US Open Cup Second Round starts tonight
After two years, we're back
Most of you will already know that the Legion starts its 2022 Open Cup campaign Thursday evening in Tuscaloosa, but the second round of the Cup begins tonight.
All 11 USL League One teams and all 23 independent USL Championship teams will play over the next three days. Atlanta United 2, LA Galaxy II, Loudoun United and New York Red Bulls II as subsidiaries of MLS teams are not eligible for the Open Cup. The entire schedule can be viewed here. With a couple of exceptions, matchups are on a geographic proximity basis. Notably, the Rio Grande Valley Toros will travel to Cary, NC tomorrow to play North Carolina FC, and the longest trip will be for the Oakland Roots who have to cross the entire country to play Greenville Triumph on Thursday.
All 31 games will be streamed live on ESPN+. If you want to pick out a couple of games to watch I recommend tonight’s matchup between Detroit City and Michigan Stars (6:30pm). This is a Detroit derby between two former NISA foes and something of a grudge match as Detroit City beat out the Stars to get a USLC franchise. That and the 7-1-2 record Detroit holds over their opponent. Tomorrow night you may want to check out Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Northern Colorado Hailstorm (8:00pm). The Hailstorm are a brand new USL League One franchise based in Windsor, CO (near Fort Collins). Although the League One season began this past weekend, the Hailstorm and several other teams have not yet played, so this will be the team’s first ever official match. Facing off against the Championship’s only remaining perfect team is quite an opening challenge.
As noted above, the Legion has opted to play in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama Soccer Stadium rather than at Protective Stadium. Admission is free to all Legion season ticket holders and UA students. Kickoff is at 7:00pm. The opponent will be Southern States SC Stars of the NPSL, who beat the Georgia Revolution 3-1 in the first round. You can find out more about them on Kaylor Hodges’ most recent Hammering Down podcast, in which he interviews the team’s head coach Carl Reynolds.