U.S. Open Cup Update

San Antonio’s 2017 Open Cup run is over

San Antonio FC’s (SAFC) run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup ended in the Third Round when they suffered a bitter loss to fellow USL side, Tulsa Roughnecks, 0-0 (7-6 penalties) Wednesday night in Oklahoma. As has been the case most of the year, its opponents controlled possession, but SAFC was unable to break the Roughnecks down like they have done with others in the regular season.  Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda converted a penalty and made two penalty saves, including a stop against fellow goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, to secure the victory and the chance to play FC Dallas in the Fourth Round. SAFC Head coach Darren Powell was fairly matter-of-fact about the loss in comments on the San Antonio website after the match.

“It was a very tight game,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We felt we had chances in both halves that we could have taken advantage of. We defended solidly again and it went down to the wire, and it ended in eight rounds of penalties.” 

Fourth Round sees MLS clubs join the competition

Texas MLS Teams now enter the U.S. Open Cup competition in the Fourth Round. Both FC Dallas and the Dynamo play their first 2017 games in this competition on Wednesday, June 14.

  • Tulsa heads to Dallas to play FCD at Westcott Field on the Southern Methodist University Campus.
  • The Dynamo travels to North Carolina to play NASL side, North Carolina FC, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

Bulletin board material for Houston Dynamo

North Carolina FC midfielder Nazmi Albadawi is certainly confident about its chances against the Dynamo.  In an article in the Raleigh News and Observer by correspondent Brennan Doherty (@Brennan_Doherty), Albadawi was pretty certain where he and other NASL players fit in the pecking order in the North American soccer landscape when compared to those playing in MLS:

“I think the quality is very similar; I think there are small differences,” Albadawi said. “I think MLS teams have certain players that are being paid millions of dollars and those are usually the ones that make the difference.”

Interesting comment from somebody who has never played in MLS.  To be fair, he has a point and 10 years ago there might have been some truth to his statement.  It wasn’t that long ago that some soccer players deliberately stepped down because they could make more money playing in NASL, when combined with youth coaching and camps, etc.  MLS salaries for entry level players and those lower on the roster were very low at that time. This is no longer the case, at least for those players who occupy the top 2/3 places on MLS rosters and count against the salary cap.   He is right that high salaried players are difference makers, but I believe Albadawi seriously underestimates how good the MLS “middle class” has become and the increased level of competition to make a regular season game day roster. That aside, the Dynamo’s road form and history of losing away games in this competition mean that this game will definitely be a struggle.  A North Carolina “upset” would not be a surprise.

Where is Colin Clarke now? 

Colin Clarke, who was the head coach of FC Dallas (41-39-20 regular season record) from late in the 2003 season to 2006 is the head coach of North Carolina FC.  Clarke has been head coach at the Carolina NASL club since 2011.  Clarke first joined FCD as an assistant in 2001 when they were called the Dallas Burn.

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