U.S. Open Cup semifinals: A Look Ahead

U.S. Open Cup semifinals: A Look Ahead

USL

U.S. Open Cup semifinals: A Look Ahead

FCDSea (Getty Images)

The way the U.S. Open Cup has played out, there's certainly a David bracket and a Goliath bracket.

The Chicago Fire and Richmond Kickers meet in the former, as both carry underdog stories into their Open Cup semifinal matchup at Toyota Park Tuesday night.

FC Dallas and two-time defending champion Seattle square off in the heavyweight matchup, with the winner undoubtedly being the favorite to capture the championship and automatic berth in the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League that goes along with it.

Here's a closer look at the U.S. Open Cup semifinals:

U.S. OPEN CUP SEMIFINALS

Chicago Fire vs. Richmond Kickers, 8:30 p.m., live stream on Chicago-Fire.com

With the Kickers being eliminated from the USL Pro playoffs, they can focus solely on trying to knock off their third consecutive MLS Eastern Conference opponent. Richmond defeated the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City en route to the semifinals and is seeking a return to the finals for the first time since 1995, when it won the tournament.

Chicago, meanwhile, is enjoying its best run of form during this MLS season as winners of two straight and has never lost a quarterfinal, semifinal or final Open Cup match at home (11-0-0). A win would put the Fire in position to tie the record for most U.S. Open Cup titles (5). Chicago would host the final with a win and a Dallas win over Seattle.

Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m., live stream on SoundersFC.com

The headliner features two Western Conference powers who are both dealing with a bit of fixture congestion. With the stress of the league season building, both are also involved in the CONCACAF Champions League and have had to balance the two competitions while keeping an eye on Tuesday's semifinal.

Seattle won the last meeting between the two teams by a 1-0 scoreline a couple of weeks ago in Frisco, Texas, and has its eye on an Open Cup three-peat, something that would be unprecedented in the MLS era. With another win over Dallas, Seattle would host the final for a second straight year.

FCD will try to prevent that from happening with the return of George John to the lineup. John's potential transfer to Blackburn fell through this weekend, paving the way for him to solidify the heart of the Dallas defense for the next few months.

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Who do you see winning the semifinal matches? Do you think Richmond can keep its run going?

Share your thoughts below.

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