San Antonio FC returns to action on Tuesday night at Toyota Field where they will be facing Laredo Heat in the Second Round of US open Cup play. Laredo Heat play in the NPSL and defeated Brazos Valley of USL League Two last week 1-0. Their goal came via a Francois Sakou penalty kick in the second half of a match in which both teams ended the game with ten men. Laredo’s Luis Hincapie was shown a straight red card in the 76’.
San Antonio FC played Orange County to a 0-0 draw in USL Championship play on Saturday night.
This will be the first ever meeting between these two clubs. It will be San Antonio’s fourth straight year opening the Open Cup against an NPSL team. All eligible USL Championship teams received a bye in the First Round of the 2019 Tournament and enter in the Second Round.
Here are highlights from the Laredo Heat win last week:
Despite their big Open Cup win, Laredo Heat have not even begun their league season yet – that starts on May 18th when they take on Tyler FC Kings. Laredo will have some San Antonio flair on their roster when they come to Toyota Field on Tuesday night. In March they signed 19-year-old Goal Keeper Jose Carlos Mercado from the University of Incarnate Word. Mercado has featured in the Dallas Cup from 2015 – 2017 and has spent time with both the United States and Mexican U16 National teams. In addition, he spent time with the Mexican U18 team in 2016. Last summer he featured with Des Moines Menace. The former USL-PDL team is now a member of USL League Two.
Laredo Heat finished the 2018 NPSL season 10-0-0, winning the Lone Star Conference Championship.
If history is any indicator, we will likely see some lesser seen faces on the pitch for SAFC in this match-up. It wouldn’t be a shock to see backup keeper Viscosi in goal and perhaps Lance Laing and Rafa Castillo will crawl back into a starting 11 role for this match. On defense we may get a longer look at Pascal Eboussi and Johnny Fenwick. The biggest question will probably be – will Leo Torres or Jose Gallegos, the two SAFC Academy prospects, see any action in this game? Both of the Academy players have been on the bench for senior team matches in recent weeks– will they finally be ready to test their talents at the professional level? It seems unlikely, but here’s to hoping so – it would be fun to see.
2019 US Open Cup Format
A total of 32 Open Division clubs entered the First Round in May. They were joined by the six eligible members of the newly-sanctioned Division III professional circuit, USL League One.
Twenty-five teams from the newly-renamed professional Division II USL Championship enter starting in the Second Round on May 14-15.
The Third Round takes place on May 29, and those winners will be joined by the 21 U.S.-based Division I Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 12.
52 pro teams will play in this year’s competition, setting a new Open Cup record. The previous record was 47, set in 2015.
Open Cup History
Houston Dynamo are the defending Open Cup Champions. Both Texas based MLS teams are recent winners with FC Dallas having won the Tournament in 2016. The last non-MLS team to win the Tournament were the Rochester Rhinos in 1999. The Rhinos are currently on hiatus but will play in USL League One next year.
2018 USL Champions Louisville City FC were the last non-MLS team standing in 2018, making it to the Quarterfinals. In 2017, then-USL club FC-Cincinnati advanced to the Semifinals.
In the modern era, Chicago Fire, Sporting KC and Seattle Sounders have each won the Open Cup 4 times to lead all MLS teams.
How They Got Here
Laredo Heat defeated Brazos Valley 1-0 on May 7th in the First Round.
San Antonio FC had a First-Round bye.
SAFC in the Open Cup
San Antonio FC will be playing their 9th Open Cup match this Tuesday night. The team is 5-3 all-time in Open Cup matches and will be playing their third home match in a row, after going 5-straight on the road in this tournament over the course of three seasons (2016-2018).
San Antonio FC has never lost their opening game in the US Open Cup and they have never lost to any team in any division lower than USL Championship.
San Antonio FC is 0-2 against MLS teams in the Open Cup, losing to Houston Dynamo 4-0 in 2016 and last year 1-0 to FC Dallas. MLS teams enter this year’s tournament in Round Four on June 12th.
The Third Round of the US Open Cup will take place on Wednesday May 29, 2019. The draw for that match has not been announced as of this writing.
5/18/2016 vs San Antonio Corinthians (NPSL) W 3-1
6/1/2016 @ Des Moines Menace (PDL) W 2-1
6/15/2016 @ Houston Dynamo (MLS) L 4-0
5/17/2017 @ Houston Dutch Lions (NPSL) W 2-1
5/31/2017 @ Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) L 0-0 (6-7)
5/16/2018 @Midland-Odessa (NPSL) W 4-0
5/23/2018 vs Colorado Switchbacks (USL) W 1-1 (5-3)
6/6/2018 VS FC Dallas (MLS) L 0-1
5/14/2019 vs Laredo Heat (NPSL)
Laredo Heat at San Antonio FC
US Open Cup, Second Round
Toyota Field, May 14th, 2019
SAFC Wins If:
… if they play to their capabilities. No matter who suits up in silver and black for this one, they will be the more talented team, and they will be at home. Losing this match would be a big blow to a San Antonio FC team already struggling in league play through two months.
PHOTOS: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER