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Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Previews – Tuesday, April 5

By Staff, 04/04/22, 8:14PM EDT


Nine Championship clubs kick off Second Round, including 2019 Quarterfinalists New Mexico United

New Mexico United is among nine USL Championship clubs to kick off the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, with United having reached the Quarterfinals in the tournament's last edition in 2019. | Photo courtesy Josh Lane / New Mexico United

The 107th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicks off its Second Round on Tuesday night with nine USL Championship clubs set to be in action for the first time in this year’s tournament. Among them, New Mexico United, which has made an undefeated start to this campaign as it looks to emulate its run to the Quarterfinals in the last edition of the competition in 2019.

Here’s a look ahead at all nine contests.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Maryland Bobcats FC

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Highmark Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC play host to Maryland Bobcats FC in the first meeting between the clubs, with the Hounds having made an undefeated start to the Championship season to sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with three wins from four. New arrival Dane Kelly has quickly found his place with the side, scoring three goals and two assists after notching a brace in the club’s 2-0 win against Loudoun United FC, while Albert Dikwa, Russell Cicerone and Kenardo Forbes have also been among the goals. The Bobcats are also coming off a win this past weekend, having defeated Flower City Union 6-1 on Saturday as Elijah Amo and Sam Solomon each scored twice, while midfielder Darwin Espinal brings some Championship-level experience having spent two seasons previously with Reno 1868 FC.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. The Villages SC

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Al Lang Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Tampa Bay Rowdies face a rematch from the 2019 tournament as USL League Two side The Villages SC visits Al Lang Stadium, with the hosts having claimed a 4-1 win when the sides met at the same stage three years ago. Recently retired midfielder Zach Steinberger was the key player for the Rowdies that night with one goal and two assists, but Tampa Bay has a newcomer that could feature this time around in leading scorer Jake LaCava, who has scored three goals to sit tied for second in the Championship this season so far. The Rowdies are undefeated in league action through four games after battling to a 0-0 draw on the west coast on Saturday against Oakland Roots SC. The Villages SC has yet to kick off its campaign in League Two but romped to a 6-0 win in the First Round against Orlando Wolves FC as Rafael Vacas Barba scored twice after Juan Felipe Rojas put the side ahead in the 12th minute.

Detroit City FC vs. Michigan Stars FC

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Keyworth Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

Detroit City FC will host in-state opponent Michigan Stars FC in its first appearance in the Open Cup as a professional club. The newly-arrived Championship side has made a solid start to its inaugural season in the league with one win and two draws on home turf in its last three outings as Pato Botello Faz scored a second-half equalizer against Memphis 901 FC this past Saturday. The Stars have yet to kick off their regular season campaign this year, leaving a 3-2 defeat against Detroit last November as their last official action. Botello Faz and Connor Rutz both found the net for Detroit that day, and the hosts will be hoping for a similar result this time around.

Indy Eleven vs. St. Louis City 2

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Michael A. Carroll Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

Indy Eleven will be looking for its first win of the 2022 campaign as it plays host to St. Louis City 2, the precursor to 2023 Major League Expansion club St. Louis CITY SC, set to arrive next season. The Boys in Blue have earned consecutive draws in their past two outings, with Raul Aguilera Jr. finding the net this past Saturday in the club’s home opener against the LA Galaxy II. St. Louis has played once so far this campaign and took a 2-0 win against Rochester New York FC on March 25 when former Rio Grande Valley FC midfielder Wan Kuzain scored the opening goal for the side. Indy has advanced as far as the Fourth Round of the tournament on two prior occasions, and will be aiming to make a similar run this campaign as it builds under new Head Coach Mark Lowry.

