Jeopardy For First Batch of MLS’ Big Boys: #USOC2022 Third Round Preview

The Third Round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup welcomes 17 teams from Major League Soccer. It’s the first appearance of sides from MLS – the country’s top professional league and producer of every Open Cup champion since 2000 – in this year’s competition. With those top-flight teams wearing targets on their backs, and 31 lower-league winners from the previous round all eager to make a mark, the 24 games (across two days of competition – April 19 and 20) are bound to be action- packed.

Complete #USOC2022 Third Round Schedule

Just two teams from the all-amateur Open Division (from an original 32) are still alive and kicking in the 2022 Open Cup. FC Motownback for a fourth edition of the competition, travel north from their homebase of Morristown, New Jersey to take on Rochester New York F.C – the rebranded, repackaged and renamed former Rochester Rhinos – who were the last non-MLS team to win the tournament back in 1999.

The other survivor is NC Fusion (U23) from USL’s League Two. Fresh off a shock 4-2 win over USL League One pro side Charlotte Independence in the last round, and comprised of young up-and-comers and post-collegiate striversthey’ll meet another USL League One foe in the Richmond Kickers. And the 1995 Open Cup champions would do well not to take the Greensboro men lightly.

“We have a sense of belief,” said Brazil-born Fusion midfielder Joao DeSilva. “We can do it if we study and approach the game in the right way. It’s our dream to make history and we dare to do it.”

Bites at the MLS Apple on Round Three’s Day One

All 17 of the entering Major League Soccer sides will face a team from a lower division. This should heap extra pressure on the top-flighters as they try to avoid Third-Round cupsets.

After a multi-year pro soccer drought in the city, Rochester, NY now has two teams in the 2022 Open Cup. Flower City Union of NISA will host three-time Open Cup champions DC United at the Rochester Community Sports Complex in one Tuesday’s early games.

Miami is home to a cross-town derby at Florida International University when Miami F.C of the second-division USL Championship take on Phil Neville’s InterMiami CFthe second-year team out of MLS who finished fourth-from-bottom in last year’s Eastern Conference standings.

FC Cincinnati finished dead last – and by some distance too – in last year’s MLS standings, but they do have some recent Open Cup glory to draw on. As members of the USL Championship in 2017, they beat Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire both to come within seconds of a place in that year’s final. This year, however, they face a Pittsburgh Riverhounds side from their old league with ultra-experienced coach Bob Lilley at the helm and “hoping to win something.”

Detroit City F.C open the doors of their noisy, smokey – and decidedly inhospitable (for visitors at least) – Keyworth Stadium to Columbus Crew SC. It’s the first time the USL Championship side will take on Major League Soccer opposition and it’s bound to be interesting for neutrals and partisans alike.

The 109-year-old tournament (in its 107th edition) makes a happy return to Soldier Field in this Third Round. Chicago Fire – who won two of their four Open Cups at the old stadium (1998 and 2000) – play host to Union Omaha of USL League One (the third pro tier) in one of the biggest mismatches of the Third Round (at least on paper).

The two-time Open Cup champions FC Dallas want roll out the welcome mat for FC Tulsa (USL Championship) in Frisco, Texas (permanent home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the original Open Cup trophy – the Dewar Cup)

There will be a meaningful homecoming for the Rio Grande Valley toros boss and former Colombia international Wilmer Cabrera. His trip to the PNC Stadium in Houston sees him go head-to-head with Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer – the team he led to the Open Cup crown back in 2018. Mixed emotions (and a possible cupset) could be on the cards in H-Town.

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