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The 104th edition of the U.S. Open Cup kicks off Tuesday and Wednesday, so I put together capsules for all 99 teams in this year's competition. Enjoy!

Thank you in advance for reading. Remember to subscribe to /usopencup for more U.S. Open Cup news and discussion, make your predictions, and follow USOC_Matchday's threads during the action.
For the Cup!
AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Michigan Bucks (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch AFC Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor is truly a soccer club made by the fans and for the fans. The Mighty Oak started as an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, and now in its third season enjoys strong local support in its Michigan home.
AFC Cleveland (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Des Moines Menace (8:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch AFC Cleveland: Cleveland are the defending champions of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), having defeated Sonoma County Sol to win their first-ever national championship.
Albion SC Pros (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Chula Vista FC (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Albion SC Pros: San Diego-based Albion have made no secret of their desire to move up in the soccer world. Earlier this year, Chris Kivlehan revealed in an article for the Midfield Press that Albion are bidding to get an NASL team.
Anahuac FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Sonoma County Sol (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Anahuac FC: When Las Vegas-based Anahuac take the field Wednesday night, they'll become the first team from Nevada to play in the U.S. Open Cup's modern era (1993-present). Fellow Nevadans Reno 1868 will be the second, since they start in the second round.
Atlanta Silverbacks (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 11-12-2
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2014)
First Match: Wednesday vs SC United Bantams (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Atlanta Silverbacks: The Silverbacks dropped out of the professional ranks of the NASL following the 2015 season, but they still have several players from those days, including center back Abdul Bangura, midfielderight back Ferrety Sousa, and midfielder Alex Harlley. If they win a few games, they could potentially get the opportunity to play the new Atlanta United FC.
Atlanta United FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch Atlanta United: Atlanta United's depth hasn't been tested so far in its inaugural MLS season, and this could be the chance for them to show off. 16-year-old Andrew Carleton has impressed for U.S. youth teams, and perhaps manager Tata Martino will give him his chance.
Azteca FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at FC Wichita (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Azteca FC: Relative unknowns from Denver, Azteca might be able to provide a surprise in this year's Open Cup. They knocked off Harpo's FC (famous as the "BS Pub Team" in qualifying.
Boca Raton FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Miami United (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Boca Raton FC: BRFC are moving up in the world. They started their first season in the NPSL last week (a 1-0 loss to Round 1 opponents Miami United) and are building even further. The Florida team's manager, Athirson, earned five caps for Brazil, and midfielder Edmar has earned 15 caps for Ukraine (yeah, seriously).
Boston City FC (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Western Mass Pioneers (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Boston City: Playing its first game just last year, Boston has gained plaudits for building within the local community. If they pull off a few upsets, the could be looking at a game against next-door neighbors New England Revolution.
Burlingame Dragons (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-2-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Wednesday at El Farolito (6:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Burlingame Dragons: Long-time MLS veteran Joe Cannon has signed on to coach Burlingame this year, who act as an affiliate to the San Jose Earthquakes. The team from Northern California has developed a reputation for producing MLS players in its short existence, including San Jose's Nick Lima, who has broken into the starting lineup this year at right back.
Carolina Dynamo (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 10-11-1
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1996)
First Match: Wednesday vs Legacy 76 (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Carolina Dynamo: Quite simply put, the Dynamo have had the worst crest in this competition for a number of years. Just look at it! How can you even justify that? They're also celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, which is actually pretty cool.
Charleston Battery (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 29-14-6
Best Finish: Final (2008)
First Match: Round 2 at Atlanta Silverbacks or vs SC United Bantams
Why You Need to Watch the Charleston Battery: Charleston are one of the most historic teams playing in this year's Open Cup. They were founded in 1993, and since that time they've had more Open Cup wins than any non-MLS team save Rochester.
Charlotte Eagles (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 11-13-0
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2012)
First Match: Wednesday vs Chattanooga FC
Why You Need to Watch the Charlotte Eagles: Before the Independence (below) joined USL, the Charlotte Eagles operated as a professional team. They started play in 1993, and have produced current pro stars such as Christian Ramirez and Clint Irwin. As you can tell from their crest, the Eagles are very much rooted in the Christian faith.
Charlotte Independence (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-2-0
Best Finish: Round 5 (2015)
First Match: Round 2 at Charlotte Eagles or Chattanooga FC
Why You Need to Watch the Charlotte Independence: Charlotte are one of many cities that have put their name in the hat for the next round of MLS expansion. Their bid appears to be on the fringes at the moment, but a strong Open Cup run might push them into the limelight. They might also face in-state rival North Carolina FC for the third year running - they'll be desperate for revenge after suffering a 4-1 defeat last year.
Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-4-4
Best Finish: Round 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Charlotte Eagles (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chattanooga FC: Although they play in the fourth-division NPSL, Chattanooga have attracted record numbers to watch their games. In 2015, 18,227 fans came to watch their NPSL final. They've developed a bit of a reputation as giant-killers in the Open Cup, knocking off several pro teams (some via penalty shootouts).
Chicago FC United (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Grand Rapids FC (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chicago FC United: Unfortunately, I can't really get a handle on who exactly FC United are. Certainly, they have one of the most original names in the competition. It looks like it's a Development Academy club that's partnered with the Chicago Fire, but they haven't even played a game in the PDL yet (notice the photo I used is from an academy kid). From my research, it looks like they took the Open Cup spot from the former Chicago Fire PDL.
Chicago Fire SC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 40-14-3
Best Finish: Champions (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Chicago Fire: The Fire are undoubtedly the "Kings of the Cup." They've won it four times, on par for the most ever, and they have more Open Cup wins than any team in the modern era (1995-present). It's been 11 years since their last victory, though, and fans are getting hungry.
