The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup moves into the third round this week as 17 MLS teams join the competition for games on April 19-20. The remaining MLS teams will enter in the fourth round. For this round of games, the 48 teams were split into 10 groups based on regions and then drawn into matchups, but MLS teams could not face each other.
There are still 15 teams left from the USL Championship, seven from USL 1, and nine from a variety of lower leagues around the United States. The two lowest-ranked teams remaining are FC Motown from the NPSL and NC Fusion (U23) from USL2. In this round, seven of the MLS teams were drawn on the road, and a handful have tricky matchups if they don’t bring their A squads. Check out our US Open Cup Betting analysis update heading into the Third Round of the United States Open Cup.
Soccer Betting Preview for U.S. Open Cup 3rd Round
Third Round Overview
The third round brings some intriguing geographical matchups as Inter Miami FC from the MLS travels across town to face Miami FC from the USL Championship. San Diego Loyal SC from the USL Championship, owned by American legend Landon Donovan, heads north to face Donovan’s former team, LA Galaxy. Austin FC from the MLS heads down the road in Texas to face USL Championship side San Antonio FC, and Orange County SC stays in the Los Angeles area to face MLS side LAFC.
Crew Will be Tested in Detroit
With the 2020 and 2021 U.S. Open Cups canceled by COVID-19, this is the first chance in three years for lower-level teams to get a shot at MLS competition in their home arena. One of the tricky matchups for an MLS team comes with 2020 MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew heading north to face Detroit City FC.
Keyworth Stadium is a tough place for anyone to play, and even though it only holds 7,900 fans, they make it sound like twice that. Detroit City fans are not only loud but enthusiastically use smoke and pyrotechnics to support their team and intimidate the opposition.
Le Rouge currently sits in fourth place in the USL Championship with three wins and a draw from the first six games. They have scored eight goals and allowed three, with Antoine Hoppenot leading the way with three league goals. They easily dispatched Michigan Stars FC in the second round of the Cup with two goals from Matthew Lewis.
The Crew have struggled in MLS play in April with no goals in their last three games, all losses. They scored nine goals in their first three games, with Lucas Zelarayan as the March MLS Player of the Month. But they have made frequent mistakes on defense in April and haven’t found the back of the net in nearly 300 minutes.
The Crew travel to Kansas City on the weekend with this game against Detroit City following a 2-0 home loss to Orlando City on Saturday. Coach Caleb Porter will likely use his depth to balance the roster but has to be sure not to take Le Rouge lightly, or the 2002 Cup champs won’t reach the fourth round.
Madison Will Get Defensive with Loons
An intriguing matchup that drops two levels has MLS side Minnesota United FC heading on the road to face USL League One’s Forward Madison FC. The match will be played at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisconsin, with a capacity of 5,000 fans.
The Flamingos will try to get it done on defense at home as they have drawn all three league games this season, scoring four goals. They’ve had four different goal scorers in league play and scored two goals in their only home game. Madison won the second round of the U.S. Open Cup 3-0 against Cleveland SC with two first-half goals.
Minnesota United is 3-2-2 after seven games, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference. They have scored just eight goals in seven games but do have a +2 goal differential. Robin Lod leads the Loons with two goals this season, and it will be interesting to see how many regulars Adrian Heath takes to Madison.
History Made Out West
The U.S. Open Cup provides opportunities for small clubs and young players. That happened in the second round when 15-year-old Marcus Lee scored a goal and assisted on another for the California United Strikers FC in a 5-0 win. The goal made Lee the youngest-ever goalscorer in 109 years of U.S. Open Cup games and also gave the Strikers their first-ever win in the competition.
The Strikers did not draw an MLS team in the third round, but they head on the road to FC Tucson from USL1. Tucson has a 1-1 home draw and a 4-0 road loss in league play this year. They won 3-2 at home against Las Vegas Lights FC in the second round with goals from three different players.
This matchup between lower-level clubs gives both teams a great chance to advance to the fourth round. Plus, with regional pairings, the winner could very easily get a lucrative draw against one of the Los Angeles MLS clubs in the next round.
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