 1997 and keep hopes alive that a MLS/USOC double could be achieved.
The Dallas side come into this game off the back of 2-2 draw at the weekend with Sporting Kansas City where the point earned felt more like three after grabbing two late goals to equalize the match and hold onto their impressive unbeaten home record this season.
Should FC Dallas win their quarter-final tie, a trip to the winner of Real Salt Lake / Carolina Railhawks awaits them on August 8 where either of the semi-final host clubs will be making their first ever hosting of this event this late in the competition.
Kick off at FC Dallas Stadium June 26, 8.00pm CT.
Orlando City FC v Chicago Fire
The Florida side have been determined to show their worth this season as they try to persuade all soccer watchers that a MLS franchise is worthy of the city of Orlando.
This year’s current run in the US Open Cup is a stark reminder to all that they have what it takes to compete at that level and after dumping Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids from the previous two rounds, MLS sides hold no fears for the USL side.
The Lions come into this match top of the USL Pro leagues and even a free weekend from league play didn’t stop them from impressing potential scouts trying to find weaknesses in their side, when they hosted an international challenge match against Brazilian super club Fluminese at the Citrus Bowl in front of a record breaking 11.127 for an international club match.
Despite losing 4-3 over the 90 minutes if play, the performance will have added strength and morale to their followers that they can indeed overcome yet another MLS club on their way to the semi-final stage.
However, Wednesday’s opponents have an outstanding record in the US Open Cup in the state of Illinois where only one loss has been suffered in 21 matches. The Chicago club have also won the competition four times, one of only six clubs to have done so in the cups 100 year history.
The winner from this tie will host the semi-final game on August 8, with the hope that the Florida Citrus Bowl will once again be setting records come that day when where they will face the winner from the New England Revolution / DC United quarterfinal.
Kick off at Toyota Park June 26, 7.30pm CT.
Carolina Railhawks v Real Salt Lake
The Railhawks not only complete our trio of Region III sides still competing in the competition, but also complete the set of the top three divisions still being represented.
The NASL side join both FC Dallas from the MLS and Orlando from the USL Pro in the final eight and proves that soccer in Region III is fighting fit with clubs from lower leagues competing when required.
The Carolina side have been Californian dreaming in the past couple of rounds, defeating both CD Chivas USA and LA Galaxy from the MLS to reach this point of the competition, a point that no other NASL side has ever reached.
The Railhawks come into this match in a buoyant mood after finishing their weekend match against Minnesota on a high with two goals in the final four minutes to take the three points and return to the top of the spring season standings with just the two games remaining to play.
Ironically, the Railhawks and the NASL will have a dormant month before the semi-final match, which will be played on August 7, and should they win through against Real Salt Lake at the quarterfinal stage, they will only competitive match of the fall season under their belt come that day.
However should they win against the MLS side, they will have the hosting rights for the semi, where they will be visited by either Portland Timbers or FC Dallas.
Kick off at Rio Tinto Stadium June 26, 7.30pm MT.