Christos FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Fredericksburg FC (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Christos FC: Christos are a dominant power in the world of amateur soccer, and now, 20 years after their founding, Christos makes its debut in the U.S. Open Cup. The Maryland-based club is the current holder of both the Werner Fricker Open Cup and USASA Amateur Cup, two of the most prestigious trophies for amateur teams.
Chula Vista FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2015)
First Match: Wednesday at Albion SC Pros (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chula Vista: During their Open Cup debut in 2015, Chula Vista were labeled the "ultimate Cinderella story." Back then, a rag-tag bunch of amateurs travelled to Scottsdale and beat USL Arizona United 3-0. Now a known product, Chula Vista will try to re-create their magic run.
Clarkstown SC Eagles (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Reading United AC (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Clarkstown SC Eagles: Based in New York, Clarkstown are mostly a development club for younger players. After making the NPSL national semifinals, they're looking to do one better than last year, when they fell to Jersey Express in Round 1.
Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 12-16-0
Best Finish: Final (1999)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Rapids: A year after the best regular season in club history, Colorado has sunk to the bottom of the barrel in MLS. A winning streak in the Open Cup could be the impetus for a season turnaround, but an upset loss could be another body blow.
Colorado Rush (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at FC Tucson (9:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Rush: The Rush are a prominent youth club in Colorado, and one of their most successful products, Collin Clark, has come back to play for them after an 8-year career in MLS. The Rush will also feature Adam Hudson, who will feature in his first ever Open Cup at a ripe 40 years old.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-2-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs FC Tucson/Colorado Rush
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Springs Switchbacks: In their two-year history, the Switchbacks have been the point of no return for potential giant slayers, but haven't been able to flip the script as underdogs. Both years, they've beaten tiny Harpo's FC (who didn't qualify this year), but eventually lost to the Colorado Rapids. Can this be the year one of those stories changes?
Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 22-13-3
Best Finish: Champions (2002)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Columbus Crew: Coming off a down year, the Crew remain on the hunt for its first major trophy since 2009 (Supporters' Shield). Winning the Open Cup this year would give them a much-needed lift, as well as their first CONCACAF Champions League appearance since the 2010-11 season.
D.C. United (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 31-12-5
Best Finish: Champions (1996, 2008, 2013)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch D.C. United: D.C. had a miserable outing in the 2016 edition of the Open Cup, ousted on penalties by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a club that is now on hiatus and probably defunct. But United have history behind them, and it's been four years since they made the quarterfinals. Perhaps this is the moment.
Derby City Rovers (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Derby City: With the introduction of the USL's Louisville City FC in 2015, Derby City became the smaller club in Louisville. The two haven't actually played each other in a competitive match, yet. If Derby City advance past the first round, they'll have a date with their noisy neighbors, and a chance to pull off a massive upset.
Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 13-10-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2005)
First Match: Wednesday vs AFC Cleveland (8:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Des Moines Menace: The Menace, a small team from the middle of Iowa, are one of the most decorated non-professional clubs in America. They're famous for pulling off upsets and knocking out lower-league professional teams in the Open Cup. In 2005, they got past three pro teams before losing to the Kansas City Wizards of MLS. The goal will be no different this year for the Cup veterans.
El Farolito (Local Qualfier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-0-0
Best Finish: Champions (1993)
First Match: Wednesday vs Burlingame Dragons (6:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch El Farolito: Although they're a little bit of a mystery this time around, El Farolito won the competition in 1993 before MLS was around. Is it possible that the San Francisco club pulls off another upset this time around? Only time will tell.
FC Cincinnati (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs AFC Cleveland or at Des Moines Menace
Why You Need to Watch FC Cincinnati: Since first taking the field in 2016, FC Cincy has developed a reputation for having the highest attendance numbers in America below MLS. The club averaged over 17,000 fans per match in its inaugural season. Some of them will surely make their way to see Cincinnati play in the Open Cup this year.
FC Dallas (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 31-16-6
Best Finish: Champions (1997, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch FC Dallas: The defending champs are back and ready to win another one. Dallas has relied on youth to become one of the best teams in MLS over the past several years, and it paid dividends when the Hoops lifted the Open Cup at home last year. Argentine striker Maxi Urruti scored three goals during that run, and Dallas may look to him to provide another spark in 2017.
FC Golden State Force (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Outbreak SC (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Golden State Force: Based near Los Angeles, the Force are off to a flyer after beating San Francisco City FC 4-0 in their opening match. They've also got Dominic Oduro on their team. No, not that Dominic Oduro. The other one.
FC Motown (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at New Jersey Copa (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Motown: Located in Morristown, New Jersey (near New York City), the Celtics come in as first-time entrants to the Open Cup after knocking out Lansdowne Bhoys (who beat USL Pittsburgh in last year's Cup) in qualifying. They're coached by former New York Red Bulls Homegrown Sacir Hot, who says that making it this far on the team's first attempt is a "tremendous achievement."
FC Tucson (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-3-1
Best Finish: Round 3 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs Colorado Rush (9:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Tucson: Once upon a time, FC Tucson made a great run. Well, it wasn't that long ago - back in 2013, second-year Tucson knocked out two pro teams en route to a match against MLS' Houston Dynamo. They fell 0-2, and have struggled since, winning just one Open Cup match since then. This year provides an opportunity for the Arizonans to rise up again and make another memorable challenge to American soccer's élite.
FC Wichita (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday vs Azteca FC (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Wichita: Wichita, Kansas is probably too small of a city to ever receive an MLS team. It does, however, have a local NPSL team it can be proud of. FC Wichita were runners-up in the /MLS Best Crest contest, and they've been building toward a first Open Cup win.
