Saint Louis FC – Michigan Bucks Winner Hosts Chicago Fire Of MLS In 4th Round Of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Saint Louis FC of the United Soccer League will travel to Pontiac, Michigan this week to take on the Michigan Bucks of the Premiere Development League in the 3rd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The winner of Tuesday’s match will earn the chance to host the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer in the fourth round.
Tuesday’s match between Saint Louis FC and the Michigan Bucks is set for a 7 pm (CST) kickoff at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan.
The match will be streamed for free online and the St. Louligans will be hosting a watch party at International Tap House in Soulard Tuesday night.
It’s Outdoor Soccer Indoors In Michigan
While STLFC’s USL membership puts it in the second tier of soccer in this country, the Bucks play in the Premiere Development League in the fourth tier. However, the Bucks franchise is somewhat of a dynasty on the minor league soccer scene.
Since beginning play in 2005, the Michigan Bucks have won 4 PDL regular season championships, 2 PDL Cup championship and 247 PDL games. They also have seen success in the Open Cup tournament.
In 2000, they became the first amateur team to ever defeat an MLS club when they beat the New England Revolution at Foxboro Stadium. The Bucks against beat an MLS side in 2012 when they defeated the Chicago Fire by a 3-2 score in overtime.
The PDL is considered to be the top amateur soccer league in the country and is the fourth tier of in the U.S. soccer pyramid. This season, it features 72 teams including the Saint Louis FC U-23 team and the St. Louis Lions. 70 percent of all MLS draftees have played in the PDL, according to the league.
It’s safe to say that Preki’s club won’t be playing at a venue like Ultimate Soccer Arenas any other time this season. The Pontiac, Michigan home of the Bucks is an indoor complex that features four full-size soccer fields with Astro-Turf Gameday grass.
While the field doesn’t feature dasher boards just off the sidelines or a three-point arc, there are rafters that the ball has a chance of hitting. How that situation is handled is a game appears to largely be up to the referee.
Atuahene One To Watch For Michigan
In three league games this season, Francis Atuahene leads the team in scoring with three goals. Andre Landell is second on the team with two goals and an assist, which all game in the last game out for Michigan. The Bucks defeated the West Virginia Chaos 6-2 over the weekend.
Atuahene recently completed his sophomore year at the University of Michigan, where he has been named to the All-Big Ten first team in each of his first two college seasons.
Tom Owens wears the captain’s arm band for Michigan. The midfielder is also an assistant coach for the Men’s soccer team at Quincy University.
Too Close For Comfort In Wichita
Saint Louis FC entered the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the second round along with the rest of the USL and North American Soccer League teams. While most of the USL teams advanced, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds did get upset by Chicago Fire United of the PDL. Some other games were close, like the Harrisburg City Islanders and Reno 1868 FC needing penalty kicks to advance.
STLFC didn’t need penalty kicks to beat FC Wichita of NPSL, but they did need extra time. Tyler David was the hero of the game as he put in a goal in second half stoppage time to force the extra soccer. Jose Angulo would score early in the first extra frame to put STLFC on top for good.
Tyler David’s goal came after Angulo had missed a penalty kick that would have tied the game. STLFC was awarded the penalty after a FC Wichita defender dove and used his hand to keep the opposition from tying the game.
It’s nearly impossible to predict what Saint Louis FC head coach Preki will do lineup-wise before his lineup card is filled out. In STLFC’s last outing, a 1-1 draw against Tampa Bay on Saturday, a few changes in that lineup could hint at the squad in Michigan.
Austin Ledbetter and A.J. Cochran were both on the bench in Florida, but neither saw action. STLFC Academy product Aedan Stanley was among those that saw increased minutes over the weekend.
The club’s two leading scorers, Christian Volesky and Angulo, were both substituted midway through the second half. Could that be an indication they might be called upon Tuesday? Forward Milan Petosevic was also absent from Saturday’s lineup.
Adam Grinwis got the start in goal last Saturday. He and Devala Gorrick have split time in goal this season.
This is one start Grinwis is likely campaigning for. He starred in goal for the Bucks for four seasons, winning the PDL Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year and MVP awards during his tenure there. A.J. Cochran and Tony Walls also have spent time playing for the Bucks.
This year’s Open Cup is the third for Saint Louis FC. Last season, the club defeated AFC Cleveland of the NPSL in the second round. In the third round, the club fell to Minnesota United of the NASL in the third round.
STLFC’s first season in the tournament was the club’s most successful. The club beat the PDL’s Des Moines Menace in extra time at Soccer Park in the second round. They then beat the same Minnesota United team in penalty kicks in the third round.
The fourth round saw the club travel to Sporting Park in Kansas City where they fell 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City of MLS.
St. Louis Has Impressive History In Open Cup
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup dates back to 1914, although it hasn’t always gone by the same name. St. Louis made its mark early and often on the tournament.
In 1920, Ben Miller FC brought the championship to St. Louis for the first time with a 2-1 defeat of the Fore River Rovers from Massachusetts at Handlan’s Park in St. Louis. An estimated 12,000 people were on hand at the corner of Laclede and Grand Avenues.
St. Louis teams would go on to make regular appearances in the tournament final throughout the 1920s and ’30s. Scullin Steel took home the Open Cup in 1922, while the Stix Baer & Fuller team did the same in 1933 and 1934. A team sponsored by Central Breweries in St. Louis won the tournament in 1935.
St. Louis teams would in again in 1948, 1950, 1957 and 1986. The last championship for the city came in 1988 when Busch Seniors defeated Greek American SC from San Francisco in extra time at Soccer Park. The tournament was known at the time as the National Challenge Cup.
John Hayes, who scored the game-winner, was playing in the game between being a groomsmen in his brother’s wedding earlier in the day and being late for the wedding reception that night.
The winner of Tuesday’s match between Saint Louis FC and the Michigan Bucks will host the Chicago Fire on June 12 or 13 in the fourth round of the Open Cup.
U.S. Soccer is scheduled to stream Tuesday’s match live. A link was unavailable at the time of this writing. Follow SaintLouisFC on Twitter for a link closer to the start of the match.
Here’s the link for the livestream of tonight’s match between Saint Louis FC and the Michigan Bucks in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
You can join the St. Louligans at International Tap House in Soulard on Tuesday night to watch the match as well.
Brought to you by Mills Apartments