The U.S. Open Cup is back underway, with two rounds already in the books for the 2022 edition, and now many of the MLS sides enter the fray for the third round, including LAFC. They will host Orange County SC at The Banc on Wednesday, April 20.
LAFC have only participated in two editions of the competition, reaching the semifinals in 2018 before falling in a penalty shootout to eventual champion Houston Dynamo, and getting knocked out in the quarterfinals in 2019 by the Portland Timbers. The last two years, the USOC went on hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, but it’s back, and it’s the shortest path to a domestic trophy in the United States.
Orange County posted a huge win in their first match of the competition, a 5-2 victory over NISA outfit Los Angeles Force last week. Currently the defending USL Championship title-holders, they will know they are not the favorites in this particular match, but upsets certainly happen and they would be thrilled to get one over the black-and-gold and equal their best-ever run in the Open Cup, which was the fourth round in 2015 and 2017.
Of course, these teams have more history, having been affiliates in the MLS-USL partnership in 2017 and 2018. I wouldn’t say it was wildly successful for either side, since they’ve both moved on to partnerships elsewhere, but they do have a prior relationship together, so that’s notable.
If you’re not familiar with the USOC, it’s one of the best things about American soccer. A local matchup, one team will move on and the other will have to wait until next year to get another shot at glory. Bring it on!
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