Top Soccer Picks & Predictions of the Week – June 4th Edition
We are in the fourth round of the competition and it features feature four all-MLS matchups as the top-division clubs enter the competition. All 20 American MLS clubs will start play in the Round of 32. After reaching the semifinals last year, FC Cincinnati will get an early taste of MLS action as they host Minnesota United. Last week, MLS announced FC Cincinnati would join that league in 2019. Currently, it’s in the USL. The 16 fourth-round games will be played on Tuesday (one game) and Wednesday (15 matches). The 12 third-round and 20 MLS clubs were divided before the draw into geographical groups of four. Each group contained at least one and no more than two third-round winners, with pairs drawn randomly but done so that each third-round winner faces an MLS team. FC Cincinnati advanced with a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh also of the USL; Pittsburgh had been unbeaten at home in 2018 and hadn’t conceded a goal at Highmark Stadium. FC Cincinnati broke open a close game with two goals in as many minutes midway through the second half in third-round action. Jamaican international Lance Laing gave FC Cincinnati 2-0 advantage in the 61st minute before Daniel Haber added one in the 63rd. Jimmy McLaughlin, off an Emery Welshman assist, had given Cincinnati a 1-0 edge in the 39th minute. FC Cincinnati is now 7-1 in this competition all-time under head coach Alan Koch.
The race is heating up.Full rankings: https://t.co/f3Istlc2pg pic.twitter.com/SVZ4TpwBWP — Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 4, 2018
What Small Teams Are in the Tournament?There are three lower-level teams that advanced. Premier Development League club FC Golden State Force upset the Las Vegas Lights of USL to advance alongside two other amateur teams, Miami United FC (NPSL) and NTX Rayados (Texas). As the remaining amateur teams in the competition, FC Golden State, Miami United FC and NTX Rayados are all in the running to claim the $25,000 prize awarded to the amateur team to advance the farthest in the tournament. FC Golden State Force travels across town to play two-time Open Cup champions LA Galaxy. NTX Rayados (Open Division local qualifiers) will visit the Houston Dynamo. And, Miami United FC will host Orlando City SC. There are four all-MLS matches in the fourth round, including the Hudson River Derby between NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls. Elsewhere, Portland hosts San Jose, Chicago visits Columbus, and Real Salt Lake entertains Sporting KC. Rather amazingly, not one game in this year’s U.S. Open Cup ended in a goalless draw (after 90 minutes or extra-time). That’s 62 games of soccer. In the first round, 99 goals were scored across 26 games. In the second round, there were 93 goals in 24 games. In the third round, 27 goals were scored through 12 games. Here’s the full fourth-round draw with all but Philadelphia-Richmond on Wednesday. The winner of the U.S. Open Cup gets a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.
- Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL), 7 p.m. ET, Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
- D.C. United (MLS) vs. North Carolina FC (USL), 7 p.m. ET, Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.
- Louisville City FC (USL) vs. New England Revolution (MLS), 7 p.m. ET, Lynn Stadium; Louisville, Ky.
- Columbus Crew SC (MLS) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS), 7 p.m. ET, MAPFRE Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
- New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. New York City FC (MLS), 7:30 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
- Miami United FC (NPSL) vs. Orlando City SC (MLS), 7:30 p.m. ET, Ted Hendricks Stadium; Hialeah, Fla.
- Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Charleston Battery (USL), 7:30 p.m. ET, Fifth Third Bank Stadium; Kennesaw, Ga.
- FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS), 7:30 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio
- Nashville SC (USL) vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS), 7:30 p.m. CT, Vanderbilt Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.
- Houston Dynamo (MLS) vs. NTX Rayados (Texas), 7:30 p.m. CT, BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
- San Antonio FC (USL) vs. FC Dallas (MLS), 7:30 p.m. CT, Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas
- Real Salt Lake (MLS) vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS), 8 p.m. MT, Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
- Los Angeles FC (MLS) vs. Fresno FC (USL), 7 p.m. PT, Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, Calif.
- LA Galaxy (MLS) vs. FC Golden State Force (PDL), 7:30 p.m. PT, StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium; Carson, Calif.
- Portland Timbers (MLS) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS), 7:30 p.m. PT, Providence Park; Portland, Ore.
- Sacramento Republic FC (USL) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), 8 p.m. PT, Papa Murphy’s Park; Sacramento, Calif.