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Getting to know the U.S. Open Cup underdogs

May 14, 2013, 1:08 PM EDT

US Open Cup web link

Tonight, four amateur teams will begin their improbable journey to the U.S. Open Cup final.

Okay, so maybe they won’t get that far… but who says they can’t emulate Cal FC’s fairytale run in 2012?

So it’s only fair that we take the time out to salute them for their journey so far, and get to know a little bit about them.

Four teams have advanced from the regional tournaments, hosted by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA), and find themselves in action tonight as the first-round proper of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup begins.

17 games will kick off across the country this evening, as the Open Cup celebrates 100 years as a competition. If you want to check in on all the latest scores, use the hashtag #USOC100 on Twitter to keep up to date with all the games.

Now let’s take a look at these minnows looking to create a splash:

Winning the USASA Region III, the North Texas Rayados are certainly making a name for themselves. The club was only founded in 2011 but two straight trips to the Open Cup has seen their stock rise dramatically. The team was set up by two players from Richland College in Dallas, and several of the originals still remain. NTX Rayados face the Austin Aztex of the PDL with a home-game against USL Pro outfit Wilmington Hammerheads the prize if they reach the second round.

Another amateur side hoping to make it to the second round is Mass Premier Soccer. The Massachusetts side have former New England Revolution defender Sam Brill on their squad, after the BC product spent time playing professionally in Germany and Sweden after college. The plethora of top college programs in the area allows MPS to attract plenty of talented players. At the moment they boast players from Harvard, Dartmouth, BC, Northeastern, PC, Williams, and Middlebury. MPS face GPS Portland Phoenix tonight at 8pm to battle it out for a spot in the second round.

A huge task awaits Doxa Italia tonight, as they take on the Seattle Sounders U-23 side. Former New England player Bryan Byrne is the player-manager of the Manhattan Beach, Calif. based club. The team went undefeated during their 2012 league season, which included beating local rivals Cal FC, who of course, we all know about after their improbable run to the fourth round last season. Doxa will be hoping to emulate that success this season.

Finally, the last remaining USASA side in Open Cup action is Dearborn Stars. They became just the third team from the Michigan Soccer Association to qualify for the Open Cup in the modern era, following Detroit clubs Chaldean Arsenal and Detroit United. They qualified from Region II amongst much confusion, after games were cancelled, non-regulation pitches were used and plenty of off-field drama ensued. Hamoody Saad (the brother of Sporting KC striker Soony Saad) is a star up front and plenty of other talented attackers adorn Dearborn’s ranks. They face perhaps the toughest task of all against the Michigan Bucks, the only amateur team to beat two MLS sides in their history.

  1. rico4 - May 14, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Thanks for the article. It’s always good when the amateur teams get a little love. However, there are eight USASA teams in the field — each of the regions get two berths.

    The other four are New Jersey’s Icon FC from Region I (Danny Szetela plays for them); Illinois’ RWB Adria from Region II; Florida’s Red Force from Region III; and PSA Elite from Region IV. has information on each of the teams if people want to learn more.

  2. Dan - May 14, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I will say it one more time so we can refer back to it later… Watch for Charleston Battery to make a lengthy run in the USOC. Quality, pace and depth.

    • charliej11 - May 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Who is the next future “Best Player in MLS” coming out of Charleston ?

      Just as long as they don’t beat the Sounders in the semis like when OA played for them.

      • Dan - May 14, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        charliej11 – There are a couple. Dane Kelly from Jamaica comes to mind. Nicki Patterson is solid but may be happy where he is. Austin Savage was just signed this year out of Clemson and, in a couple of years, could be one to watch.

        Between Ozzie Alonso and Lamar Neagle… Good stuff coming out of Charleston.

      • cgerstl - May 14, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        Keep an eye on Jose Cuevas. USL Pro ROY last season. Has had a shaky start to this season but is still a heck of a player.

        I’m a Battery fan, so it’s nice to see my club’s accomplishments recognized.

  3. Joe Prince-Wright - May 14, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Thanks rico4. Glad you appreciate the love for the amateur teams.

    No bias, but just wanted to pick out four of the eight amateur teams in particular to highlight their journey and see a bit of their background.

    Hopefully we can cover more of the smaller sides in the coming rounds of the Open Cup, as they meet the big boys from MLS! Fingers crossed.

  4. Dan - May 14, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Nice to see another Battyer fan here, cgerstl!!!

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