After two years off because of COVID-19, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returned to action in March with 16 first-round games across the country. More than 100 teams will compete by the time the tournament ends in September with the winner getting a berth in the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League.
The MLS teams don’t start entering the competition until the third and fourth rounds. New in round two are teams from the USL Championship, USL League One, NISA, and two MLS Next Pro teams joining the 16 winners from round one. The second round runs from April 5-7 with 31 games with teams drawn together geographically.
Among the teams in action, this week are the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Orange County SC, and Union Omaha. Last year the Rowdies won the USL Championship regular season while Orange County SC won the playoffs. Union Omaha are the defending champions of USL1. Check out our US Open Cup Betting analysis update heading into the 2nd Round of the United States Open Cup.
Updated United States Open Cup Analysis – Second Round | Soccer Betting
Colorado Springs Flying High
With no losses in four games this season and sitting atop the USL Championship’s Western Conference, one could argue that the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC are the highest-ranked team in the second round. They have scored seven goals in four games and allowed just two on the season.
Four players have scored so far this season for the Switchbacks as they have options up top. Michee Ngalina leads the team with three goals while Ben Mines, Elvis Amoh, and Malik Johnson have one each. Hadji Barry, who scored 25 goals last year, has two assists and Jeff Caldwell has two clean sheets in goal.
In the second round, they were drawn at home against Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC. The Hailstorm, based out of Windsor, Colorado, are a 2022 expansion team to USL League One who are yet to play a league game. They joined the U.S. Open Cup this round, so Wednesday’s game at Weidner Field is their professional debut.
This is a tough draw for the Hailstorm, tasked with playing their first-ever game against a team that is already in form this season. The two Colorado teams met in a pre-season friendly in February with the Switchbacks winning 7-2. Look for the Switchbacks to show their new neighbors what it takes to advance in the U.S. Open Cup.
Louisville City Plays Stingy Defense
So far this season, Louisville City haven’t lost a game and they have allowed just one goal in five games while leading the Eastern Conference of the USL Championship. LouCity will host Chattanooga Red Wolves SC from USL League One in the second round at Lynn Family Stadium on Wednesday.
LouCity is coming off a 0-0 draw against Birmingham Legion FC as they were down to 10 men in Saturday’s contest. Wednesday’s game will be their only scheduled home game in April and they should put out a full squad. The Red Wolves tied their opener on Saturday, 1-1 against Forward Madison FC. Jimmie Villalobos scored for the Red Wolves with Madison earning a draw late in the game. Last year they went 11-6-11 and lost in the playoff semifinals.
Local Qualifiers Remain
The true spirit of the U.S. Open Cup comes from the local qualifiers as the tournament features teams from all six tiers in American soccer. Qualification included 90 amateur teams playing for 11 spots and after the first round, four of those teams remain. All will be massive underdogs in the second round against professional competition.
Northern Virginia FC won an all qualifier round one game 3-1 at Lynchburg FC and as a reward, they got a home game. In round two they welcome the USL League One’s Richmond Kickers to Leesburg on Wednesday.
San Fernando Valley FC got a home game in the first round against fellow qualifier Escondido FC and won 6-2. Now they head to Irvine, California, and face NISA team United Strikers FC on Thursday
Oyster Bay United FC went to Hartford and beat NPSL side Hartford United 3-0. They will go on back to Hartford in this round to face Hartford Athletic from the USL Championship on Thursday.
D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club knocked off NPSL side Denton Diablos 3-2. In this round, they face San Antonio FC from the USL Championship on Tuesday.