TRADITION CONTINUES — US Open Cup Begins

Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders lifted the Cup in 2014.
Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders lifted the Cup in 2014.

For over 100 years, the United States Open Cup soccer tournament has been the longest running soccer competition in America – and features teams from all three professional tiers plus teams from the amateur ranks.  The first round gets underway tonight – as 42 teams all across the United States amateur and developmental tiers will begin play.

ROUND ONE – U.S. OPEN CUP FEATURED MATCH – Fort Pitt Regiment vs West Virginia Chaos

7 p.m.

Schoenbaum Stadium

Charleston, West Virginia

There will be no live feed for this game

TheCup.US twitter feed, @usopencup will provide updates throughout the night of all first-round games scores and updates

About the teams:  

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Fort Pitt Regiment

(NPSL – 2014 Great Lakes East Conference Champions – second season)

Head Coach – John Kowalski

165px-Wvchaos

West Virginia Chaos

(USL PDL – 2014 South Atlantic Division Champions – 12th season)

Head Coach – Scott Phipps

The tournament’s first round (there were preliminary round games too) kicks off on Wednesday with a full slate of games including one of local interest as the Fort Pitt Regiment travel to Charleston, West Virginia to take on the Chaos (PDL).   For the complete U.S. Open Cup schedule – you can find it here on the TheCup.us page which does a first-rate job of tracking all Cup results and news.   I will also be keeping this link on the Pittsburgh Soccer Report site for the duration of the U.S. Open Cup competition.

It’s a unique situation for teams that participate in leagues like the National Premier Soccer League (Fort Pitt) and Premier Development League (Chaos) – as their squads are made up of mostly current and recent college players who only come together and begin training in late-April/early May.  This will be the first game of the season for both squads, as they both begin their league in the coming days as well.

The winner of tonight’s contest – will earn a second round meeting with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium next Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Of course, the prospects of an-all Pittsburgh match-up between the PA West Sponsored Fort Pitt Regiment and the Riverhounds would be very intriguing.   The Regiment, entering their second full season, are coached by the first-ever coach of the Riverhounds (and former Tampa Bay Mutiny and former/current Robert Morris men’s/women’s) coach John Kowalski.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves here looking at Round 2 – the Regiment, will have a tough task to defeat the Chaos.   They earned a spot in the Open Cup competition with a successful debut season as NPSL’s Great Lakes Region’s East Conference Champions – and will return key players including Lamine Balde (Bethany College) and Mike Tuohy (Pitt). The pair will be looked at to be an integral part of the FPR attack in 2015. Last year Balde contributed four goals and Tuohy had four assists. Returning the shore up the Regiment’s defense include Nate McCann (Duquesne), Hunter Barcomb (Robert Morris), and Goalkeeper Brenden Alfery (Grove City). You can find the complete roster for the Regiment on their web site.

For a closer look at the Charleston Chaos, who have been in existence since 2003, earned their spot in the Open Cup with their first-ever USL PDL South Atlantic Division Championship in 2014. here’s a nice preview to tonight’s game in the Charleston Daily Mail, by Tom Bragg.   A few notable current Pittsburgh Riverhounds players played for the Chaos, including USL’s top goal scorer, Rob Vincent (University of Charleston) and Steling Flunder (Marshall University).

One other game of interest tonight: 

Finally, we can’t have a U.S. Open Cup preview without mentioning RWB Adria.

In the past two seasons, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds had memorable clashes with RWB Adria (Croatian, Chicago-based US National Amateur 2014 champions).

Tonight. Adria begin their US Open Cup campaign against Lansing United (NPSL).   The winner will have the opportunity to host the Louisville FC team that tied the Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium in April.   It doesn’t appear likely that the Riverhounds will see Adria for the third consecutive season barring an amazing run by both teams.

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