Tonight the Houston Dynamo are set to host Miami FC of the NASL for the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This is the first Open Cup game the Dynamo have hosted since 2006, one of the two years in which Houston has reached the semifinals. Tonight's semifinal also marks the first time these two teams have ever met.
Miami FC's roster is heavy on Brazilian influence and Houston Dynamo links. Chris Gbandi is a Houston product and forward Abe Thompson briefly played for Houston last season. Other notable players include Brazilian forward Paulo Araujo Jr. and former D.C. United star Christian Gomez.
Traditionally in the Open Cup, Major League Soccer teams field young rosters and tonight's match should be no different for Houston. Sammy Appiah and Dynamo Academy product Francisco Navas Cobo are likely to see their first professional starts tonight. The rest of the lineup will likely be made up a players who have not seen consistent action this season or who are not expected to log significant minutes on Thursday night against Toronto FC.
So far this season, the Dynamo have been forced to call upon their depth with a total of 23 players seeing the field, as 14 players have logged at least 350 minutes and 12 players have scored for Houston.
The Dynamo have had relative success in their U.S. Open Cup campaigns, reaching the semifinals last year before falling to eventual champions Seattle Sounders FC in overtime.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Robertson Stadium, and the match can be heard in the Houston area on SportsTalk 790-AM and at online at sports790.com. There will be television broadcast for the game.
Tickets for the match are available at HoustonDynamo.com or over the phone. Dynamo season ticket holders can purchase tickets for a reduced price of $8, and all other tickets cost $12. All tickets are general admission with seating on a first-come basis. There will be no charge for parking at Tuesday's game.
The winner of the match will play either Chivas USA or the Austin Aztex on Tuesday, July 6, in the quarterfinals. A Houston-Chivas USA match would be held at Robertson Stadium, while a Houston-Austin match would take place in Austin.
Predicted Dynamo Line-Up
===========Luis Angel Landin========Cam Weaver===========
=======Sammy Appiah=========Franciso Navas Cobo==========
Mike Chabala====Eddie Robinson====Ryan Cochrane====Craig Waibel
Action All Around The Nation
Tuesday night's game in Houston is just one of many U.S. Open Cup games taking place around the nation. The third round of the Open Cup sees six Major League Soccer clubs entering the competition. The remaining clubs in the 97th edition of the tournament include three United Soccer Leagues Second Division teams, five USSF D-2 Pro League sides and eight MLS clubs.
The winners of this week's games advance to the quarterfinals on July 6 and 7. Action continues onto the semifinals which are set for Aug. 31-Sept. 1, and the tournament concludes with the final on October 5.
Open Cup Information
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 95 consecutive years dating back to 1914. It is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
The champion of the Open Cup receives a bid to the qualifying round of the following year's CONCACAF Champions League.
Since MLS teams entered the competition in 2006, only one non-MLS team has won the title: the 1999 Rochester Raging Rhinos, with now-Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad in goal.