Fredericksburg FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-1
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday vs Christos FC (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Wichita: Formed after the 2013 season as a merger between RVA FC and Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association, FFC has been a dominant force in Northern Virginia. If they win in the first round, they'll have the opportunity to host the Richmond Kickers in what would be a massive local derby.
Fresno Fuego (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-4-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2003)
First Match: Wednesday vs La Máquina (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Fresno Fuego: Don't sleep on the Fuego. The California team has one of the biggest fanbases of any non-professional team in the U.S., and enjoyed huge support in their home opener as they took down fellow Open Cup entrants Burlingame Dragons 4-0.
GPS Omens (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at GPS Portland Phoenix (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch GPS Omens: The Massachusetts-based GPS Omens are one of the more interesting teams in this year's competition, many of them former Ivy League college players described as "white-collar underdogs." They played a friendly against AS Roma in August, which drew the attention of the U.S. Soccer media team.
GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-3-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs GPS Omens (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch GPS Portland Phoenix: The only team in this year's competition from Maine, the Phoenix will play another club from the Global Premier Soccer community when they face off against GPS Omens Wednesday. Portland have qualified for the Open Cup four times now, but have struggled to advance past Round 1.
Grand Rapids FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Chicago FC United (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Grand Rapids FC: Grand Rapids FC is a club that grew out of the grassroots, and has drawn thousands of spectators in its two years of existence. In December, MLive reported that the Michigan club are in talks with investors to move the team to the USL.
Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 17-9-3
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
First Match: Round 2 at Ocean City Nor'easters/Junior Lone Star FC
Why You Need to Watch Harrisburg City Islanders: Harrisburg, located in Pennsylvania, has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the Open Cup, having knocked off a few MLS clubs in its time. They've developed a bit of a rivalry with the nearby Philadelphia Union, but have lost all three of the teams' Open Cup matchups.
Houston Dutch Lions FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs NTX Rayados (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Houston Dutch Lions: Also known simply as Dutch Lions FC, this team is part of a larger network of Dutch Lion clubs that, at one time, included a USL Pro team in Dayton. They've been in operation since 2012, but only qualified for the Open Cup after moving to the NPSL (from the PDL) last year and finishing second in the South Central division.
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 10-9-1
Best Finish: Semifinals (2006, 2009)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Houston Dynamo: Historically, Houston's MLS club has underperformed in the Open Cup, often overcome by other MLS sides playing with stronger teams. Still, young striker Mauro Manotas scored three goals last year, and he could be a catalyst for the Dynamo as they look to finally get one past Texan rivals FC Dallas, who knocked them out en route to winning the Open Cup in 2016.
Indy Eleven (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-2-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2014, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Michigan Bucks/AFC Ann Arbor
Why You Need to Watch Indy Eleven: Well, first off, you need to watch Indy Eleven because they're my team! Aside from that, though, we've got some cool stuff to look out for. Gerardo Torrado (pictured), Mexico's second-most capped player of all time, is still going strong in the midfield. Crowd support is the strongest in the NASL, and Indy has developed a slight rivalry with Louisville, who have exchanged victories in the past two editions of the Open Cup.
Jacksonville Armada FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-2-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Miami United or vs Boca Raton FC
Why You Need to Watch the Jacksonville Armada: After owner Mark Frisch left the Armada last year, the club's future was thrown up in the air after only two seasons. The NASL has taken control of the team this year while it looks for investors, and hosting an Open Cup game against an MLS team might just show the potential of the team in the future.
Jacksonville Armada U-23 (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs The Villages SC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Jacksonville Armada U-23s: With its parent club in turmoil, the Armada U-23s will enter their first U.S. Open Cup hoping to defy the odds. A win would give them a date against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, re-igniting (well, sort of) an old NASL rivalry.
Junior Lone Star FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Ocean City Nor'easters (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Junior Lone Star FC: This team is probably one of my favorites in the Cup this year. If you haven't heard their story yet, go and read up on it. They're a team created in 2001 by refugees from Liberia, who found their place in a park in Philadelphia. This year, they'll get the chance to show what they can do on a big stage.
L.A. Galaxy (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 28-14-1
Best Finish: Champions (2001, 2005)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch L.A. Galaxy: The Galaxy are historically the most successful club in MLS (five MLS cups, two Open Cups, four Supporters' Shields), and they usually sport some of the league's biggest names (currently Giovani dos Santos; previously Steven Gerrard, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, etc). After a slow start to the season, the stars could really start to shine in the Open Cup.
La Máquina (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-1-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Fresno Fuego (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch La Máquina: "The Machine" (named for Mexican club Cruz Azul) are back for a second consecutive year, and looking to cause mayhem once again. Striker Edwin Borboa, who co-lead the 2016 Cup with five goals, is returning, along with others from a team that took the L.A Galaxy to extra time before giving up an infamously sneaky goal.
Legacy 76 (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Carolina Dynamo (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Legacy 76: Founded in 2002 as the Williamsburg Legacy, Virginia's Legacy 76 have been waiting 15 years for the opportunity to play in an Open Cup. Finally, they have it. With a win, they'll get to host a match against pro side North Carolina FC.
Louisville City FC (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-2-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015)
First Match: Round 2 vs Derby City Rovers or at Tartan Devils Oak Avalon
Why You Need to Watch Louisville City: Louisville have been on the rise since their inaugural season in 2015, averaging over 7,000 fans per game last year and finishing near the top of the USL standings. After falling short in Indianapolis last year, they'll be looking forward to regaining their footing.
