The 2014 U.S. Open Cup is underway, and MLS teams will be entering the competition next month. On Friday, U.S. Soccer unveiled the draw for the fourth round, and Chivas USA know they will be playing in North Carolina against one of two opponents.
The Goats will either face the Carolina RailHawks in Cary, North Carolina, or the Charlotte Eagles in Davidson, North Carolina, depending on which of those teams wins the third round match-up May 28 at the RailHawks' stadium. The time of Chivas USA's game in the fourth round is not yet determined, though it is scheduled to happen during the week of June 10-18.
If those two teams sound familiar, it's because CUSA have a history of playing both teams in the tournament. They've played the RailHawks, of the NASL, the last two years, winning in 2012 and losing in 2013. They also played the Eagles, in USL PRO, twice, beating them both times (2005 and 2012).
Chivas USA are the only MLS team to not apply to host their fourth round game in this year's tournament (just because a team applies doesn't mean they automatically host, but they definitely won't host if they don't apply at all). While that is unsurprising, since Chivas traditionally have shied away from hosting USOC games because it costs them money to use the venue, whether it's the Galaxy's stadium or Titan Stadium in Fullerton, and because the league control of the team means the club remains in a cost conservation mode carried over from the Vergara regime, but it's still disappointing for those fans who actually enjoy the Open Cup and want to watch the Goats play in the tournament in a "home" venue.
And in case you are wondering why Chivas start out this year across the country, the LA Galaxy drew the local match-up CUSA have had the past two years, while the Goats get to take the Carolina trip the Galaxy have gone on this time around. I have no idea if it's random from year to year, but the matching of a Southern California team to North Carolina does not appear to be random, since the two LA MLS teams end up playing the surviving North Carolina teams year after year.
At any rate, this tournament is Chivas USA's best chance at grabbing silverware while still under the current name. Yes, they did lose to the RailHawks last year, but they have every reason to take the Open Cup seriously this year. Let's hope they do that.
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