FC Tulsa vs. Tulsa Athletic

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Venue: ONEOK Field
Broadcast: ESPN+

FC Tulsa will try to build on its strong home form so far in the Championship this season as it plays host to Tulsa Athletic for the first time in an Open Cup contest. Head Coach Michaen Nsien’s side won its third consecutive home outing on Saturday night as JJ Williams scored a pair of goals in a 3-2 win against the New York Red Bulls II to move into third place in the Eastern Conference. The hosts have also received solid contributions so far this campaign from Rodrigo da Costa, Dario Suarez and Joaquin Rivas, and they will be hoping to lead the side past the Second Round for the first time since 2017. Tulsa Athletic took a 3-0 win against Azteca FC in the opening round of the tournament as Aaron Ugbah, Joseph Garcia and Ruben Torres each found the net, marking the first time the side advanced to the Second Round since the 2014 season when it fell to the Championship’s OKC Energy FC at this stage.

San Antonio FC vs. D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Toyota Field
Broadcast: ESPN+

San Antonio FC will host amateur qualifier D’Feeters Kicks Soccer club aiming to rebound from its first loss of the 2022 season on Saturday night at Toyota Field. SAFC reeled off three consecutive wins to start the season but fell 2-0 to Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday night. San Antonio has received positive contributions so far this season from newcomer David Loera, who has two goals this season, while Jordan Farr recorded six saves on Saturday night in his first league appearance for the club. D’Feeters Kicks advanced from the First Round of the Open Cup with a 3-2 victory against the Denton Diablos as Steven Chavez scored the decisive goal in the final minute of a back-and-forth first half that produced all five goals. D’Feeters reached the main draw of the Open Cup for the first time this season and now will get to make the trip from Dallas to San Antonio for its first contest against professional opposition.

New Mexico United vs. Las Vegas Legends FC

Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. ET
Venue: University of New Mexico Soccer Complex
Broadcast: ESPN+

After making an undefeated start to the 2022 Championship season, New Mexico United will begin its second journey in the Open Cup on home turf for the first time as it hosts Las Vegas Legends FC. New Mexico reached the Quarterfinals in the 2019 tournament, defeating both the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas on the road in the process, a run that helped establish the club in the broader consciousness of soccer fans in the United States. Some of the key players from that run remain with the club, including Chris Wehan and Sam Hamilton, who scored the winner against FC Dallas in the Fifth Round. United has been bolstered this season by forward Neco Brett, who has three goals in four outings this season. Las Vegas heads to New Mexico having earned a 3-2 victory against the Park City Red Wolves in the First Round as Roberto Soto scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 68th minute before the hosts had to hold off a late comeback attempt by Park City.

Central Valley Fuego FC vs. El Paso Locomotive FC

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Lamonica Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

El Paso Locomotive FC will head to face new USL League One club Central Valley Fuego FC looking to get its season on track after suffering four consecutive defeats in the Championship to open the campaign. Locomotive FC suffered a 3-2 defeat on Sunday afternoon against San Diego Loyal SC despite goals by Harry Brockbank and Josue Aaron Gomez, with the side having conceded a league-high 13 goals this campaign. Locomotive FC will be hoping to avoid the same fate as in its opening foray in the Open Cup when it was upset by League One side Forward Madison FC in 2019. Fuego FC is set to bring an experienced squad with former Sacramento Republic FC forward Christian Chaney having scored both goals in their season-opener on Saturday on the road against Greenville Triumph SC.

Orange County SC vs. Los Angeles Force

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Championship Soccer Stadium
Broadcast: ESPN+

2021 USL Championship title winner Orange County SC begins its Open Cup journey on home turf as it looks to build on a 1-1 draw against New Mexico United in its most recent outing on March 26 that saw Milan Iloski scored a stoppage-time equalizer at Isotopes Park. Iloski has made a positive impact in the early season with two goals in three games since his offseason arrival from Real Monarchs SLC, while former Mexico international Erick “Cubo” Torres logged his first assist for the side on Iloski’s goal in New Mexico. The Force played to a 0-0 draw with Bay Cities FC in the opening game of its season on March 26, but include some familiar names including former OCSC midfielder Harry Forrester and former LA Galaxy Homegrown signing Jose Villarreal in their squad.

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