Miami FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs Red Force FC/South Florida Surf
Why You Need to Watch Miami FC: Miami FC are probably the biggest spenders in American soccer outside of MLS, and this Open Cup will give them the chance to prove they're the best team outside of MLS as well. Players such as Kwadwo Poku, Dylan Mares, and Richie Ryan have taken Miami to the top of the NASL early on. They're also coached by Italian soccer legend Alessandro Nesta, and co-owned by Nesta's former teammate Paolo Maldini.
Miami United FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2015)
First Match: Wednesday vs Boca Raton FC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Miami United: Miami United may not even be the biggest club from their own city in this tournament, but that doesn't mean they're lacking ambition in any way. Last year they made headlines by signing Brazilian veteran Adriano (admittedly, it was probably mostly a publicity stunt), and this year they've started off the NPSL season brilliantly.
Michigan Bucks (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 13-11-2
Best Finish: Round 4 (2012)
First Match: Wednesday vs AFC Ann Arbor (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Michigan Bucks: The Bucks are historic Open Cup entrants, with a better record in the tournament than any other non-professional team. They're the only team to have upset two MLS teams, knocking out the New England Revolution in 2000 and the Chicago Fire in 2012. They also won the PDL's national championship last year, so they'll be a team to look out for.
Minnesota United FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 5-5-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2014, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch Minnesota United: New to MLS, the Loons have typically underperformed in the Open Cup in the past as a lower-league side. They did upset MLS opposition once (2012; Real Salt Lake), but could never quite go on a big run. Now playing with an improved roster, Minnesota will aim to match the pedigree of their predecessors, the Minnesota Thunder, who made it to the quarterfinals in 2004 and the semifinals in 2005.
Moreno Valley Fútbol Club (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Ventura County Fusion (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Moreno Valley: Moreno Valley FC, representing southern California, only formed in 2015, but since that time have taken the California amateur scene by storm. "Mo Val" are reigning amateur champions of the U.S. western region, and came in fourth in the national amateur cup. The could be an upset candidate in the early rounds of their first Open Cup.
New England Revolution (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 17-12-5
Best Finish: Champions (2007)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the New England Revolution: Although usually trapped in the cavernous Gillette Stadium, the Revs typically take Open Cup home games as opportunities to host nearer to Boston. This can help create a more intimate atmosphere, one that helped lead New England to the Open Cup final last year, where they lost to FC Dallas.
New Jersey Copa FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Motown FC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch New Jersey Copa: Another new-ish club making its debut in the Open Cup, New Jersey Copa only got its start in the NPSL last year, but their academy has been developing players since 2006. This tournament could provide a kickstart to the club on the national scene.
New York City FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch New York City FC: Here's a fun fact for you: NYCFC have fewer Open Cup wins than the Fort Myers Manatees, the Syracuse Salty Dogs, and the Delaware Wizards. Now, none of those teams exist anymore, but City do, and this year they'll be looking for their HISTORIC first-ever Open Cup win. There's no doubt they'll want to claim it at the hands of the New York Cosmos, who have knocked NYCFC out twice in a row.
New York Cosmos (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 5-3-1
Best Finish: Round 5 (2014, 2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Reading United AC or vs Clarkstown SC Eagles
Why You Need to Watch the New York Cosmos: Things have gotten exceedingly stale for the Cosmos in the Open Cup these past three years. Win your first game against an amateur team, knock out a bitter New York MLS rival, and then tumble to defeat just before the quarterfinals. Under new ownership this year, the Cosmos don't look quite as good, but the goal remains the same: Show you can compete with the best, and dominate in the Open Cup.
New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 18-17-2
Best Finish: Final (2003)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the New York Red Bulls: For an MLS team, the Red Bulls have an abysmal record in the Open Cup taking wins mostly off lower-league teams and generally failing to make deep runs in the tournament. The Bulls have never won the Open Cup or MLS Cup, a fact that is well-known among their supporters and their rivals. New York Red Bulls II won the USL last year, so look for a few of their players to feature as the Red Bulls try to make history.
North Carolina FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 16-8-2
Best Finish: Semifinals (2007)
First Match: Round 2 at Carolina Dynamo/Legacy 76
Why You Need to Watch North Carolina FC: Formerly known as the Carolina RailHawks, NCFC are by far the NASL's most successful Open Cup entrant. They've built up a history of upsets, including three consecutive wins over the L.A. Galaxy from 2012-14. Add in the intrigue surrounding the team from its MLS bid, as well as some of its very good players (Lance Laing has been a standout this year) and we could be looking at a real dark horse.
NTX Rayados (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-4-2
Best Finish: Round 3 (2014)
First Match: Wednesday at Houston Dutch Lions (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch NTX Rayados: NTX (North Texas) Rayados are an amateur powerhouse, and this Open Cup isn't their first go-around. They've qualified every year since 2012, though they're yet to win a game outright (NTX knocked off the Austin Aztex on penalties in 2014). Last year, they were disqualified on a technicality, so the chance to avenge themselves Wednesday will feel extra sweet.
Continued in the comment section below...
submitted by TheMonsieur to MLS [link] [comments]

The 104th edition of the U.S. Open Cup (our version of the FA Cup) kicks off Tuesday and Wednesday, so I put together capsules for all 99 teams in this year's competition. Enjoy!

Thank you in advance for reading. Remember to subscribe to /usopencup for more U.S. Open Cup news and discussion, make your predictions, and follow USOC_Matchday's threads during the action.
Quick primer on acronyms:
MLS: Major League Soccer, American 1st division NASL: North American Soccer League, American 2nd division (provisional status - used to be the sole 2nd division) USL: United Soccer League, American 2nd division (provisional status - used the be the 3rd division) NPSL: National Premier Soccer League, national pro-amateur league PDL: Premier Development League: national pro-amateur league Local Qualifiers: Other amateur teams that made it in
For the Cup!
AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Michigan Bucks (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch AFC Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor is truly a soccer club made by the fans and for the fans. The Mighty Oak started as an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, and now in its third season enjoys strong local support in its Michigan home.
AFC Cleveland (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Des Moines Menace (8:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch AFC Cleveland: Cleveland are the defending champions of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), having defeated Sonoma County Sol to win their first-ever national championship.
Albion SC Pros (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Chula Vista FC (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Albion SC Pros: San Diego-based Albion have made no secret of their desire to move up in the soccer world. Earlier this year, Chris Kivlehan revealed in an article for the Midfield Press that Albion are bidding to get an NASL team.
Anahuac FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Sonoma County Sol (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Anahuac FC: When Las Vegas-based Anahuac take the field Wednesday night, they'll become the first team from Nevada to play in the U.S. Open Cup's modern era (1993-present). Fellow Nevadans Reno 1868 will be the second, since they start in the second round.
Atlanta Silverbacks (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 11-12-2
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2014)
First Match: Wednesday vs SC United Bantams (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Atlanta Silverbacks: The Silverbacks dropped out of the professional ranks of the NASL following the 2015 season, but they still have several players from those days, including center back Abdul Bangura, midfielderight back Ferrety Sousa, and midfielder Alex Harlley. If they win a few games, they could potentially get the opportunity to play the new Atlanta United FC.
Atlanta United FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch Atlanta United: Atlanta United's depth hasn't been tested so far in its inaugural MLS season, and this could be the chance for them to show off. 16-year-old Andrew Carleton has impressed for U.S. youth teams, and perhaps manager Tata Martino will give him his chance.
Azteca FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at FC Wichita (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Azteca FC: Relative unknowns from Denver, Azteca might be able to provide a surprise in this year's Open Cup. They knocked off Harpo's FC (famous as the "BS Pub Team" in qualifying.
Boca Raton FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Miami United (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Boca Raton FC: BRFC are moving up in the world. They started their first season in the NPSL last week (a 1-0 loss to Round 1 opponents Miami United) and are building even further. The Florida team's manager, Athirson, earned five caps for Brazil, and midfielder Edmar has earned 15 caps for Ukraine (yeah, seriously).
Boston City FC (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Western Mass Pioneers (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Boston City: Playing its first game just last year, Boston has gained plaudits for building within the local community. If they pull off a few upsets, the could be looking at a game against next-door neighbors New England Revolution.
Burlingame Dragons (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-2-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Wednesday at El Farolito (6:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Burlingame Dragons: Long-time MLS veteran Joe Cannon has signed on to coach Burlingame this year, who act as an affiliate to the San Jose Earthquakes. The team from Northern California has developed a reputation for producing MLS players in its short existence, including San Jose's Nick Lima, who has broken into the starting lineup this year at right back.
Carolina Dynamo (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 10-11-1
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1996)
First Match: Wednesday vs Legacy 76 (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Carolina Dynamo: Quite simply put, the Dynamo have had the worst crest in this competition for a number of years. Just look at it! How can you even justify that? They're also celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, which is actually pretty cool.
Charleston Battery (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 29-14-6
Best Finish: Final (2008)
First Match: Round 2 at Atlanta Silverbacks or vs SC United Bantams
Why You Need to Watch the Charleston Battery: Charleston are one of the most historic teams playing in this year's Open Cup. They were founded in 1993, and since that time they've had more Open Cup wins than any non-MLS team save Rochester.
Charlotte Eagles (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 11-13-0
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2012)
First Match: Wednesday vs Chattanooga FC
Why You Need to Watch the Charlotte Eagles: Before the Independence (below) joined USL, the Charlotte Eagles operated as a professional team. They started play in 1993, and have produced current pro stars such as Christian Ramirez and Clint Irwin. As you can tell from their crest, the Eagles are very much rooted in the Christian faith.
Charlotte Independence (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-2-0
Best Finish: Round 5 (2015)
First Match: Round 2 at Charlotte Eagles or Chattanooga FC
Why You Need to Watch the Charlotte Independence: Charlotte are one of many cities that have put their name in the hat for the next round of MLS expansion. Their bid appears to be on the fringes at the moment, but a strong Open Cup run might push them into the limelight. They might also face in-state rival North Carolina FC for the third year running - they'll be desperate for revenge after suffering a 4-1 defeat last year.
Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-4-4
Best Finish: Round 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Charlotte Eagles (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chattanooga FC: Although they play in the fourth-division NPSL, Chattanooga have attracted record numbers to watch their games. In 2015, 18,227 fans came to watch their NPSL final. They've developed a bit of a reputation as giant-killers in the Open Cup, knocking off several pro teams (some via penalty shootouts).
Chicago FC United (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Grand Rapids FC (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chicago FC United: Unfortunately, I can't really get a handle on who exactly FC United are. Certainly, they have one of the most original names in the competition. It looks like it's a Development Academy club that's partnered with the Chicago Fire, but they haven't even played a game in the PDL yet (notice the photo I used is from an academy kid). From my research, it looks like they took the Open Cup spot from the former Chicago Fire PDL.
Chicago Fire SC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 40-14-3
Best Finish: Champions (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Chicago Fire: The Fire are undoubtedly the "Kings of the Cup." They've won it four times, on par for the most ever, and they have more Open Cup wins than any team in the modern era (1995-present). It's been 11 years since their last victory, though, and fans are getting hungry.
