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2016 U.S. Open Cup Preview: Fifth Round

Husidic Melano Timbers Galaxy MLS (USA TODAY Sports

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returns to the forefront of American soccer this week as 14 teams from Major League Soccer and two from the NASL partake in fifth-round matches across the country.

During the fifth-round draw, the 16 remaining clubs were divided into four regional quadrants. The winners of the two matches in each region will face off in the quarterfinal round set to occur on July 20.

The fifth round begins on Tuesday with one game from the Midwest region and one from the West before the other six matches take place on Wednesday.

Below is a preview of each round-of-16 contest.

COLUMBUS CREW at CHICAGO FIRE (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET) 

The Columbus Crew will be looking to break an Open Cup hex against the Chicago Fire in the round of 16 opener on Tuesday night at Toyota Park. The Crew are 0-5 all time against the Fire in the competition, including a 2-1 loss at Soldier Field in the 1998 final.

The Fire have not won outside of the Open Cup since May 21 against the Houston Dynamo. Since returning from the Copa America Centenario break, Veljko Paunovic’s side has lost to the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union. The one positive from Wednesday’s loss to the Union was a season-high three goals.


Sigi Schmid’s Seattle Sounders enter Rio Tinto Stadium in need of a boost in attack, but they won’t get that from Clint Dempsey, who is still serving his ban from his incident in the competition last season in a match against Portland. In order to get the best of a fresh Real Salt Lake side on Tuesday, Jordan Morris and Nelson Valdez must be at their best in the final third.

RSL appear to be taking Tuesday’s match seriously since Jeff Cassar rested 10 of his 11 starters over the weekend. A fresh batch of players is a valuable commodity during the post-Copa window in which clubs have played two Open Cup matches and at least two league contests.


A big week awaits the New York Red Bulls as they visit the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday in the Open Cup before traveling to Yankee Stadium for the second New York Derby of the season. The Red Bulls have taken the competition more seriously under the direction of Jesse Marsch. Expect to see as close to a first-team lineup as possible from the Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium.

The two-time runners-up come into Wednesday off a rare home defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Union needed a last-minute strike from Roland Alberg to advance to the final 16, and they are stretched thin at the moment due to the loss of Vincent Nogueira.


Sporting KC travel to BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday with a valuable extra day between their cup match and next league contest. With that in mind, Peter Vermes should start a strong lineup similar to the one he used in the last round against Minnesota United.

Advancing to the final eight of the Open Cup would be a huge boost for the Dynamo and interim boss Wade Barrett. The Dynamo displayed signs of life under Barrett in the first half of their 3-2 loss to Portland on Sunday. As long as the Dynamo back line remains steady, which has been a concern all season, the Dynamo stand a fighting chance against the defending champions.


Jay Heaps’ New England Revolution side will hit the road to play a lower division side for the second consecutive round. The Revs outlasted a weather delay in the fourth round to down the Carolina RailHawks in extra time. They come into Wednesday night on the heels of a 2-0 loss to D.C. United in which they were outplayed at RFK Stadium.

The Cosmos are no stranger to the fifth round as they have earned a spot in the final 16 of the Open Cup in each of the last three years. Giovanni Savarese’s men are also used to playing the role of spoiler as they have knocked off an MLS side in 2014, 2015 and 2016. If they earn another Open Cup scalp, they’ll host the winner of the Red Bulls-Union game in the next round.


There’s been no shortage of drama in the Open Cup for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in 2016. The NASL side has defeated the Richmond Kickers and D.C. United on penalties in its first two games in the competition. Dealing with the raucous environment in Orlando will be difficult, but Ft. Lauderdale should carry some confidence into the match based off their previous games in the tournament and the play of goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who made 10 saves in the win over D.C. in the fourth round.

Late drama has been a major theme in Orlando City’s season, and so has conceding goals. In their last four league matches, the Lions have given up two tallies in three draws and a victory. As long as Orlando can sure up its back line on Wednesday, it should secure passage to the quarterfinals.

COLORADO RAPIDS at FC DALLAS (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET) 

Depending on who starts for Colorado and FC Dallas on Wednesday, the clash at Toyota Stadium could be a potential preview of a Western Conference playoff series. The Rapids currently lead FC Dallas by one point in the Supporters’ Shield table and they haven’t lost since April 9 against Real Salt Lake.

Oscar Pareja’s FC Dallas side is in a nice run of form as well as it has suffered one loss since May 11, that defeat came at the hands of Sporting KC on June 19. The two sides have yet to meet in league play and they won’t see each other again until July 23.

LA GALAXY at PORTLAND TIMBERS (Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET) 

Wednesday’s nightcap has the potential to be an entertaining affair if Darlington Nagbe, Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane return to their respective starting lineups.

The LA Galaxy, who drew with Portland at home in April, are in a bit of a rut. Their only victory since May 8 has come in the Open Cup against amateur side La Maquina. Winning away at Providence Park against a growing Western Conference rival would the perfect cure to their struggles.

Caleb Porter’s Timbers enter Wednesday on a high following a come from behind win over the Dynamo on Sunday. With Nagbe expected to be back in the fold after his Copa America stint with the USMNT, the Timbers could easily carry the attacking momentum into the match and eliminate Bruce Arena’s men from the competition.


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