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U.S. Open Cup Brings Rivalries and Underdogs to Fore
Soccerbyives.net , June 30th, 2009 3:30PM

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One of the biggest rivalries in American soccer will be rekindled as longtime foes Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC highlight the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In their first meeting since Seattle's "promotion" to MLS, the high-flying Sounders will travel to PGE Park to take on a Timbers team that has lost only once in USL First Division play this season. The Timbers, coming off a 4-0 drubbing of the Montreal Impact, should prove a stern test for Sigi Schmid's men.

The Sounders-Timbers rivalry is just one of the local matchups on the schedule, with USL newcomers Austin Aztex taking on Western Conference power Houston Dynamo. Austin got past another Texan foe in the second round, defeating the El Paso Patriots 2-0. The Cinderella story of the tournament, the Ocean City Barons, a PDL team from New Jersey, meet MLS power D.C. United. The Wilmington Hammerheads and Harrisburg City Islanders, the only two USL Second Division teams remaining, will take on Chicago Fire and New England Revolution respectively. Neither USL team should be taken lightly; the Hammerheads have twice advanced past the third round (2003, 2006), and the City Islanders won their third round match as recently as 2007.

Rounding out the third round are three MLS/USL First Division tilts: Kansas City Wizards will travel north to face the Minnesota Thunder, currently in last place in USL-1. The Columbus Crew will play host to the Rochester Rhinos, and Chivas USA will head east to take on the Charleston Battery.

 

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