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USL teams sweep all seven vs. NASL in U.S. Open Cup third round




It may have been their first taste of U.S. Open Cup action, but for most NASL teams, the third round was also the last.

Teams from USL sent seven NASL teams packing on Wednesday night. Among the surprise results was Saint Louis FC’s penalty shootout win against Minnesota United. Saint Louis’ Bryan Gaul equalized with 10 minutes to go by converting from a penalty kick.

The Austin Aztex eliminated defending NASL champions and Texas rivals San Antonio Scorpions with a 2-0 win. Louisville City FC also triumphed 2-0 against Indy Eleven, while the Charlotte Independence beat the Carolina RailHawks 1-0 thanks to a Ryan Finley strike with nine minutes remaining.

In an all-USL and Cascadia affair, Seattle Sounders FC 2 recorded its second victory against Portland Timbers 2 this week with a 2-1 win in extra time.

There were NASL teams that made it through to the fourth round. League-leading New York Cosmos topped the PDL’s Jersey Express 3-0, while the Atlanta Silverbacks beat Chattanooga FC 2-1. Shaka Bangura’s late penalty kick for the Silverbacks sent the game into extra time, where Jaime Chavez struck in the 110th minute to seal the deal.

Here is a closer look at the U.S. Open Cup third round action:

Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL) 2 — 1 Portland Timbers 2 (USL)

Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) 1 — 0 Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)

Richmond Kickers (USL) 3 — 0 Jacksonville Armada FC (NASL)

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 1 — 3 Rochester Rhinos (USL)

Charleston Battery (USL) 3 — 2 Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)

New York Cosmos (NASL) 3 — 0 Jersey Express (PDL)

Chattanooga FC (NPSL) 1 — 2 Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)

Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 0 — 1 Charlotte Independence (USL)

Saint Louis FC (USL) 1 — 1 Minnesota United (NASL) (3-1, PKs)

Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) 0 — 1 OKC Energy FC (USL)

Indy Eleven (NASL) 0 — 2 Louisville City FC (USL)

San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) 0 — 2 Austin Aztex (USL)

Real Monarchs SLC (USL) 0 — 1 Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 1 — 2 PSA Elite (Calif.; USASA)

Sacramento Republic FC (USL) 7 — 3 Chula Vista FC (USASA)


  1. SA Scorpions also had their 2nd team playing, but I for one was super pissed! You can’t beat these USL teams with bench players. There isn’t the gap that exists between MLS and NASL.

    NASL is where MLS was a few years back, not taking this competition seriously. NASL doesn’t have the luxury of doing that. They need to establish they are better than USL. Clear cut and no excuses.

    • Not taking it seriously? All the NASL has done for the last year is plug the US Open Cup as the ultimate chance for the league to show what it can do on the field. They celebrate every victory and scream at us to take them seriously based purely on USOC results. You can’t do all that promotion for the Cup and then try to disown it when things don’t go your way.

  2. I caught highlights of the Jax Armada-Kickers match, and as a Kickers fan, I was stoked to see that the Jax team played all but 3 backups. Not really sure what was going on there, but the commentator said that the Jax team coach said he was focusing on the NASL standings, which I took to mean could care less about this match.

    • hahaha okay. Now how does that explain all 7 NASL teams losing to USL clubs? I watch the Minnesota United game. I saw an USL expansion team dominate the 2nd best team in the NASL.

      • Did you watch the game? United struggled to get the ball. And if it wasnt for a bad offsides call, St.Louis would have won the game regulation.

      • I don’t know. All I know is that the Kickers played their whole 1st team, the Jax Armada played almost their entire 2nd team, Kickers won, and now we are going to get a home game vs Columbus Crew.

    • That is interesting. As an Armada fan I was surprised when I saw the lineup – I really thought they were going to try and get a result. I know they didn’t underestimate Richmond because Richmond is having a good season and Armada already faced Charleston twice in the preseason so they knew USL has good sides.

      Jacksonville has had a few injuries and a suspension, and this was the team’s first 3-games-in-8-days stretch, so I’ll chalk it up as a learning experience. I was hoping that the team would take it seriously and try and do well in both NASL and the US Open Cup, but the fact is that none of these teams have much depth so they have to decide what is more important. Maybe next year…

  3. According to Hempstead fanboys, NASL is better than MLS. Might want to beat USL, maybe once at least, before you worry about hanging with the big boys.

  4. Will be interesting to see if USL clubs are allowed to put up a fight against MLS clubs next round, or if they will be instructed to throw the games in favor of their overlords.

  5. Or maybe they should just use the same tried and true excuses MLS teams use when they got rolled by NASL teams in the past…. Regardless of what NASL teams do they will always get criticized by MLS fanboys.

    • MLS teams never got rolled by NASL teams and again, when is the last time a non MLS team won the US Open Cup. And when NASL teams do beat MLS teams, they do it facing MLS 2nd teams. However that int the case, when it comes to NASL vs USL. NASL isnt as deep, as MLS teams. So NASL teams are forced to play theit top players vs USL squads.

  6. Grade A example of falling flat on your face. The only way it gets worse from here is if the Cosmos get worked by NYCFC after this.

    And again, I don’t get why the NASL doesn’t try and poach some of these independent USL teams.

    • Why would the independent clubs join the NASL? In the USL they get MLS players for free, the franchise fee is much lower, the travel costs are much lower, and yet as the USOC results show there’s no real decrease in player quality. NASL fans who keep saying that the NASL should get the USL clubs to defect have yet to show any tangible incentive for why the USL clubs should defect.

  7. If the NASL really wants to establish itself as the second league of American soccer, then maybe they should, you know, perform like the second league.

    • This is exactly why there no such thing as 1st, 2nd or 3rd division in the US. Without promotion/relegation there is no definition of divisions, only proclamations.

      • What? It is clear financial differences between MLS & the other two leagues below it. Both the NASL & USL are more semi-pro, then pro,IMO. It is nothing that separates USL from NASL, financially. However what make USL a better league then NASL, is theirpartnership with MLS. Which has improve the quality of play.

      • You just made Alf’s point for him. The thing that separates NASL and USL is the latter’s partnership with MLS, and that is no minor thing. The fact that first division players are being sent down to the so-called third division really makes the USL look more like the de facto second division. NASL should be embarrassed about their performances yesterday. And really, the whole “second and third” division thing is completely arbitrary.

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