By SEAN RUBIO
One of the biggest rivalries in American soccer will be rekindled as long-time foes Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC highlight the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Pacific Northwest clash headlines a third round filled with intriguing match-ups. The Houston Dynamo face off against the Austin Aztecs, the Kansas City Wizards will take on the Minnesota Thunder and the Cinderally story of the tournament, the Ocean City Barons, meet MLS power D.C. United.
In their first meeting since Seattle’s “promotion” to MLS, emotions will be high as the high-flying Sounders will travel to PGE Park to take on a Portland Timbers side that has only lost once in USL First Division play this season. The Timbers are coming off a 4-0 drubbing of the Montreal Impact, and should prove a stern test for Sigi Schmid’s men.
The Sounders-Timbers rivalry is just one of the local match-ups on the schedule, with USL newcomers Austin Aztex taking on Western Conference power Houston Dynamo. Austin got past another Texian foe in the Second Round, defeating the El Paso Patriots 2-0.
Both matches are on Wednesday, July 1st, and will be broadcast on USLLive.com.
The tournament's Cinderella story, the Ocean City Barons, will travel to Boyds, Maryland to take on DC United. Ocean City is the only PDL team left in the tournament, and will be a heavy underdog against the Eastern Conference leaders. In their Second Round encounter with Real Maryland Monarchs, the match was stopped in the 74th minute due to lightning, with the Barons leading 1-0. In 2005, Ocean City was involved in the highest scoring match in the professional era of the Open Cup, as they fell to Richmond Kickers 8-4.
The Wilmington Hammerheads and Harrisburg City Islanders are the only two USL Second Division sides remaining, and they will take on Chicago Fire and New England Revolution respectively. Neither USL team should be taken lightly; the Hammerheads have twice advanced past the third round (2003, 2006), and the City Islanders won their third round match as recently as 2007.
Rounding out the third round are three MLS/USL First Division tilts: Kansas City Wizards will travel north to face the Minnesota Thunder, currently in last place in USL-1. The Columbus Crew will play host to the Rochester Rhinos, and Chivas USA will head east to take on the Charleston Battery.
For dates, times, and broadcast information, visit USOpenCup.com.
Excited to see the Timbers and Sounders clash once again? Hoping Ocean City can pull the upset? Still waiting for a reason to care about the Open Cup?
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