Photo courtesy Bee Buck Photography / Louisville City FC
TAMPA, Fla. – One of the leading rivalries in the USL will be renewed in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup next Wednesday night as Louisville City FC plays host to Saint Louis FC in the tournament’s Third Round, one of a handful of all-USL matchups that feature in the final round before the entry of clubs from Major League Soccer to the tournament.
Both Louisville and Saint Louis had little difficulty in navigating their way through the Second Round on Wednesday night to be among the 15 USL clubs remaining in the tournament in the Third Round. Louisville swept to a 5-0 victory against the Premier Development League’s Long Island Rough Riders to earn the opportunity to host next Wednesday night’s game at Lynn Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville, while Saint Louis went on the road to earn a 2-0 win against FC Duluth in Minnesota.
Another matchup that will be worth watching features two teams currently sitting in the top four in the USL’s Eastern Conference, with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC set to play host to FC Cincinnati at Highmark Stadium. The teams have played already in the league this season in a 2-2 draw at Nippert Stadium on April 21 that saw Riverhounds SC take the lead twice on the road before FCC salvaged a point.
Regional rivals Reno 1868 FC and Sacramento Republic FC will also renew acquaintances in the Open Cup at Reno’s Greater Nevada Field, with 1868 FC having claimed a dramatic 3-2 victory in Sacramento on May 12 in the first league meeting between the clubs this season. Other all-USL matchups include the Richmond Kickers playing host to Penn FC at City Stadium after both sides claimed road victories in the Second Round, and San Antonio FC playing host to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Toyota Field.
The Third Round will kick off next Tuesday night when North Carolina FC takes on the Ocean City Nor’easters, one of the three Premier Development League clubs to have claimed victory against a USL side in the Second Round. The Nor’easters defeated the Charlotte Independence to advance, burnishing their reputation as one of the top clubs in the PDL. Nashville SC will also welcome PDL opposition after Mississippi Brilla FC advanced with a home victory against Indy Eleven, while Las Vegas Lights FC will hit the road to face an FC Golden State Force side that took victory against Orange County SC in the Second Round.
2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
North Carolina FC vs. Ocean City Nor’easters, 7 p.m. ET, Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. FC Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Richmond Kickers vs. Penn FC, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium, Richmond, Va.
Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Miami United FC winner, 7 p.m. ET, Southern Oak Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
Charleston Battery vs. Elm City Express, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium, Charleston, S.C.
Louisville City FC vs. Saint Louis FC, 7 p.m. ET, Lynn Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
Nashville SC vs. Mississippi Brilla FC, 8:30 p.m. ET, Vanderbilt Soccer Complex, Nashville, Tenn.
NTX Rayados vs. FC Wichita, 8:30 p.m. ET, Richland Community College, Dallas, Texas
San Antonio FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
Sporting AZ FC vs. Fresno FC, 10 p.m. ET, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, Ariz.
FC Golden State Force vs. Las Vegas Lights FC, 10 p.m. ET, Rio Hondo College, Whittier, Calif.
Reno 1868 FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, Greater Nevada Field, Reno, Nev.