Christos FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Fredericksburg FC (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Christos FC: Christos are a dominant power in the world of amateur soccer, and now, 20 years after their founding, Christos makes its debut in the U.S. Open Cup. The Maryland-based club is the current holder of both the Werner Fricker Open Cup and USASA Amateur Cup, two of the most prestigious trophies for amateur teams.
Chula Vista FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2015)
First Match: Wednesday at Albion SC Pros (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Chula Vista: During their Open Cup debut in 2015, Chula Vista were labeled the "ultimate Cinderella story." Back then, a rag-tag bunch of amateurs travelled to Scottsdale and beat USL Arizona United 3-0. Now a known product, Chula Vista will try to re-create their magic run.
Clarkstown SC Eagles (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Reading United AC (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Clarkstown SC Eagles: Based in New York, Clarkstown are mostly a development club for younger players. After making the NPSL national semifinals, they're looking to do one better than last year, when they fell to Jersey Express in Round 1.
Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 12-16-0
Best Finish: Final (1999)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Rapids: A year after the best regular season in club history, Colorado has sunk to the bottom of the barrel in MLS. A winning streak in the Open Cup could be the impetus for a season turnaround, but an upset loss could be another body blow.
Colorado Rush (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at FC Tucson (9:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Rush: The Rush are a prominent youth club in Colorado, and one of their most successful products, Collin Clark, has come back to play for them after an 8-year career in MLS. The Rush will also feature Adam Hudson, who will feature in his first ever Open Cup at a ripe 40 years old.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-2-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs FC Tucson/Colorado Rush
Why You Need to Watch the Colorado Springs Switchbacks: In their two-year history, the Switchbacks have been the point of no return for potential giant slayers, but haven't been able to flip the script as underdogs. Both years, they've beaten tiny Harpo's FC (who didn't qualify this year), but eventually lost to the Colorado Rapids. Can this be the year one of those stories changes?
Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 22-13-3
Best Finish: Champions (2002)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Columbus Crew: Coming off a down year, the Crew remain on the hunt for its first major trophy since 2009 (Supporters' Shield). Winning the Open Cup this year would give them a much-needed lift, as well as their first CONCACAF Champions League appearance since the 2010-11 season.
D.C. United (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 31-12-5
Best Finish: Champions (1996, 2008, 2013)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch D.C. United: D.C. had a miserable outing in the 2016 edition of the Open Cup, ousted on penalties by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a club that is now on hiatus and probably defunct. But United have history behind them, and it's been four years since they made the quarterfinals. Perhaps this is the moment.
Derby City Rovers (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Derby City: With the introduction of the USL's Louisville City FC in 2015, Derby City became the smaller club in Louisville. The two haven't actually played each other in a competitive match, yet. If Derby City advance past the first round, they'll have a date with their noisy neighbors, and a chance to pull off a massive upset.
Des Moines Menace (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 13-10-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2005)
First Match: Wednesday vs AFC Cleveland (8:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Des Moines Menace: The Menace, a small team from the middle of Iowa, are one of the most decorated non-professional clubs in America. They're famous for pulling off upsets and knocking out lower-league professional teams in the Open Cup. In 2005, they got past three pro teams before losing to the Kansas City Wizards of MLS. The goal will be no different this year for the Cup veterans.
El Farolito (Local Qualfier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-0-0
Best Finish: Champions (1993)
First Match: Wednesday vs Burlingame Dragons (6:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch El Farolito: Although they're a little bit of a mystery this time around, El Farolito won the competition in 1993 before MLS was around. Is it possible that the San Francisco club pulls off another upset this time around? Only time will tell.
FC Cincinnati (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs AFC Cleveland or at Des Moines Menace
Why You Need to Watch FC Cincinnati: Since first taking the field in 2016, FC Cincy has developed a reputation for having the highest attendance numbers in America below MLS. The club averaged over 17,000 fans per match in its inaugural season. Some of them will surely make their way to see Cincinnati play in the Open Cup this year.
FC Dallas (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 31-16-6
Best Finish: Champions (1997, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch FC Dallas: The defending champs are back and ready to win another one. Dallas has relied on youth to become one of the best teams in MLS over the past several years, and it paid dividends when the Hoops lifted the Open Cup at home last year. Argentine striker Maxi Urruti scored three goals during that run, and Dallas may look to him to provide another spark in 2017.
FC Golden State Force (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Outbreak SC (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Golden State Force: Based near Los Angeles, the Force are off to a flyer after beating San Francisco City FC 4-0 in their opening match. They've also got Dominic Oduro on their team. No, not that Dominic Oduro. The other one.
FC Motown (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at New Jersey Copa (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Motown: Located in Morristown, New Jersey (near New York City), the Celtics come in as first-time entrants to the Open Cup after knocking out Lansdowne Bhoys (who beat USL Pittsburgh in last year's Cup) in qualifying. They're coached by former New York Red Bulls Homegrown Sacir Hot, who says that making it this far on the team's first attempt is a "tremendous achievement."
FC Tucson (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-3-1
Best Finish: Round 3 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs Colorado Rush (9:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Tucson: Once upon a time, FC Tucson made a great run. Well, it wasn't that long ago - back in 2013, second-year Tucson knocked out two pro teams en route to a match against MLS' Houston Dynamo. They fell 0-2, and have struggled since, winning just one Open Cup match since then. This year provides an opportunity for the Arizonans to rise up again and make another memorable challenge to American soccer's élite.
FC Wichita (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday vs Azteca FC (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Wichita: Wichita, Kansas is probably too small of a city to ever receive an MLS team. It does, however, have a local NPSL team it can be proud of. FC Wichita were runners-up in the /MLS Best Crest contest, and they've been building toward a first Open Cup win.
