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Orange County SC, Las Vegas Lights FC find out 2022 U.S. Open Cup opponents

The competition is back this year!

Courtesy of Orange County SC

The 2022 U.S. Open Cup tournament is back, after a two-year pause due to the COVID pandemic. The oldest soccer competition in the country still taking place, it is a welcome site to see the domestic cup back in action this year and here’s hoping we’ll see some local fireworks (in a good way).

While MLS will enter the competition at a later date, we have the pairings for the lower division sides, including the USL Championship. Those teams will enter the tourney in the second round scheduled for Apr. 5-7, with specific dates and times to be determined at a later date.

Defending USL Championship champion Orange County SC will host NISA side Los Angeles Force in the 2nd round. The match will take place at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine. OCSC’s track record in the competition isn’t especially distinguished — they’ve reached the 4th round twice and the quality of amateur soccer locally means upset specials in the early rounds is not uncommon around these parts, but we’ll see what happens this year.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Lights FC will head to Arizona to take on FC Tucson in the 2nd round. On one hand, Las Vegas are a division higher than FC Tucson, but the hosts are a fully pro team in their own right and will be at home. Plus, given that Lights FC are LAFC’s reserve team, I would not expect many LAFC players will be in the squad for Las Vegas, since they can’t play for two different teams in the same tournament. So Las Vegas will most likely be a young group, and that will be a real wild card in the Open Cup. Historically, Lights FC have reached the 3rd round twice, in their previous two entries in the tournament.

The Open Cup is one of my favorite things in American soccer, and I’m very much looking forward to it returning this year. Bring it on!

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