Open Cup: Plenty of stars remain on NASL-backed entrants

Three NPSL teams that have ties to clubs that played in the NASL open play in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup on Sunday in play-in games approved after the schedule was initially set.

The Jacksonville Armada entered a team in the NPSL, where its previously fielded its U-23s. The New York Cosmos B returns for its fourth season in the NPSL. Miami FC formed Miami FC 2 for its first NPSL season though it is referring to its Open Cup entrant as "Miami FC."

Brooklyn Italians vs. New York Cosmos B (at LIU Brooklyn). The New York Cosmos B opened their NPSL season with an impressive 4-0 win at Boston City FC in Carlos Mendes’ coaching debut. Darwin Espinal, who has spent time in the NASL and USL, scored two first-half goals. The Cosmos B also feature former U.S. international Danny Szetela, who played for the Cosmos, former Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert and Rafael Garcia, who played for the LA Galaxy.

Opponent: The Brooklyn Italians, founded in 1949, played in the Cosmopolitan League when they won the Open Cup in 1979 (as the Brooklyn Dodgers) and in 1991. Their alumni include former U.S. national team players Michael Windischmann, Hubert Birkenmeier and Tab Ramos, current Mexico national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio and Toronto FC president Bill Manning.

The Villages SC vs. Jacksonville Armada (at Jacksonville University). The Armada opened its NPSL season with a 1-1 tie with Miami FC 2. Its only goal was scored by Wesley Charpie, who played in the USL with Toronto FC II and Saint Louis FC. The Armada's squad includes former MLS player Conor Doyle and Mechack Jerome, who was a 2017 NASL Best XI selection with the Armada.

Opponent: The Villages SC is in its third season in the PDL, where it has yet to open its season. The Armada has never faced the Villages, but its U-23s beat the PDL team, 2-1, in the first round in 2017.

FC Miami City vs. Miami FC 2 (at Tropical Park). Of the 26 players on the Miami FC 2 roster, 19 have played in the Open Cup. And 12 have five or more appearances. Jaime Chavez, Miami FC's all-time leading scorer, has four goals in six Open Cup matches. Four NASL Best XI selections -- Daniel Vega, Mason Trafford, Dylan Mares and Vincenzo Rennella -- remain from Miami FC, which reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 Open Cup.

Opponent: FC Miami City and Miami FC 2 have already played twice this season, tying 1-1 both times in NPSL play.
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