Fredericksburg FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-1
Best Finish: Round 1 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday vs Christos FC (5:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch FC Wichita: Formed after the 2013 season as a merger between RVA FC and Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association, FFC has been a dominant force in Northern Virginia. If they win in the first round, they'll have the opportunity to host the Richmond Kickers in what would be a massive local derby.
Fresno Fuego (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 4-4-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2003)
First Match: Wednesday vs La Máquina (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Fresno Fuego: Don't sleep on the Fuego. The California team has one of the biggest fanbases of any non-professional team in the U.S., and enjoyed huge support in their home opener as they took down fellow Open Cup entrants Burlingame Dragons 4-0.
GPS Omens (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at GPS Portland Phoenix (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch GPS Omens: The Massachusetts-based GPS Omens are one of the more interesting teams in this year's competition, many of them former Ivy League college players described as "white-collar underdogs." They played a friendly against AS Roma in August, which drew the attention of the U.S. Soccer media team.
GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-3-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2013)
First Match: Wednesday vs GPS Omens (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch GPS Portland Phoenix: The only team in this year's competition from Maine, the Phoenix will play another club from the Global Premier Soccer community when they face off against GPS Omens Wednesday. Portland have qualified for the Open Cup four times now, but have struggled to advance past Round 1.
Grand Rapids FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Chicago FC United (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Grand Rapids FC: Grand Rapids FC is a club that grew out of the grassroots, and has drawn thousands of spectators in its two years of existence. In December, MLive reported that the Michigan club are in talks with investors to move the team to the USL.
Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 17-9-3
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
First Match: Round 2 at Ocean City Nor'easters/Junior Lone Star FC
Why You Need to Watch Harrisburg City Islanders: Harrisburg, located in Pennsylvania, has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the Open Cup, having knocked off a few MLS clubs in its time. They've developed a bit of a rivalry with the nearby Philadelphia Union, but have lost all three of the teams' Open Cup matchups.
Houston Dutch Lions FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs NTX Rayados (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Houston Dutch Lions: Also known simply as Dutch Lions FC, this team is part of a larger network of Dutch Lion clubs that, at one time, included a USL Pro team in Dayton. They've been in operation since 2012, but only qualified for the Open Cup after moving to the NPSL (from the PDL) last year and finishing second in the South Central division.
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 10-9-1
Best Finish: Semifinals (2006, 2009)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the Houston Dynamo: Historically, Houston's MLS club has underperformed in the Open Cup, often overcome by other MLS sides playing with stronger teams. Still, young striker Mauro Manotas scored three goals last year, and he could be a catalyst for the Dynamo as they look to finally get one past Texan rivals FC Dallas, who knocked them out en route to winning the Open Cup in 2016.
Indy Eleven (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-2-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2014, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Michigan Bucks/AFC Ann Arbor
Why You Need to Watch Indy Eleven: Well, first off, you need to watch Indy Eleven because they're my team! Aside from that, though, we've got some cool stuff to look out for. Gerardo Torrado (pictured), Mexico's second-most capped player of all time, is still going strong in the midfield. Crowd support is the strongest in the NASL, and Indy has developed a slight rivalry with Louisville, who have exchanged victories in the past two editions of the Open Cup.
Jacksonville Armada FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-2-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Miami United or vs Boca Raton FC
Why You Need to Watch the Jacksonville Armada: After owner Mark Frisch left the Armada last year, the club's future was thrown up in the air after only two seasons. The NASL has taken control of the team this year while it looks for investors, and hosting an Open Cup game against an MLS team might just show the potential of the team in the future.
Jacksonville Armada U-23 (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs The Villages SC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Jacksonville Armada U-23s: With its parent club in turmoil, the Armada U-23s will enter their first U.S. Open Cup hoping to defy the odds. A win would give them a date against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, re-igniting (well, sort of) an old NASL rivalry.
Junior Lone Star FC (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Ocean City Nor'easters (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Junior Lone Star FC: This team is probably one of my favorites in the Cup this year. If you haven't heard their story yet, go and read up on it. They're a team created in 2001 by refugees from Liberia, who found their place in a park in Philadelphia. This year, they'll get the chance to show what they can do on a big stage.
L.A. Galaxy (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 28-14-1
Best Finish: Champions (2001, 2005)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch L.A. Galaxy: The Galaxy are historically the most successful club in MLS (five MLS cups, two Open Cups, four Supporters' Shields), and they usually sport some of the league's biggest names (currently Giovani dos Santos; previously Steven Gerrard, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, etc). After a slow start to the season, the stars could really start to shine in the Open Cup.
La Máquina (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 3-1-0
Best Finish: Round 4 (2016)
First Match: Wednesday at Fresno Fuego (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch La Máquina: "The Machine" (named for Mexican club Cruz Azul) are back for a second consecutive year, and looking to cause mayhem once again. Striker Edwin Borboa, who co-lead the 2016 Cup with five goals, is returning, along with others from a team that took the L.A Galaxy to extra time before giving up an infamously sneaky goal.
Legacy 76 (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Carolina Dynamo (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Legacy 76: Founded in 2002 as the Williamsburg Legacy, Virginia's Legacy 76 have been waiting 15 years for the opportunity to play in an Open Cup. Finally, they have it. With a win, they'll get to host a match against pro side North Carolina FC.
Louisville City FC (USL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 2-2-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015)
First Match: Round 2 vs Derby City Rovers or at Tartan Devils Oak Avalon
Why You Need to Watch Louisville City: Louisville have been on the rise since their inaugural season in 2015, averaging over 7,000 fans per game last year and finishing near the top of the USL standings. After falling short in Indianapolis last year, they'll be looking forward to regaining their footing.
