Saint Louis FC Hosts Minnesota Wednesday In U.S. Open Cup With Sporting KC Match Looming
Saint Louis FC will host Minnesota United this Wednesday at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The game is set to kick off at 7 pm.
The local United Soccer League side will take on the Minnesota entry in the North American Soccer League in a rematch of last year’s third round match. Saint Louis FC was victorious last year in penalty kicks and moved on to face Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer in Kansas City. STLFC fell 1-0 in that game on a goal for U.S. Men’s National Team player Graham Zusi. Sporting KC went on to win the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.
This year, the winner of Wednesday’s game will again take on Sporting Kansas City in the tournament’s fourth round. However, that prize is bigger this year with Sporting visiting the home park of the winner. That game is set for Wednesday, June 15th. A potential game against an MLS side at Marshall Wireless Stadium is a huge carrot for Saint Louis FC, both in financial terms and in notoriety.
Saint Louis FC opened play in this year’s U.S. Open Cup competition with a 2-0 win over AFC Cleveland of the National Premier Soccer League. Jamiel Hardware and Jordan Roberts scored for Saint Louis with Mark Pais making one save in the shutout.
As technically a second-tier U.S. soccer league to USL’s third-tier, NASL teams enter the U.S. Open Cup in the tournament’s second round, making this Minnesota United’s first U.S. Open Cup match this year. The Minnesota squad will move from the NASL in 2017 or 2018 to become an expansion franchise in the MLS.
STLFC’s Mike Ambersely previously played some games for United back in 2013, as he told Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for his column about this upcoming match.
St. Louis’s History In The U.S. Open Cup
The U.S. Open Cup, which began in 1914, is a tournament open to “all affiliated amateur and professional team in the United States,” according to the U.S. Soccer website. St. Louis teams have hoisted the Dewar Challenge Trophy as U.S. Open Cup champions 10 times.
St. Louis was frequently at the top of the tournament in the 1930s with Stix, Baer & Fuller, St. Louis Central Breweries F.C, and the St. Louis Shamrocks making runs in what was then known at the National Challenge Cup. All three of those teams were essentially the same clubs just with different corporate sponsorship.
The top two scorers in U.S. Open Cup history, Billy Gonslaves and Werney Nilsen, played multiple years for St. Louis teams in the decade.
The legendary Billy Gonslaves, known as the “Babe Ruth of American Soccer” was on the Stix, Baer and Fuller teams out of St. Louis that won the tournament in 1933 and 1934. Gonslaves had scored the game-winner in the 1932 final, but as a member of the New Bedford Whalers, who were victorious over that Stix, Baer and Fuller team. Gonslaves would move on to play for St. Louis Shamrocks SC in the 1936 and 1937 competitions, falling both years in the championship game. A native of Rhode Island, Gonslaves represented the United States at the 1930 and 1934 World Cup competitions.
Werner Nilsen was born in Norway, but made his home in St. Louis in the later years of his soccer career. He came with Gonslaves from the New Bedford team in the 1930s and would also play with the Central Breweries FC and Shamrocks sides. He represented the United States at the 1934 World Cup. Nilsen passed away in St. Louis in May of 1992 at the age of 88.
The last St. Louis win came on June 25, 1988 at the same place that fans will gather on Wednesday in support of Saint Louis FC. John Hayes scored the winning goal for Busch in overtime at the then St. Louis Soccer Park in that final game against the Greek Americans out of San Francisco. Hayes didn’t get long to celebrate his and his team’s accomplishment after the game. He had to quickly make his way to his brother’s wedding reception after being a groomsmen in the wedding earlier in the day and playing the game in between.
It’s Time To Pack Marshall Wireless Stadium This Wednesday
Saint Louis FC recently posted a video of the highlights from last year’s game against Minnesota.
STLFC vs Minnesota United 2015 U.S. Open Cup
Tickets are still available for this Wednesday’s pivotal match at SaintLouisFC.com or by calling the team’s ticket office at 636-680-0997. All tickets at Marshall Wireless Stadium for Wednesday’s game are $10 each.
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