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U.S. Open Cup Bracket Shifted

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CARSON, CA - MAY 19: Chivas are focused on U.S. Open Cup right now (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - MAY 19: Chivas are focused on U.S. Open Cup right now (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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Chivas USA have a big fourth round matchup in the U.S. Open Cup Tuesday against the Carolina RailHawks, and that should be the focus ahead of the game. But the tournament organizers have shifted the matchups beyond the fourth round, and if Chivas were to advance to the quarterfinal round, their opponent will be different than previously sketched out.

Originally, the winner of the Chivas/Carolina match were set to face the winner of the Seattle Sounders/Cal FC game. For obvious reasons, this would have been a tasty matchup for Chivas. Seattle are three-time defending champs, and they knocked Chivas out in the semifinals in 2010, so Chivas would try to overcome that history and knock the dominant club in the tournament off their perch. And then there's Cal FC. While Eric Wynalda, Cal FC's manager, has taken pains to insist they should not be called "Eric Wynalda's team," that's what everybody is doing anyway. A match against Chivas would give Wynalda a chance to prove he deserves to be a top-level coach, and he has claimed he should have been given the Chivas coaching job, not Robin Fraser. He's since publicly walked back from that comment, but still, he'd have plenty of motivation to stick it to Chivas.

With the changes to the bracket, if those matchups were to happen, they would now take place in the semifinal round (probably - there could be another switch down the line). Now, the winner of the Chivas/Carolina match will face the winner of the San Antonio Scorpions/Charlotte Eagles game. San Antonio are in the NASL, like the RailHawks, while Charlotte are in the USL Pro. If Chivas win and San Antonio wins, they'll meet in San Antonio. But if Chivas win and Charlotte wins, Chivas will host the match. It appears the shifts in the bracket are meant to fall along basic geographical lines (I know Charlotte is nowhere near LA, but San Antonio is relatively close), although Chivas are the only MLS club that could go to the semifinal without having to face another MLS side. Of course, if other MLS clubs fall this round, that may be true for other survivors, but Chivas have no chance of facing an MLS side until the semis.

But again, we can't really think about any of that unless Chivas beat the RailHawks and advance to the quarterfinals. Here is the listing of the fourth round matches (all to be held Tuesday, June 5):

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS)

Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. D.C. United (MLS)

Michigan Bucks (USL-PDL) vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro)

Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) vs. Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro)

Chivas USA (MLS) vs. Carolina RailHawks (NASL)

Minnesota Stars (NASL) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

Seattle Sounders (MLS) vs. Cal FC (USASA)

The latest bracket can be found here.

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