Miami FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-0
Best Finish: Round 3 (2016)
First Match: Round 2 vs Red Force FC/South Florida Surf
Why You Need to Watch Miami FC: Miami FC are probably the biggest spenders in American soccer outside of MLS, and this Open Cup will give them the chance to prove they're the best team outside of MLS as well. Players such as Kwadwo Poku, Dylan Mares, and Richie Ryan have taken Miami to the top of the NASL early on. They're also coached by Italian soccer legend Alessandro Nesta, and co-owned by Nesta's former teammate Paolo Maldini.
Miami United FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 1-1-0
Best Finish: Round 2 (2015)
First Match: Wednesday vs Boca Raton FC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Miami United: Miami United may not even be the biggest club from their own city in this tournament, but that doesn't mean they're lacking ambition in any way. Last year they made headlines by signing Brazilian veteran Adriano (admittedly, it was probably mostly a publicity stunt), and this year they've started off the NPSL season brilliantly.
Michigan Bucks (PDL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 13-11-2
Best Finish: Round 4 (2012)
First Match: Wednesday vs AFC Ann Arbor (7:30 ET)
Why You Need to Watch the Michigan Bucks: The Bucks are historic Open Cup entrants, with a better record in the tournament than any other non-professional team. They're the only team to have upset two MLS teams, knocking out the New England Revolution in 2000 and the Chicago Fire in 2012. They also won the PDL's national championship last year, so they'll be a team to look out for.
Minnesota United FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 5-5-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2014, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch Minnesota United: New to MLS, the Loons have typically underperformed in the Open Cup in the past as a lower-league side. They did upset MLS opposition once (2012; Real Salt Lake), but could never quite go on a big run. Now playing with an improved roster, Minnesota will aim to match the pedigree of their predecessors, the Minnesota Thunder, who made it to the quarterfinals in 2004 and the semifinals in 2005.
Moreno Valley Fútbol Club (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday at Ventura County Fusion (10:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch Moreno Valley: Moreno Valley FC, representing southern California, only formed in 2015, but since that time have taken the California amateur scene by storm. "Mo Val" are reigning amateur champions of the U.S. western region, and came in fourth in the national amateur cup. The could be an upset candidate in the early rounds of their first Open Cup.
New England Revolution (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 17-12-5
Best Finish: Champions (2007)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the New England Revolution: Although usually trapped in the cavernous Gillette Stadium, the Revs typically take Open Cup home games as opportunities to host nearer to Boston. This can help create a more intimate atmosphere, one that helped lead New England to the Open Cup final last year, where they lost to FC Dallas.
New Jersey Copa FC (NPSL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-0-0
Best Finish: N/A
First Match: Wednesday vs Motown FC (7:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch New Jersey Copa: Another new-ish club making its debut in the Open Cup, New Jersey Copa only got its start in the NPSL last year, but their academy has been developing players since 2006. This tournament could provide a kickstart to the club on the national scene.
New York City FC (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-1-1
Best Finish: Round 4 (2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch New York City FC: Here's a fun fact for you: NYCFC have fewer Open Cup wins than the Fort Myers Manatees, the Syracuse Salty Dogs, and the Delaware Wizards. Now, none of those teams exist anymore, but City do, and this year they'll be looking for their HISTORIC first-ever Open Cup win. There's no doubt they'll want to claim it at the hands of the New York Cosmos, who have knocked NYCFC out twice in a row.
New York Cosmos (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 5-3-1
Best Finish: Round 5 (2014, 2015, 2016)
First Match: Round 2 at Reading United AC or vs Clarkstown SC Eagles
Why You Need to Watch the New York Cosmos: Things have gotten exceedingly stale for the Cosmos in the Open Cup these past three years. Win your first game against an amateur team, knock out a bitter New York MLS rival, and then tumble to defeat just before the quarterfinals. Under new ownership this year, the Cosmos don't look quite as good, but the goal remains the same: Show you can compete with the best, and dominate in the Open Cup.
New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 18-17-2
Best Finish: Final (2003)
First Match: Round 4
Why You Need to Watch the New York Red Bulls: For an MLS team, the Red Bulls have an abysmal record in the Open Cup taking wins mostly off lower-league teams and generally failing to make deep runs in the tournament. The Bulls have never won the Open Cup or MLS Cup, a fact that is well-known among their supporters and their rivals. New York Red Bulls II won the USL last year, so look for a few of their players to feature as the Red Bulls try to make history.
North Carolina FC (NASL)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 16-8-2
Best Finish: Semifinals (2007)
First Match: Round 2 at Carolina Dynamo/Legacy 76
Why You Need to Watch North Carolina FC: Formerly known as the Carolina RailHawks, NCFC are by far the NASL's most successful Open Cup entrant. They've built up a history of upsets, including three consecutive wins over the L.A. Galaxy from 2012-14. Add in the intrigue surrounding the team from its MLS bid, as well as some of its very good players (Lance Laing has been a standout this year) and we could be looking at a real dark horse.
NTX Rayados (Local Qualifier)
Crest
U.S. Open Cup Record: 0-4-2
Best Finish: Round 3 (2014)
First Match: Wednesday at Houston Dutch Lions (8:00 ET)
Why You Need to Watch NTX Rayados: NTX (North Texas) Rayados are an amateur powerhouse, and this Open Cup isn't their first go-around. They've qualified every year since 2012, though they're yet to win a game outright (NTX knocked off the Austin Aztex on penalties in 2014). Last year, they were disqualified on a technicality, so the chance to avenge themselves Wednesday will feel extra sweet.
Continued in the comment section below...
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