Cupset season is here! The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is America's most prestigious soccer trophy -- no, really -- it's been around more than a century and any team in the nation, from any level, could win. The Cup is the Holy Grail for lower league clubs like fourth-tier NPSL side El Farolito Soccer Club -- named for a restaurant chain in the San Francisco area.
The tournament is rife with stress for top-division managers, fearful their sides will stumble to an underdog. Inter Miami coach Phil Neville last year called the Herons' first-ever U.S. Open Cup match with second-division side Miami FC "a banana skin."
La RosaNegra didn't slip last year, riding Leo Campana's goal to a 1-0 victory.
Miami's other team (yes, Inter plays in Fort Lauderdale; just go with it, OK?) Miami's other team gets another chance at 7:30 ET Wednesday, April 26, at FIU Stadium in a third-round rematch.
One hundred teams are competing in this year's edition of the Cup tournament, with lower division clubs fighting their way through qualifying competitions last fall. MLS teams are pitted against non-MLS opposition in the third round, guaranteeing 18 chances for a lower division club to spring a Cup upset and make a run at the prize. The most recent example: Sacramento Republic FC of the USL Championship took down Sporting Kansas City, the LA Galaxy, and the San Jose Earthquakes before hanging with eventual winners Orlando City on level terms for more than 70 minutes in last year's final.
The Republic weren’t alone: USL League One side Union Omaha knocked the Chicago Fire and Minnesota United out of the competition, advancing despite being the road team in both matches. Four MLS teams fell to lower-tier opponents in last year’s third round, while eight such upsets happened during the course of the tournament.
Forty-eight teams will contest this year’s third round, with the 24 winners joining MLS’s top eight clubs from the 2022 regular season in next month’s round of 32.