STLFC Takes On Duluth FC In 2nd Round Of Open Cup Tonight
Saint Louis FC will open play in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight in Minnesota against Duluth FC.
The match will take place at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth with kickoff set for 7 pm. It will be streamed by Duluth FC here.
As a USL team, the Chupacabras enter the tournament in what is officially the second round. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest annual team sports tournament in the United States, with the first tournament being played back in 1914.
Amateur club Duluth FC is a member of the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is unofficially seen as being in the fourth tier of the U.S. Soccer pyramid, while the USL is in the second tier. The team beat the Dakota Fusion on penalty kicks in its first round U.S. Open Cup match last week.
Should STLFC win on Wednesday, they will take on the winner of the match between fellow USL club Louisville City FC and the Long Island Rough Riders of the Premier Development League. The Rough Riders are the PDL affiliate of MLS’s New York City FC.
Prize Money Increases For 2018 U.S. Open Cup
The 2018 U.S. Open Cup will feature 94 clubs competing for the Dewar Challenge Trophy. Amateur clubs can qualify for early rounds through their respective leagues and professional clubs enter the knock-out tournament in the later rounds.
The team that wins the tournament takes home $300,000 in prize money and earns a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.
Since the inception of Major League Soccer in 1996, an MLS club has taken the Challenge Trophy every year with the one exception being 1999. That year, the USL’s Rochester Rhinos beat the Colorado Rapids in the final.
The tournament runner-up is set to receive $100,000 this year and each league participating will see the club that makes it furthest in the tournament from that league taking home $25,000.
St. Louis Has Proud History In Open Cup
St. Louis has a storied history in the tournament and STLFC hosted Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire in fourth round of last year’s tournament at World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
A St. Louis team has won the Open Cup, previously known as the National Challenge Cup ten times. The last win came in 1988 when the Busch Seniors beat the San Francisco Greek Americans in overtime at Soccer Park.
Scouting Duluth FC
Duluth FC opened the 2018 NPSL season over the weekend with a draw against Minnesota Twinstars FC. Kyle Farrar, Ivan Adika and Dana Kowachek scored for Duluth, who found themselves down 2-0 at the half and needed a goal in the 4th minute of second-half stoppage time to earn the draw.
Wednesday night’s match is seen as a big opportunity for Duluth FC. For the players, it is their chance to knock off a professional club. And one that shares a color scheme and at fleur de lis at that. DJ Bisogno has a good write-up over at E Pluribus Loonum on the soccer landscape in Duluth. He also talked to Stuart Hultgren of the St. Louligans.
Joel Person is in his first year coaching Duluth FC. He’s also the head men’s soccer coach at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.
Kyle Farrar wears the captain’s armband for Person. The London-born forward led the team in scoring last season with 14 total goals in 15 games, including scoring once in the team’s playoff game.
Farrar and defender Gonnie Ben-Tal were named to the All-NPSL Second Team after last season.
What To Expect From Saint Louis FC
Anthony Pulis and company have a bye week on the USL schedule this week, playing next in Colorado Springs on May 26. While not much is know about Pulis’ lineup plans for Wednesday night, expect him to try and give minutes to some players who haven’t been featured as much this season and give others extra rest before the next USL match.
Speaking of rest, both Pulis and Jonathan Barden will receive some extra rest, as announced today by the USL. Player and coach will each be suspended one match, Barden for his red card against Orange County SC and Pulis for “irresponsible behaviour,” as the league calls it, after the card was shown.
Follow Saint Louis FC on Twitter to be the first to know about tonight’s Starting XI.
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