The United States' longest soccer competition is back! The 2015 U.S. Open Cup second round continues on Wednesday, with a total of 20 games. Teams from the USL enter the tournament at this stage, including local side Orange County Blues FC, who will take on USASA side PSA Elite at University High School for a berth to the next round.
The Blues have only made the second or third round of the USOC in previous years, so this is their chance to make a run and possibly meet an MLS team this year if they make it to the fourth round. For PSA Elite, they made it to the third round last year, before falling to eventual champions Seattle Sounders, so they are gaining some real experience in this competition. Do not expect the amateur side to roll over.
The timing works out well enough for the Blues that they can deploy their strongest team, should head coach Oliver Wyss decide on that, as they won't return to league play until May 30. Star midfielder Didier Crettenand did not play in the team's last match, a 1-0 loss to the Tulsa Roughnecks at home, due to injury. The Goat Parade asked about his status, and according to a team spokesperson, Crettenand is listed as day-to-day and will be a gameday decision. The Blues have started this season very well, but if Crettenand is out, they likely won't have the same flow and control of the midfield, unless other players can step up in his absence.
There isn't a ton of information about PSA Elite floating around, but suffice it to say they're pretty good, and their result in the previous round of the Open Cup, a 7-1 thrashing of PDL side Golden State Misioneros, tells you they are capable of scoring early and often. For more information on that game, check out TheCup's recap of the game.
My inclination is that this game is going to be pretty tight, and may come down to a single goal. The Blues have been one of the better USL teams so far this season, and while I wouldn't put down PSA, I have to think Orange County sees better competition overall week in and week out. But that's part of the excitement of the tournament -- they must play the games and we see how it shakes out.
Unfortunately for those who aren't in the region, there will not be a stream of this game available. That means if you want to see it, you have to go to the game.
How to Watch: Wednesday, 7 pm PT Kickoff, University High School in Irvine. Tickets available here (Blues season ticket holders get a ticket to the game as part of their package).
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